Taking The Global Pulse At DMEXCO

Let me confess up front that I believe DMEXCO, the annual digital marketing trade show in Cologne, Germany, is the best trade show in the world for ad tech.

Why? Companies and their executives show up.  While other trade shows have been reduced to booth babes, tchotchkes, iPad giveaways, and business card exchanges, DMEXCO is a place where real discussions and deals get done.   Real decision-makers attend. 

Two weeks ago, it was the perfect place to get out of the day-to-day and look at the big picture.  I left having noticed three major changes since last year that I look forward to seeing develop in the next year:

1. Being a platform is truly a global business.  I was really surprised at the increase in American companies exhibiting in Cologne this year versus last year. I predict that this global approach will put pressure on regional DSPs, exchanges, and SSPs. Having a cocktail in Germany with people that we have offices next to in San Francisco, Los Angeles, or New York was a keen example that our world is getting smaller.  It is also clear that to be a platform, especially in the world of programmatic, you have to be global.



2. European – particularly German – engineering talent will change the way we do business. It is amazing how much engineering investment has happened in the industry since last year. I was pleasantly surprised and how many people want to be in the driver’s seat, as that wasn’t the case last year. By taking a build-it approach, the European market is changing the face of the ecosystem -- and it will be incumbent on U.S. entrants to partner alongside them.

3. The growth of programmatic buying and RTB will be different in Europe than it has been in the U.S. As I said in a MediaPost article back in July (“Consolidated Demand: Here's How Europe Can Leapfrog The U.S. In RTB”), market concentration (or, lack of the fragmentation we see in the U.S.) is so much greater in European markets.  Because inventory is in smaller pools and fewer people control it, the need for guarantees and bulk buys is much greater.  While the forward market has been slower to move programmatic in the U.S., programmatic forward buying (the forward market) will be key to accelerating adoption of both in Europe.

After my whirlwind time at DMEXCO, I can’t wait to see what changes between this year and next year.  To say the least, programmatic efforts are underway in Central Europe. Efficiency is marching across the world.

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