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Ad Tech Trends from DMEXCO 2023

By Ana Kealy

October 5, 2023

Table of Contents:

September 2023 marked yet another successful EXADS attendance to DMEXCO, the leading event for the digital industry. With more than 800 speakers, around 40,000 international trade visitors, and over 650 exhibiting companies and partners, DMEXCO provided an ideal backdrop for closely examining the trends that are currently shaping the landscapes of ad tech and marketing technology (mar-tech) sectors.

Let’s see some of the ad tech trends highlighted at DMEXCO 2023!

The Privacy Sandbox

The buzz surrounding Google's Privacy Sandbox APIs is undeniable, and it's a hot topic that dominated many discussions at the recent DMEXCO event. With Google's timeline seemingly set, everyone in the industry is rapidly adding the topic to their agenda. 

Privacy Sandbox Timeline

Source: privacysandbox.com

Google's ambitious plan involves gradually phasing out support for third-party cookies, commencing with 1% of Chrome users as early as January 2024 and expanding from there. The groundwork for this shift is already underway, as opt-in testing is meant to commence in Q4 2023. Notably, Chrome's latest version (115, launched in July 2023) has already given users the option to block third-party cookies today, with users in Incognito mode enjoying this protection by default. 

Despite these impending changes, many companies are finding themselves ill-prepared for this new digital landscape. While a select few major players are actively engaged in testing the Privacy Sandbox, a significant number of businesses are still in the early stages of seeking solutions or evaluating how these measures will impact their operations.

CTV: Shaping the Future

Another trend that took center stage in discussions was the rise of Connected TV (CTV). It's evident that CTV is rapidly becoming a massive opportunity for advertisers, yet it has its share of challenges. While CTV programmatic advertising is progressing, the industry is still navigating uncharted waters, and it demands a high degree of collaboration among various stakeholders.

A key emphasis at DMEXCO was the paramount importance of delivering an exceptional user experience alongside a seamless ad experience within CTV. However, there are still instances where campaigns lack proper frequency capping, so there are elements that need further refinement to ensure viewers aren't overwhelmed with ads.

What is hoped by the industry is that CTV becomes attractive for advertisers who may have never considered traditional linear TV advertising. Additionally, there's an emphasis on high-value content creation and ad relevance, with an acknowledgment that there's room for improvement in this regard. Establishing standards in CTV is a pressing need, and it's a space where industry-wide collaboration can make a significant difference.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is emerging as a valuable tool in the CTV ecosystem. It offers the potential to enhance creative variations and optimize content recommendations. This technology is expected to play a pivotal role in tailoring CTV advertising to individual viewers, making it more engaging and relevant. 

It is clear that CTV has a lot of opportunities to offer and for this reason, providers like EXADS have developed the ad tech necessary to enable businesses to access and thrive in the CTV advertising world.

Pixels Speak Louder Than Words

Video continued to trend at DMEXCO, and it's not hard to see why. Today, consumers are clamoring for video content. It's not just a preference; it's a demand. Why? Well, because video is like a direct line to our brains. It taps into our emotions, resonates with us on a deep level, and is perhaps the most effective way to connect with target audiences.

What's fascinating is how video creation is becoming more accessible than ever, thanks to generative AI. You no longer need a fancy camera or a high-quality microphone. All you need is access to generative AI, and you can conjure up compelling video content. This democratization of video creation is revolutionary, and it aligns perfectly with the surge of CTV and the growing appetite for video consumption online.

Video is the undisputed king of online content. In 2020, Cisco Global reported that 82% of internet traffic was attributed to video. That's a staggering figure, highlighting the undeniable dominance of video as the preferred medium for online engagement.

Furthermore, programmatic video advertising is on the rise, with Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs) dedicating themselves entirely to video or specifically honing in on CTV. This signals a shift toward more targeted and efficient advertising, capitalizing on the immense popularity of video content. As we move forward, it's evident that video will continue to reign supreme, captivating both creators and consumers alike.

Retail Media Solutions

One of the standout trends sparking animated conversations was Retail Media. This dynamic space continues to expand year after year, with retailers increasingly recognizing its immense benefits. Several key factors are driving this growth, including the surge in website traffic and the wealth of first-party data that retailers now possess. This abundance of data, coupled with a growing emphasis on privacy and the phasing out of third-party cookies, has positioned retail media as a strategic avenue for retailers and advertisers.

Retailers are favoring contextual advertising and non-disruptive ad formats, aligning with changing consumer preferences. Despite its promising potential, retail media is still in its infancy, and both retailers and the industry are navigating its complexities. It's become a focal point in boardroom discussions, emphasizing the need for a cohesive strategy that aligns with the broader commercial interests of the business.

