DMEXCO 2015: Yahoo’s Robert Bridge outlines his three takeaways

Over in Cologne in Germany, the biggest names in the ad tech world have been meeting for the annual Dmexco conference. Yahoo’s head of international marketing and editorial Robert Bridge runs Marketing Week through his insights and the trends from this year.

The nature of mobile advertising

The panel I was on was the only talk on the main stage specifically about mobile marketing. This was probably a good thing because mobile should ideally be an integral part of all marketing and advertising campaigns, but there is still a feeling that the industry has some way to go to embrace mobile as a marketing opportunity.

Some sites aren’t even mobile optimised which is a huge miss in this digital age where consumers are increasingly spending more time on their smartphone devices, on average 3 hours and 40 minutes per day according to Flurry insights. Mobile is such a huge opportunity for brands and this year is a tipping point because – for the first time ever – more people shopped on mobile than on desktop.

While there is a sense that the industry is playing catch up where mobile is concerned, most modern marketers see it as fundamental to their brand strategies. The increasing size of the devices is driving greater interest because larger screens are a richer canvas for advertising.

Phablets are the fastest growing device type globally, although if we look at Europe, medium sized phones are still the most popular, which we think could be due to the fact that people are still locked in contracts. But fast forward a year and we expect to see similar patterns of phablet growth in Europe too. If we look at tablets, penetration has now reached 16% versus 6% this time last year, so the growth trajectory for tablets and phablets is fast.

From an advertising perspective, we’re seeing massive growth in mobile video. It’s an easier transition for many advertisers because video is something they understand from TV but also resonates in the digital world.

Native advertising is also key on mobile and again represents a growth area, offering up to four times better performance than more traditional formats. My belief is that publishers have actually done it right this time on the mobile side versus the early days when we were shoehorning advertising into consumer experiences. Now we’re designing experiences with advertising in mind and hence consumers are much more likely to embrace it.

People are still talking about programmatic, attribution and the big ad tech themes

There is ongoing evolution in the programmatic world helping brands to leverage both their data – and publisher or media owner data – to ensure they are delivering ad content in the right manner. Video is a surging growth area and applying a programmatic approach to how video content is served is a growing trend.

Attribution is also key, not just in mobile but across multiple media. Despite the fact that it focuses on only one metric, last-click attribution is still the most commonly used digital measurement model. As technology develops and consolidates the industry needs to move towards a more holistic approach that measures the entire consumer journey through the purchase funnel. At Yahoo, we have login data which enables us to attribute across different devices in the digital world but there is still attribution with other media.

The size of the ad tech industry

With more than 43,000 attendees, Dmexco is so busy the sheer scale of it demonstrates the magnitude of our growing industry. There is such breadth of advertising technology businesses – from the big US companies to the local businesses, it’s just massive.

It is a great opportunity to talk to partners and potential partners, especially on the content side. Yahoo always has been and always will be partner friendly so we’re keen to meet other businesses looking to scale their content operations. I try to wander around and chat to smaller businesses and see some of the opportunities there too. And generally it’s a great place to learn about industry themes and trends.

From a Yahoo perspective, it’s about telling the story of how our three new businesses – Brightroll, Flurry and Tumblr – are both impacting our consumer products and the advertising side and how Yahoo goes to market.

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