DMEXCO 2019 – Our Key Takeaways

09/19 By Nick Morley

Over 1,000 exhibitors from 40 countries, more than 600 speakers and around 40,000 national and international visitors met at this year’s DMEXCO in Cologne. This year’s theme was “Trust in you” but we would like to go one step further and call this “Trust in you and your data”. Not an easy task, considering some of last year’s data scandals. That’s why IAS has been working around the clock to increase trust in measured data on the buy and sell side. By promoting transparency between all digital industry players, we aim to deliver visible, fraud-free and brand-safe impressions.



We had a fantastic event over the two days of DMEXCO and took away some important learnings from the event. Our  key takeaways include:

The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning brought a lot of people together at DMEXCO.

Agencies, brands, publishers and technology platforms all agreed that the technologies are a major shifting point for digital advertising. At the same time however, it has also become evident that it’s far from clear to everyone what added value AI and machine learning will offer for businesses success. AI will therefore likely remain a volatile topic, that will continue to gain relevance in the coming years. Learn more about how IAS uses Artificial Intelligence to optimise its products.

Programmatic is a big priority.

A survey carried out in the run-up to DMEXCO showed that programmatic is becoming more and more relevant at an international level. This trend was also confirmed in the latest IAS Media Quality Report (H1 2019). Whilst more and more advertising placements are being delivered programmatically, the industry still needs further education and increased transparency, especially in the area of brand safety and brand suitability, where uniform standards are still missing. 

Many advertisers fear that their brand image could be damaged by programmatically purchased ad placements. In some cases, the fear is so prevalent that some advertisers no longer want to place their ads next to trusted news coverage, meaning publishers sometimes find it difficult to market their inventory. The latest IAS data, published in the Wall Street Journal, found many US advertisers are putting political terms such as “Trump” on their exclusion lists and consequently, some publishers are finding it difficult to place ads on their pages. Solutions must be found through increased and improved communication between brands and publishers.

 New standards are needed to accommodate for Brand Suitability

The subject of brand suitability is a growing priority. Advertisers want to make sure their ads are not just seen and free from fraud, but also that the environment they’re placed in compliments the brand or product. What these environments look like is highly brand specific and subjective. For example, a supplier of alcohol will have different requirements to that of a children’s toy brand.

A particular challenge remains within social networks due to dominance of user-generated content, which can be difficult to control. It is important advertisers educate themselves in this area and continue to explore promoting their brands on social networks. Advertising on social should center around granular control for brands to avoid certain risks and ensure their social media campaigns appear in suitable environments.