Advertising intelligence and digital media solutions provider, Exponential, led their annual 2016 EMENA Brand Summit in picturesque Ischia in Italy last week. The two day event provided a unique learning experience, offering the select few of industry experts in attendance with insights from thought- provoking speakers and game-changing thinkers within the digital media industry.

Bryan Melmed, VP of Insights; Melissa Biddison, VP of Performance strategy and Jason Trout, UK Managing Director, headed discussions covering data-driven themes to inspire the 30 advertisers and marketers in attendance to effectively embrace data and technology within their marketing. One attendee, Helen Keable, Group Head of Media Tools at Annalect, described the event as  “a great trip both educationally and socially”.   

Viewability remained a key focus for the Brand Summit as Exponential continued exploring whether the industry can unite on viewability and how it can align itself with the user experience.  Additionally, the Summit also explored a number of key industry trends and shifts within the industry including the rise of machine learning, the ever-evolving landscape and the change of consumer behaviour in times of anxiety.

Exponential’s VP of Performance Strategy, Melissa Biddison, explored the changing landscape of performance marketing and aligned this to the changing landscape of her home town Baltimore, Maryland. 

During her talk, Melissa referenced the hit crime drama television series, The Wire, to demonstrate how diluted and duplicated data can have a negative effect on performance marketing campaigns. She also talked about the ideal or ‘Home-Run’ set up for performance campaigns and the importance of pixels in gathering the right data for your campaign.

Exponential’s VP of Insights, Bryan Melmed, discussed the importance of intelligent advertising during periods of anxiety, commenting: “The initial reaction in times of crisis is to pull an advert. However, our data is showing that consumers look for more communication from brands during a time of anxiety and during this time it is key to continue advertising efforts.”

Using real life examples of consumer behaviour from both before and after the Brexit vote, Bryan demonstrated that in times of a crisis or uncertainty marketers need to keep advertising.

Jason Trout, Exponential’s UK Managing Director, looked at the importance of machine learning and how marketers need to place more faith in machines. 

Jason comments: “Machine learning has evolved significantly in recent years. If we look at weather prediction, it once took six weeks to predict just six hours of weather. However, with the help of machine learning we can now accurately predict seven days of weather. If we apply this technology to marketing, we can see the importance of placing more trust in the machines to optimise campaign performance and achieve maximum ROI.