Top Takeaways From the Biggest Names @dmexco.

Jack Dorsey and Sheryl Sandberg were top-billing speakers at dmexco last week. Social media advertising was high on the agenda.
Chris Sugrue
Chris Sugrue
September 18, 2017 - 4 min. read

We joined the thousands flocking to the dmexco trade show in Cologne, Germany, last week for one of digital marketing biggest global events.

dmexco 2017 featured 1100+ exhibitors and attracted a host of the industry’s biggest names as speakers. Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg both took the stage, with social media advertising a prominent talk point.

Here are some of the highlights:

“We have a really strong and good business in advertising. Our focus is on simplifying it and diversifying it.

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter

Dorsey endured some hard questioning by WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell. 

WPP is a major Twitter advertising client, so Sorrell saying that they had upped ad spend on Facebook and Google but not Twitter – which he called ‘clunky’ – had to hurt.


“My side of the bargain”  – Sorrell poses somewhat unsuccessfully for his first Twitter selfie with Dorsey.

When asked what differentiated Twitter from the “elephants” of Google and Facebook he said:

“What sets Twitter apart from every other service out there is that you don’t come to it with pre-existing relationships. It’s not a social network. You come to Twitter because you’re interested in something, and the more we can do to help people follow their interest in real-time and serve them with text, or images or video or live streams the more relevant we’re going to be.”

But he conceded:

“What we haven’t done well at from a product perspective is making it easy for people to find their interest…that is what we’re focusing on – making Twitter a lot more relevant so people have to do a lot less work to join and see the conversation.”

When asked by Sorrell if Twitter would adopt a subscription model to combat stagnating profits, Dorsey side-stepped to advertising:

“We have a really strong and good business in advertising. Our focus is on simplifying it and differentiating it. We want to make sure we are simplifying our product offering and advertising…we have not focused enough on ROI and measurement and proving that it works.

“We want to make sure that every advertiser coming to Twitter can see that it works and can continue to trust that the dollar they spend is going to be something they earn back.”

On how the network will deliver on this he said:

“We’ve been spending a lot of time on data science and machine learning to make the timeline more relevant, and every time we do, we see a big jump in usage. That’s what we’re working on – making Twitter more relevant, so people have to do less work to find the conversation and take part in it.”

“Creative still wins the day.”

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

Sandberg’s presentation coincided with Facebook’s announcement that it is tightening its rules about what type of content can be monetized.

While her topic was actually Building Community and Discovering Growth in a Mobile World, she tacitly acknowledged the critique leveled at the network that it has failed to properly control ad tracking and targeting.

“We hear their concerns about safe environments, about standards, about measurement, and this is critical to us,” she said, adding:

“We’re working hard to roll things out that give you more control over where your ads run, and more knowledge about where your ads run, before, during and after a campaign.”

But a primary message for advertisers is that even in a mobile world “creative still wins the day.” Especially what she called  ‘thumb-stopping creative’.

She defined that as “when you’re scrolling through a feed what makes you pause? What makes you stop? What makes you think? Even when you don’t pause, what makes you remember?”

“We are passionate about creativity in advertising…Our goal is to help you breakthrough. We want our ads to be as good as the very best organic content your friends share…that’s our goal: ads as good as organic.”

Biggest dmexco yet
This year’s dmexco featured 1,100 exhibitors and 570 speakers and received more than 40,700 visitors. 

While it may not loom so large on the North American radar, the attendance of the likes of Sandberg, Dorsey and LinkedIn’s Allen Blue are a vivid testament to the annual Cologne trade show’s growing stature.

We at Falcon.io certainly consider it a must-attend, and had a thriving exhibit with members of our Berlin and Copenhagen teams.

Be sure to drop by next year! 

social media advertising

Representing Falcon.io: some of our Berlin and Copenhagen falconeers.

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