Silver Bullet's Umberto Torrielli on DMEXCO, Programmatic Attitudes, and Holding Groups

On this week's episode of The MadTech Podcast, ExchangeWire's Rachel Smith & Lindsay Rowntree are joined by Umberto Torrielli, CSO of Silver Bullet, to discuss the latest news in ad tech and martech.

On this week's episode:

- Does Dmexco tell us where the industry is at right now? It has been widely reported that visitor numbers were down this year compared with previous years, with lots of talk about how the industry services beyond cookie targeting dominating conversations. Is this an indication of widespread uncertainty in the industry right now, or perhaps a maturity which is causing the industry to get serious about tackling some of the tech issues it's facing? Anecdotally, plenty of people reported that although visitor numbers were down in some areas, the AdTech Hall (6) was buzzing, lots of important meetings were had, and plenty of people were happy to be free of the additional layer of people, peripheral tech vendors and chaos from previous years. Interestingly, dates for Dmexco 2020 have been released and they look to be clashing with AdWeek NYC - if they do, how will this impact Dmexco?

IAB Europe has released its annual Attitudes to Programmatic Advertising survey with key findings including:
- Ads.txt is well established amongst publishers but awareness and adoption on the buy-side is (still) low
- Supply chain transparency is still an issue
- The number of advertisers with in-house operations for programmatic is now higher than the number that outsource to an agency
- In light of GDPR, stakeholders are looking to use more first party data, private market places and contextual targeting

Why is ads.txt adoption still low for the buy-side - how much do they really care about these initiative designed to reduce fraud and improve control? Are we going to see some shifts in supply chain transparency this year, as privacy and government regulation causes the industry to focus much more firmly on technology solutions operate independently and with one another? We talked a lot about the industry moving to a first party world at ATS this year, as well as how publishers and advertising will be able to make contextual targeting work. Will we see some movement on both of those things in the coming 12 months?

- Debt levels at the major advertising holding groups are climbing steadily, leaving them vulnerable to recession and consolidation, as well as forcing them to reduce their footprint. Publicis and WPP are thought to be particularly exposed, and have already made efforts to trim their respective structures by combining the functions of their digital operations (Sapient absorbing Razorfish, WPP absorbing functions of JWT and Y&R). In unsurprisingly stinging criticism at ATS, Sir Martin Sorrell said that holding companies 'are gone'. Is Sorrell correct, or will we see the holding groups bounce back once they have streamlined their operations? How can independent agencies capitalise on the plight of the holding groups? What can ad tech and independent agencies do to protect marketing spend among the turbulence?

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