TheXchange 2019: A Recap of Our Partner Summit

By OpenX in Brands & Agencies, Publishers|October 29, 2019

For TheXchange this year, OpenX decided to do things a little differently and, for the first time, brought together brand, agency, publisher and technology leaders for insightful conversations around the future of advertising and the roadmap moving forward. We wanted to curate a unique experience and hosted the event at the beautiful 5 Diamond Solage Resort in Napa Valley. Over a three day span, guests participated in the exchange of new ideas, tasted a variety of fine wines and enjoyed deliciously prepared dinners. For those that were unable to attend, heres a recap to keep you up to date on key insights that drove the different conversations throughout the event.

We kicked off the event in style with a welcome reception and an exclusive Calistoga wine tasting. Four of Calistoga’s premier boutique wineries came together with fantastic wines from Amici, Tom Eddy, Knights Bridge, and Joseph Cellars. These wines reflected the diversity and quality of Napa Valley’s northern most region. This was followed by dinner under the stars with an incredible harvest feast and wine pairing prepared by Executive Chef Gustavo Rios at the Michelin star rated restaurant Solbar. The night continued at the LiveRamp sponsored after party where our partners got to mingle while enjoying cigars, curated scotches, local whiskies aged in oak wine barrels and hand crafted cocktails from the on-site mixologist.

After enjoying a night of fine dining and equally exceptional wine pairings, we brought our partners together for a mix of fireside chats and presentations that touched on present and future opportunities in digital advertising. Topics centered around the need for marketing on the open web and the road to get there, consumer privacy regulations, identity, the need for people-based marketing and the role of the agency. Here’s a quick look at the key insights discussed.

Opportunities and Challenges: The Future of Marketing on the Open Web

Roxanne Taylor, OpenX Board Member, Patricia Kim, VP Director, Digital, Spark Foundry, Vivian Chang, VP of Growth, Nutranext (Clorox) and Manny Hernandez, VP, Head of Display Activation, North America, Essence came together to discuss how the open web must evolve to compete for brand dollars. They all agreed that there is no one size fits all answer to programmatic. Different brands and marketers are at different places in terms of in-housing, reacting to new tech, working with data and more. For brands, the consumer experience is key, and needs to be translated into a people-based digital advertising ecosystem.

How Publishers Grab Advertising Dollars for the Thriving Open Web

OpenX President John Gentry joined Ethan Ross, SVP of Global Digital Sales at The Score, Steve Mummey, VP of Programmatic Sales and Operations at AccuWeather, and Jason White, SVP & GM of Global Programmatic Revenue at CBS Interactive and dove deep into how the open web can compete and win against walled gardens. The biggest takeaway was that publishers recognize the challenges in front of them. These challenges include the removal of the cookie, the rapidly emerging CTV landscape, new privacy regulation and more. As an industry we can all work together to solve these, and get in front of the change.

Consumer Privacy Regulations: It’s Here, It’s Everywhere…

Shannon Yavorksy, EU and US Privacy and Technology Transactions Partner at Venable LLP, led an engaging discussion on how to navigate through the fluid consumer privacy landscape. She offered insights into what to expect next, as laws are emerging and changing quickly. She honed in on the fact that privacy and regulation should be top of mind for everyone. Businesses also need to regularly evaluate and update their policies.

Identity is Just the Beginning

Identity is one of the most talked about subjects in marketing technology today, making it important for us to highlight. Our CEO Tim Cadogan sat down with LiveRamp CEO Scott Howe to discuss the future of identity. Their discussion centered around what is needed to truly unlock the capabilities of people-based marketing on the Open Web. They believe identity is absolutely critical for both marketers and publishers. With the cookie likely going away soon, the industry needs to come up with other ways to authenticate users. If we fail to do so, we risk severe revenue loss.

The Road to a Thriving Open Web

Our Chief Product Officer Todd Parsons talked about the steps needed for advertising to thrive on the open-web. He spent a lot of time on people-based marketing and how it is the key to getting there. He also shared more about OpenAudience, our own people-based marketing solution. OpenAudience is built to enable publishers across the open web to deliver marketers a Facebook-like advertising experience. Every partner of OpenX will benefit as we help shift spend spend back from the walled gardens into the open web.

The State of the Modern Agency

Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Growth Officer at Publicis Groupe, delivered the 2019 Xchange keynote on the future of modern marketing agencies. The rapid change in the space will have an impact on every sector of the $700 billion global advertising ecosystem. He honed in on the fact that the role of the agency is changing. It is now about more than just advertising. We need an understanding of business strategy to help brands understand how to navigate the next connected age. Investing in people is key and understanding macro trends can help guide where to invest.

Snackable Insights

2019 Consumer Holiday Shopping:

Our Chief Brand Officer Dallas Lawrence presented our 2019 data around consumer holiday shopping. His biggest insight was that more shopping is expected to happen on digital devices than in-store for the first time.  This means that there is a tremendous opportunity to reach consumers who are researching and increasingly shopping for gifts on their phones.

Download the full 2019 Holiday Shopping Report here.

The State of OTT in Digital Advertising:

Dallas also presented some key findings from our 2019 OTT report data. The biggest insight he shared was that consumers are not watching TV the way they once did. More players are emerging in the streaming wars and more and more consumers shifting from cable to streaming services. It is now safe to say that OTT/CTV has become mainstream. Many consumers also prefer ad supported options over a pure subscription, and streamers have even “paused to purchase” after seeing an ad during a program they were watching. This opens up a tremendous opportunity for marketers to capitalize.

Download the full 2019 OTT Report here.

The long but insightful day of discussions was capped off with a trolley ride to the medieval Castello Di Amorosa. Our partners enjoyed a pre release barrel wine tastings and an incredible wine pairing dinner. The night ended in royal fashion with a WhiteOpps sponsored after party. An array of chocolates and wine were served while a live acoustic set played.

The insightful discussions we had throughout this event wouldn’t have been possible without our own employees and partners who took the stage. We can’t wait to see you all next year!