DMEXCO is known for many things — its booming trade show floors, world class content, the challenge of cramming a near-impossible number of meetings into 48 short hours (my record is 22). But most notably, the Cologne-based conference is known for providing its attendees with some fresh food for thought, year after year. Having attended for three years now, I can safely say that 2018 was no exception.
For those unfamiliar, DMEXCO is a two-day digital marketing conference and exposition set in Cologne, Germany. It’s undoubtedly one of the most productive global events that Index Exchange participates in all year, and an excellent place for predicting what’s to come in the world of tech and digital marketing.
Based on my conversations at this year’s event, I’d put my money on identity, transparency, and supply path optimization continuing to gain traction and dominate industry discussions in 2019.
Identity is Our Answer
Index has been betting on identity for just over a year now — in conjunction with a handful of other digital marketing players — and it’s rapidly gaining steam. (Identity was also a hot topic at ATS London, a few days before DMEXCO kicked off.)
There are a variety of identity solutions on the market right now, each designed to paint a fuller, clearer picture of the user. If and when executed properly, we’re confident that an open identity solution will not only allow us to level the playing field and compete with the walled gardens on a much larger scale, it will also boost match rates for DSPs and create a more streamlined user experience.
That said, we can’t create this solution in a vacuum — it requires cooperation and collaboration across the board. Having discussed the importance of identity with a mix of demand-side platforms and agency partners in Cologne, it’s clear that more and more members of our industry are actively integrating identity solutions into their platforms and programmes. And, put lightly, we’re excited to see how this plays out in the coming months.
The Need for Supply Path Optimization
Another common thread running through the content and conversations at DMEXCO (as well as ATS) was the need for greater transparency, on both the buy and sell sides of our business — particularly in regards to the supply chain.
While it’s not a catchall solution, supply path optimization — which, at its essence, is a method for improving advertising outcomes by minimising a buyer’s exchange partners — is an increasingly popular method for creating a cleaner, clearer ecosystem.
In the lead up to DMEXCO, an ATS panel (aptly dubbed “Cleaning Up the Supply Chain”) tackled this very topic, explaining that in order to establish a more transparent digital environment, we have to start by clarifying the inner workings of the supply chain. As The Media Trust’s founder and principal, Matt O’Neill, explained to the audience, “It’s really hard to verify something that doesn’t have rules around it.” Truer words have never been spoken.
What’s To Come
While the importance of identity, the need for transparency, and the benefits of supply path optimization are hardly new topics or trends, I am confident that the industry will redouble its efforts to deliver greater clarity and more seamless identity solutions to our clients and partners in the coming year. There’s a magnitude of opportunity in this space, and — as ever — DMEXCO reminded us to turn that opportunity into action.