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6 . 11 . 17

twentysix do #DMEXCO2017


2017 has been the year of global expansion for the twentysix affiliate marketing department. Not only have we recently taken over the management of the affiliate channel for an exciting international fashion brand, we’ve also expanded a number of our longstanding clients’ affiliate marketing activity into foreign markets.

As a result, we were lucky enough to take a trip over to Cologne for our very first dmexco event recently to further establish our international relationships and to take advantage of the international conference programme.

In case you haven’t heard of dmexco (Digital Marketing Exposition and Conference), here’s what you need to know…


dmexco is the leading global expo and conference of the digiconomy.

With its focus on marketing, media, advertising, technology, and the Internet of Things, dmexco is the global platform for effective knowledge transfer and direct business transactions. In varied formats, it offers the largest selection of current economic trends, growth strategies, product innovations, and creative diversity. As a result, dmexco is the central showcase in the digital age for all forward-looking brand innovators and opinion leaders, advertising executives, marketing specialists, and startups, as well as all agency segments and media companies.


Arriving at Koelnmesse on day one, we were overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the event with an impressive 40,700 visitors, 1,100 exhibitors and 1,000,000 sq ft of exhibition space, 18 stages and a 250+ hour program! After grabbing a coffee and mapping our route, we successfully navigated our way to the first conferences of the day.

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The key themes of the two-day event:

  • Data, data and even more data

Of course we all know that ‘data is king’, and at dmexco this year there was a big focus around all aspects of data. Naturally the initial focus was around making sure you’re collecting as much data as possible to know your customers, their user journeys and how they interact with your brand. Collecting this and creating your own data base means you have the ability to gain true insights into your audience. The key theme here was to ‘understand your customers based on actual, real data.’

Perhaps even more prominent was the discussion around what exactly we do with this data. With the GDPR coming into play next year, and the rise of ‘fake news’, something which is on the agency for many marketers is a call for greater transparency both in how we handle data and with marketing practices in general from both advertisers and publishers. The take away message here was there is a need for clear regulations and guidelines from the industry which can be applied across all channels.

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  • Influencer marketing & engaging millennials

The new kid on the block; influencer marketing…well not strictly speaking, as influencer marketing has been around for some years, but with the rise of platforms such as Instagram and Youtube, influencer marketing has come to the forefront of the industry in 2017. The noise from dmexco was heavily weighted towards two things:

1. how brands can utilise influencers to gain an authentic connection with their audiences

2. the need to measure the impact of influencer marketing correctly.

The key takeaway here was that influencer marketing is something most brands should be doing in 2017/18 but that the brands must be careful and have a good attribution model in place in order to fully understand the impact influencer marketing has on the wider channels.

  • AI

AI and machine learning made up a large part of the discussions at dmexco this year (but no it wasn’t focussed around “AI is taking over and we’re all out of a job”). The key focus was around how we as marketers can utilise AI and machine learning to help us understand ‘big data’ and turn that data into ‘smart data’.

However, for us, the highlight of the conference programme was the seminar held by Awin’s Global Client Strategy Director Kevin Edwards and Content Analyst Rob Davinson on ‘Affiliate Marketing Themes – Global Trends Shaping the Industry’.


The key insights included:

  • The global value of the industry is estimated to be €12billion
  • Germany, the UK and the US account for half of this figure alone
  • Affiliate marketing is fragmented, there are lots of differences which must be recognised to be successful
  • This includes the publisher mix – for example, half of Spain’s publishers are incentive-based which over a third are content and social based in the Nordics
  • The IAB UK’s OPM study revealed affiliates drove over 5.4billion clicks for free. No other digital channel such as Google or display operates in this way, which is why additional models rewarding influence are needed
  • The importance of global retail events – Black Friday now outperforms an average November day in every single Awin market around the world
  • The lifetime value of the channel – one telco brand found the affiliate channel drove second highest quality of customers

The recently launched first edition of The AWIN Report covers these areas in a lot more detail and we’ll be sharing our thoughts on the report shortly!

We had a great two days meeting new and old faces, and rubbing shoulders with leading thinkers of the digital economy! Here is a taste of our time at dmexco…

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By Hollie Raper & Chris Ratcliffe

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