For over a decade, digital marketers, media groups, and tech providers have carved out two days in September to gather in Cologne, Germany. For what purpose? DMEXCO, an abbreviated mash of the words ‘Digital Marketing Exposition and Conference,’ and one of the digital community’s most important annual events.
Last week, we once again congregated in Germany for 48 hours of back-to-back meetings, happy hours, and engaging content — much of which focused on the challenges facing our industry and the ways in which we all plan to address them. From the imminent end of third-party cookies to the importance of consumer trust, here’s a look at the most resonant themes from this year’s event.
Cookies are crumbling while Identity gains traction.
The demise of third-party cookies has pushed our industry into a bit of an existential crisis, one that’s difficult to capture with words. Mozilla Firefox is the latest browser to restrict third-party cookies, the latest domino to fall. It’s a particularly noteworthy event in Germany, where the browser represents nearly 20% of all publisher traffic, and conversations both on and off stage at DMEXCO circled around this news.
The question on everyone’s mind, of course, is what comes next? For Index, the answer is clear and succinct: Identity.
We made a bet on Identity back in 2015, and we’re now watching the impact of that bet benefit our publishers. Long before cookies began to crumble, we were collaborating with our ad tech peers and partners to craft elegant, Identity-based solutions for the open, Trusted Web — e.g. premium publishing environments outside of the walled gardens. At this year’s DMEXCO, our Identity discussions shifted from hypothetical to tactical: We’re working with more and more clients to ensure they’re mixing Identity into their monetisation strategies, and we trust this focus on Identity will only increase in the coming months and years.
‘Trust’ is of the utmost importance.
Speaking of trust, ‘Trust In You’ was the theme of DMEXCO 2019, and another common thread running through this year’s discussions. Throughout our two days in Cologne, we talked about trust in publishers to deliver premium content, trust in browsers and tech partners to operate with transparency, and trust in brands to deliver safe, secure ads. Collectively, these all boil down to earning the trust of consumers — ensuring the end user has trust in us, as an ecosystem and industry. And this is another challenge we’re facing.
At present, research suggests that consumer trust in tech is on the decline, but we’re hoping to flip this perception. As tech providers, we bear the responsibility of ensuring consumers are not only able to access the news and content they most need, but that their data is protected and safety valued in these online environments. Rather than scrambling to react as consumer-focused legislation is ratified, we should be operating with a consumer-first mindset at all times — crafting products (Identity-based or otherwise) that place the users’ trust above all else. If we work in tandem to champion and prioritise this mindset, we’ll be well-positioned to continue supporting premium publishers and brands alike.
Again, it’s clear this is a challenging and hazy time for the digital marketing community: we’re working to shift perceptions while simultaneously tearing apart the foundation of our ecosystem. But this year’s DMEXCO served as an invigorating reminder that our efforts to rebuild this industry are not in vein. Identity is becoming a reality, premium publishers are continuing to deliver trusted content, and the digital advertising community is working to put consumers first in every sense.
The present may feel uncertain, but I have no doubt the future of our industry is bright. I have total trust in us.