DMEXCO 2016: 4 key trends for the digital economy

DMEXCO 2016, the Cologne-based ‘global business and innovation platform for the digital economy’, has been and gone in a whirlwind of conferences, key talks, exhibitions and seminars.

With over 50,700 visitors, 1,010 exhibitions and 570 speakers, DMEXCO has undoubtedly become a tier-one event for the industry and Atlantic Leap was in attendance along with many leading digital players.

Highlights included Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sharing a stage with WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell to discuss all things 140-characters; Vice Media Co-Founder Shane Smith talking about the challengers to Google and Facebook, and the latter's unveiling of their new AI photo filter. VR, AR, and AI were all on show, but we’re here to look at the trends in adtech that will be making a difference for high-growth startups over the coming year.

Mobile video still in ascendency

Those who thought mobile video had peaked are mistaken. One of the clearest trends at DMEXCO was the continuing move towards mobile-first media consumption, with online video becoming ever more important.

Twitter’s German MD Thomas De Buhr and product man Josh McFarland spoke to a packed out Motion Hall, stressing the immense power and possibility of video. Some 93 percent of Twitter videos are watched on a mobile device and in Europe nearly half of people use Twitter while watching TV. Tweets with video are much more likely to go viral — being six times more likely to be shared than those with a photo and three times more likely than tweets with an animated GIF.

With Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all launching products at the event, it’s clear how entwined digital video and social are becoming. Consumers and marketers are all moving towards a video-first internet, with Facebook predicting 70% of online traffic will be video in five years.

In particular, mobile video advertising appears to be gaining momentum as the fastest-growing category in digital media spend this year, according to a recent BrightRoll survey. Regarding engagement, video is essential and should feature strongly in any marketing budget.

Programmatic video moves mainstream

If programmatic video was once confined to only those in the know, DMEXCO confirmed its move from the margins to the mainstream. Shane Smith and Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke both discussed it, while many stands boasted their programmatic credentials.

As consumer habits have changed, advertisers have evolved their video strategy to keep up. Programmatic, the automated buying and selling of inventory, allows for flexibility, personalisation and adaptation, tailoring ads to specific users.

eMarketer claim programmatic video will grow by over 200% in the U.S. alone this year, with ad spend in this category reaching an astonishing $3.9 billion by 2018. Major brands including Oreo and Budweiser are leading the way, proving programmatic video as an effective marketing tool.

Programmatic video allows brands to deliver unique, interactive creative across devices. Adding quality pre-roll video into your programmatic marketing mix is an effective way to grab the attention of your audience, increase reach and enhance engagement.

The importance of viewability

A discussion that naturally follows on from programmatic video is how best to measure its effectiveness, making viewability an issue widely discussed at DMEXCO. Mobile measurement tools are improving with increasing standardisation for units in this medium. As these improvements are made, demand in this category is likely to increase.

The IAB and MRC have recently set a uniform metric for viewability, defining an impression as viewable if 50% of video ad pixels are in view for a minimum of two continuous seconds in the viewable portion of the browser window. As advertisers employ more rigorous viewability targeting to their campaigns, the demand for highly-viewable inventory will increase, and one can expect to pay a higher price for it.

Quality Data, and Quantity

Actionable and insightful smart data – as opposed to simply big data – was a key discussion point, as marketers realise the paramount importance of ad relevancy paired with user experience. Speaking to The Drum, Executive Vice President of the Nielsen Marketing Cloud, Mark Zagorski, said: “The biggest issues for marketers today are . . . access and control of their consumer data, and creating a direct connection with consumers.”

This sentiment was echoed during a panel chaired by IAB president and CEO, Randall Rothenberg, which stressed the need for brands to develop better data capabilities and learn more about cross-channel activity if advertising quality is to improve. While CEO of Carat, Will Swayne, asserted advertisers must recognise the need for personalisation, IBM’s chief digital officer, Bob Lord, was adamant data should be refined: “We have to get to a point where we’re delivering value based advertising with actionable insights. If we don’t have actionable insights, we have nothing.”

If DMEXCO 2016 is anything to go by, it’s going to be an exciting 12 months for the digital economy, with mobile video, the prominence of programmatic, viewability standards and actionable data all set play a starring role. We’re already looking forward to DMEXCO 2017. See you there.

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