This year’s dmexco was huge, with many industry leaders from around the world in attendance. To give you a sense of its size, here are some numbers:
- 5 halls, covering 700,000 square feet
- 200+ hours of conference programming
- 500+ speakers
- 43,384 visitors
It is impossible to escape the scale, in the same way that it is impossible to cover and see everything over a two-day period. It reminded me of a summer festival, where thousands of people pour over programs and schedules to select who to see, while getting upset at having to miss others due to overlaps. Though people were far more sensibly dressed, they still faced the same issue as festival goers: patchy phone connectivity. Luckily, there was plenty to be heard in real life.
Whether from speakers’ presentations or in conversations around the stands in the crowded halls, many of the topics of discussion were around Data, Creativity, Content, Programmatic and Tracking. Each of these has evolved just that little bit further over the past year, as new companies and products have emerged with their own take on how to do things right.
And it seems the world is evolving together too, in all major markets. One speaker from China stated that while Chinese businesses may have once been jealous of the digital infrastructure in the West, this is no longer the case. It was great to hear people from the world over talk about how consumers are shaping the way forward with their behaviors and we, as advertisers and brands, are following. Advertising has always gone where the eyeballs are but never has it been more evident than it is now, with marketing investments starting to mirror consumer behaviors.
Many of the changes in digital were accredited to improved connectivity around the world, particularly faster connection speeds. This, combined with high smartphone penetration, is leading to an always-on, mobile-first consumer. And they consume a lot. Mostly video, based on the figures that we have already seen in MENA, which were mirrored in those discussed at dmexco. This has led to an influx of advertising investments in digital, which are ultimately being spent on branding and video, and served through mobile and social platforms. Therefore, there was a real sense that digital will never be seen again as merely a direct response tool and the evidence was there on stage, in the several case studies that were presented.
However, measurement still remains an area of concern. If more focus, and therefore budget, is to be placed into storytelling through content, how will the success of this content be attributed? There was unanimous acceptance at dmexco that great content is the only way to hold attention in the new world and defeat ad blocking, while there was also agreement that this content lives somewhere in the top of the conversion funnel. Everyone concurred that more research and data is required here. However, beacons, the Internet of Things and in-store devices talking to each other could offer a solution to this measurement conundrum in the future.
It was refreshing and comforting to hear that most (if not all) discussions at the global event are the same being discussed in the MENA region. From a market perspective, it is now obvious that the gap between markets in the digital world is shrinking. Therefore, it was validating to see the incredible progress we are making as an industry, as improvements in global infrastructure have led to the explosion of devices, content and digital investments that are shaping what we will do tomorrow. Long may it continue.