Advertising Week Europe (AWE) is one of the hotly anticipated events of the year so when my pass and the 200+ page magazine landed on my desk, I cleared my diary and scheduled as many sessions as time would allow.
Now in its sixth year, the event boasted an engaging schedule of panels, workshops and networking events. Whilst I spent some time handing out bags of sweets from the ever-popular PubMatic-sponsored Pick’n’Mix booth, I did manage to fit in a good number of sessions.
With the event split into nine tracks, my main observation was the strong female and workplace diversity content. A very encouraging trend with 2018 marking a centenary of women’s right to vote in Britain. With many strong women leaders in our industry, it was heartening to see many of them on stage.
The key trends I took from my time at AWE were women and diversity with a healthy dose of transparency and safety.
Advertising Week Trends:
Women and Diversity
The most inspiring session for me was the interview with Helen Pankhurst—a women’s rights activist, writer and great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the British suffragette movement. Pankhurst’s views were not exclusive to women: she recognised that diversity is not a matter of race or gender but something vital for socio-economic change.
Another interesting session was “The Power of Positivity,” with a panel of experts providing insights on the tools we all need to thrive, increase productivity, be more creative and improve our wellbeing. It was heartening to see so many young women in attendance. The key takeaway was the importance of supporting each other and having an open dialogue with colleagues and managers.
Women also were represented well in the discussions around blockchain, traditionally a male-dominated sector. It was inspiring to see senior women leading this conversation. Mary Keane-Dawson, CEO, The Truth Agency, discussed “Trust & Truth in Programmatic,” something PubMatic is keenly interested in furthering, and Anne Goodman, SVP, Blockchain Ventures, led a helpful session on “Decoding Blockchain.”
Transparency and Safety
Cleaning up the media supply chain and building trust was a common theme on the ad tech panels. Discussion included fraud, brand reputation, the use of data and the ad tech tax. These were very timely as the news broke of Facebook’s allowing data on users to be used by Cambridge Analytica.
PubMatic’s panel, “From Second to First: The Changing Face of Auction Dynamics,” moderated by Amar Goel, Chief Growth Officer, Founder and Chairman, brought together buyers and sellers to discuss the move to first-price auctions.
Though no one panel had the silver bullet, all agreed there was a need to build greater trust with every participant in the ecosystem through a shared commitment to quality and transparency. I thought the closing comment from Dora Michail, Digital MD at The Telegraph, speaking on the “Taming the Wild West of Adtech” panel, was a poignant one. She reminded us that without the end user, we don’t have an industry.
2018 will be a significant year for programmatic with GDPR, publishers moving to first-price auctions and the continued focus on transparency. I’m looking forward to AWE 2019 asking the difficult industry questions while following a programme of diversity, thought leadership and more women taking to the stage. While we have already evolved as an industry, I look forward to seeing the leaps we will take in the next year together.