To fully benefit from the opportunities presented by retail media, retailers must undergo a transformative shift, adopting a publisher's mindset. This means not only understanding retail media but also gaining C-level sponsorship and dedicating strategic and operational efforts toward its implementation. Collaboration with technology companies is pivotal, enabling retailers to tap into this new revenue stream efficiently and swiftly. Experienced tech partners can give retailers access to a wealth of knowledge, tools, and solutions. 

As retailers increasingly resemble publishers, this evolution requires a realignment of internal structures, technologies, and mindsets with the demands of this rapidly growing sector. Moreover, as IAB Europe highlighted, there is an acute need for the creation and implementation of standards in terms of measurement, attribution, ad formats, and data strategies.

Retail media is the fastest-growing channel in Europe

Source: Retail Media in Europe in 2023, IAB Europe

1st Party Data Reliance

With Google and other major platforms phasing out third-party cookies, the digital advertising industry is undergoing a profound transformation. With this in mind, first-party data has emerged as the new gold standard for advertisers and marketers. Its significance is underscored not only by the changing technological landscape but also by the evolving expectations of consumers.

More businesses are looking to transition towards utilizing their first-party data. This move is more than just a response to technological changes; it's a fundamental shift in how businesses understand and engage with their customers. First-party data, which includes direct information collected from customers through interactions with a company's website, app, or other platforms, has become the lifeblood of personalized advertising experiences.

One of the driving forces behind this trend is the rise of retail media. As retailers increasingly transform into media platforms, they rely heavily on first-party data to deliver targeted, relevant, and effective advertising to their audiences. Companies are now leveraging the powerful details provided by first-party data to create tailored, one-to-one advertising experiences.

Moreover, consumer expectations are driving the growth in personalized advertising. Today's consumers demand a more personalized and relevant experience from the brands they interact with. They expect advertisements that resonate with their preferences, interests, and behaviors. First-party data, when used ethically and responsibly, enables businesses to meet these expectations by crafting advertising campaigns that feel less like intrusive interruptions and more like valuable, personalized recommendations.

In essence, the reliance on first-party data is not just about adapting to changes in technology; it's about understanding and respecting the desires of the modern consumer. Businesses that are utilizing their data, to deliver personalized, targeted, and meaningful advertising experiences, are setting the standard for the future. As seen at DMEXCO 2023, this trend is a strategic move for any business that wants to thrive in digital advertising.

AI in Ad Tech

Of course, we could not list the trends from DMEXCO 2023 without mentioning AI, with numerous companies showcasing their diverse applications of artificial intelligence. Throughout the event, AI wasn't just a trend; it was a subject in the discussions of almost every talk and panel. This reflected the industry's effort to harness this technology to its fullest potential.

One of the key takeaways from the discussions was the evolving role of AI as a valuable co-pilot. The consensus among experts was that AI should improve existing activities and processes with its efficiency and speed. Rather than replacing human creativity, AI should be used as a tool to enhance it.

In the creative sphere, AI technology emerged as a game-changer. By leveraging AI algorithms, creative teams can diversify their output significantly. AI can analyze vast datasets and user preferences to generate a multitude of creative variations, ensuring that the final ad resonates with the end user. This not only enhances user engagement but also maximizes the effectiveness of ad campaigns.

Beyond diversifying the creative output, AI is utilized in content creation. Whether it's generating compelling narratives, crafting visually appealing designs, or videos, AI algorithms can replicate human-like creativity. This capability saves time and can open the door to innovative and unique content ideas that might not have been explored otherwise.

Additionally, AI's predictive abilities were brought to the forefront. By analyzing user behavior, preferences, and historical data, AI algorithms can predict user interactions and preferences accurately. This predictive targeting ensures that advertisements are delivered to the right audience at the right time, increasing the chances of conversion.

Furthermore, AI’s proficiency in content recommendations is a game-changer for fields like CTV. By analyzing user data in real time, AI can make highly personalized content recommendations, tailoring user experiences on digital platforms. Whether suggesting videos, articles, or other forms of content, AI-driven recommendations increase user engagement and satisfaction, creating a more immersive and personalized online experience.

The DMEXCO 2023 conversations proved the multifaceted applications of AI in the advertising industry and beyond. From augmenting creativity to predictive targeting and content recommendations, AI is a transformative force reshaping the future of digital advertising and user experiences. 

Conclusion

For the second year in a row,  DMEXCO proved to be the perfect setting for the EXADS team to connect with existing and future clients and partners. The event gave us the opportunity to have meaningful conversations with industry experts and to present EXADS’ ad tech solutions and answers to the existing and emerging trends in the industry.

To conclude, advertising isn't just about selling anymore; it's about making real connections with people. The future is all about making ads that feel personal and engaging. Contact our team today and see how we can help you stay ahead of the curve! 

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