Over 20,000 delegates, 500 speakers and 1,200 journalists will have descended upon the Irish capital of Dublin between November 4-6 as part of the growing tech phenomenon that is the Web Summit conference.

What started as a bedroom project and later a small-time gathering has expanded into one of the premier dates in the global event diary. Now spearheading Dublin’s business tourism economy, the bulk of Paddy Cosgrave’s event is being held at the Royal Dublin Society – one of very few in the city that can handle the guest list – and the content across its various stages has already provided attendees with plenty of food for thought.

PerformanceIN was on hand to witness Nike’s consumer technology officer Chris Satchell fire home the importance of building customer trust through tech in an insightful day one session over at the Marketing Summit.

Later on, at the event’s Centre stage, Huffington Post chief executive Jimmy Maymann joined Flipboard’s Mike McCue and MIT Technology Review editor Brian Bergstein in discussing the future of online media, providing a whistle-stop tour through native advertising and emerging forms of content.

Their talk followed the ringing of the NASDAQ opening bell by Taoiseach Enda Kenny who has been integral in the development of Web Summit.

 The main highlights from day two (November) included a discussion between Facebook VP of Business Development and Monetization, Dan Rose, and Robin Wauters of Tech.EU as well as Unilever CMO Keith Weed’s talk with The Economist media editor Alexandra Suich.

With ad dollars powering so much of the world wide web, and indeed inspiration for sessions at the Summit, Weed told PerformanceIN that the brand voice was an important one to be heard.

On day three (November 6), and the last of the conference, sessions on the Marketing Stage are giving nods to the “reality” of programmatic advertising and the ad agency’s role in the 21st century. Familiar faces on the Centre track include Peter Thiel (co-founder, PayPal), Dan Levin (COO, Box)  and Michael Kassan (CEO, MediaLInk). 

The day kicked off with a strong opening speech from MediaLink chairman and CEO MIchael Kassan, who urged brands to consider the reality of their programmatic buying.  It was explained that inevitably brands will find the right audiences with their recently enhanced targeting capabilities. However, failing to match the creative and messaging to their tastes will result in failure  - hence Michael’s focus on the “reality” as opposed to the “opportunity” of programmatic.

Kassan went on to participate in a fireside chat with Lorraine Twohill, Google’s senior VP of marketing. This session also touched upon how brands are using programmatic and, specifically, Google’s own approach to this way of selling ad space.

Twohill made her stance on the tool clear in backing programmatic and its automated nature to free up valuable resources around the company.  There is still some work to be done in this area, though, as Twohill stated that a lack of compatibility with video may hinder programmatic selling on one of Google’s main products, YouTube. 

You can use the embed below to stream live sessions from the conference or keep tabs on @RichToweyPI for updates from the floor.