5 Key Takeaways from Discussions at ATS Berlin

ATS Berlin

The representative team from Beeswax EMEA attended ATS Berlin on 6 November, 2018 – a gathering of around 200 programmatic media professionals from across Germany. They were ready to learn from some amazing speakers – and weren’t disappointed, hearing from companies such as eBay, Wooga Games, Gameloft, Omnicom, GroupM, and many more besides. In an effort to keep the conversation going and recap their favourite moments, they have shared their top five takeaways.

Only consultants have won from GDPR

Firstly, the topic that doesn’t stop giving: GDPR, consent, and shared IDs all came up again and again throughout the day, with Serhan Guenes of eBay sharing enlightening details on their approach. Eventually, broad consensus was reached on a panel lead by Dennis Buchheim of the IAB Tech Lab: the only people to have benefited from GDPR are the new 'GDPR consultants'.  The situation gets even more complicated, as each country across the region interprets the legislation slightly differently, based on prior local legislation. Oliver von Wersch shared the example that in Austria, there is a much stricter interpretation than in Germany, for instance – making it hard to have a one-size-fits-all policy.

Rewarded video: drives revenue, but does it drive engagement?

An interesting panel, Using Programmatic to Maximise Mobile Revenue, enabled the audience to get a better understanding of the state of the market for mobile gaming companies – blending views from the buy, sell, and creative sides of the ecosystem. While Iva Parvanova of Pubnative, and Softgames' Alisa Bazyk shared details on the revenue uplift generated by rewarded video, Sublime's Andrew Buckman shared his theory that this format does not always drive great engagement with users. Despite some insights to the contrary from DECA Games' Stephen Lee, there was general agreement that no one loves a 30-second video ad. We also came away with a keen revelation that mobile gaming companies are some of the more sophisticated media buyers in programmatic and are yearning for solutions that fit their unique business models.

Buyers are not making use of ads.txt as standard

ExchangeWire CEO, Ciaran O’Kane, managed to extract from panelists that adoption of ads.txt from the buy side is still limited in Germany. While most publishers are using it, and their SSPs are reflecting that in the auction, very few buyers are explicitly targeting based on this key parameter. IAB Tech Lab's Dennis Buchheim said that agencies are happy to adopt the framework, as they understand it, but in many cases advertisers still lack an understanding of the impact it can have on the performance of their buys. O'Kane posited that the industry is still not sufficiently motivated to remove fraud from the ecosystem, even though we now have the ability to do so. 

DTC brands are doing it for themselves

The thoroughly impressive Jessica Hasenplaugh, from Wooga Games, talked through their approach of driving user acquisition to their games through a hybrid in-house model. While they often see the best results in an in-app environment, they are increasingly able to generate positive ROAS through mobile web too. She said she’s often approached by people in the mobile space, but outside of gaming, who are interested in in-housing and want to understand how gaming companies stay so far ahead. Hasenplaugh's view is that the gaming companies are not really that far ahead of other DTC brands: but the one area they do perhaps beat people, with comparable experience in other sectors, is on how they leverage data in their programmatic practice.

Independent ad tech is the only way this industry will flourish

Finally, in a fireside chat with Cadi Jones of Beeswax, we were challenged on the value of independent ad tech in a market dominated by Google and Facebook, and the growing power of Amazon and Apple in the space. She shared that the main benefit of being independent is that you only answer to your customer: there are no ulterior motives or other stakeholders to keep happy. This seemed to resonate particularly well with the audience in Berlin – across both the buy side and sell side. Watch this space for other challenger brands emerging in this market, and a proliferation of organisations will take a risk to reap the rewards.


Beeswax was founded by industry veterans who recognized that traditional, one-size-fits-all DSPs are under-serving today’s sophisticated media buyers. From the beginning, it has been our mission to build great advertising software.


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