Before we wave off dmexco again for another year, PerformanceIN is sharing the final thoughts of nine experts from various corners of the performance marketing industry.

We’ve highlighted key trends that you can expect to be dominating conversations around performance advertising throughout the rest of 2016. 

Massimo de Magistris, general manager, EMEA, “A key talking point at dmexco was the massive shift towards programmatic direct in video advertising. As the programmatic TV and online video ecosystem grows, advertising is increasingly shifting towards private exchanges. These controlled environments allow publishers to closely manage their inventory while benefiting from the efficiencies of programmatic trading – providing brand safety at scale on a guaranteed basis.

“A second key theme was OTT (Over-the-Top) TV programmatic buys. As programmatic TV takes massive leaps forward, we can expect to see developments in how publishers maximise inventory across streaming devices such as Roku, Apple TV, and gaming consoles.”

Lisa Menaldo, managing director UK, Sublime Skinz: “The importance of harnessing data insights to optimise campaign performance in real time was a general theme across the board. Jamie West, deputy MD at Sky Media UK, summed up well when he said, ‘We’re thinking about how we can amplify the full campaign lifecycle – plan, execute, evaluate and re-plan an advertiser’s campaign.’ This is indicative of the shift taking place across the industry, as there is increasing pressure on marketers to validate and attribute ad spend and leverage investment as far as possible.

“Mobile was, unsurprisingly, a well talked about subject as the challenge to deliver personalised, impactful, and creative without disrupting the user experience remains a key priority, especially in the age of ad blockers. Indeed, the unfolding news of the Adblock Plus ad exchange was also high on the agenda and it’s fair to say caused quite a stir among exhibitors and delegates.”

Giovanni Strocchi, CEO, ADmantX: “Beyond the emphasis placed on ad blocking and header bidding, this year dmexco brought together key players and keynote speakers to discuss the true potential of programmatic trading, and what it will hold in the future. To date, the industry has only skimmed the surface and the sophistication of programmatic is yet to be fully unlocked.

“Conversations at dmexco highlighted that we are about to witness a huge shift towards quality of data vs data availability and intelligent technologies vs transacting technologies, where cognitive technology and intelligent machine learning will become vital to creating evermore meaningful and impactful campaigns across the ecosystem.

Julia Smith, director of Communications, Forensiq: “One key trend resonating throughout the event was the effect that consolidation has had in the industry. Many companies have married creativity and tech or data and audience through mergers and acquisitions – all of which made for interesting conversations and a shift towards real progress in developing digital ad trading capabilities.”

Lindsay McEwan, VP & managing director EMEA, Tealium: “It was impossible to ignore the number of conversations, debates, and sessions centered on the topic of actioning data. It’s easy to understand why – today’s marketers are finding themselves with access to more customer data than ever before. Marketers are asking how they can extract small insights from big data to drive value and exceed customer expectations while remaining privacy compliant. They’re also considering how they can connect customer data across online and offline channels to create more meaningful experiences than ever before. This unification of data is often discussed but very rarely achieved, yet it was clear at this year’s dmexco that marketers are truly committed to making sense of today’s data-rich environment for better customer interactions – both online and offline.“

Andrew Bloom, ‎SVP international sales and business development, Sizmek: Every time I attend a global advertising and marketing conference, I continue to be amazed at how fragmented the industry has become. For all the talk of consolidation, there was no sign of it at dmexco. The industry remains plagued with sameness, confusion, and too many sub-scale players.

Another noticeable trend is the growing presence of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and commerce data players – including SAP for the first time – as the enterprise-marketing stack extends into advertising. This move is gaining momentum due to the power of first-party consumer data, not only in driving sales, but in enabling marketers to find look-a-likes and fresh customers with comparable profiles. Flogging third-party data segments suddenly feels like a very weak proposition indeed.

Ben Cooper, European managing director, HookLogic: “Predictably, the importance of data – collection, storage, creative and meaningful application, and privacy considerations – was the common thread linking all of the big themes and discussion topics at dmexco this year. Whether marketers aim to better understand the performance of their campaigns, personalise experiences for their consumers, connect online interactions to offline activity, or utilise emerging IoT applications, data was a fundamental part of almost every conversation.

“Many marketers struggle to gain a true understanding of their consumer data and close the loop on campaigns to ensure future success. To tackle this challenge, the quality of both data and attribution solutions will be vital to empower the efficient and effective allocation of marketing budgets to drive business performance.”

Michael Hudes, executive vice president at YuMe: Video advertising dominated dmexco, with Google unveiling Trueview for Action, and Snapchat and Facebook clashing over the need for sound in video. But regardless of differences in opinion, one thing that is certain is that the industry is waking up to the real value of video advertising. This is supported by our own research which found that consumers respond well to video by engaging, sharing and buying products at a rate that is 1.7x more effective than other forms of digital advertising.

“However, as the Snapchat and Facebook conflict highlighted, the way advertisers use video is critical to a campaign’s success or failure. It’s important to note that sound isn’t the only thing to consider when it comes to video – format, ad placement, brand placement, length and audience all play a role in executing the perfect video strategy.”

Kate Owen, vice president, Northern Europe at Digital Element: “Gathering data is no longer the main challenge for marketers – as consumers ourselves, we are well aware of the amount of data we share on a daily basis. The issues now being discussed relate to how marketers can be sure of the quality and reliability of data they have access to, and how to use it smartly to boost marketing campaigns. Brands are focusing more on serving engaging, personalised content that really delivers in terms of ROI – and now they have the tools to do so.”