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DMEXCO explores key digital business trends for 2021 and beyond

One of Europe’s biggest virtual industry events, DMEXCO 2021, is over! Microsoft Advertising is delighted to have been part of what were two full days of learning and exceptional insights into the current priorities and trends of the digital business world.

The two-day event was full of insightful conversations, inspiring workshops, and a host of strong speakers. It was amazing to see that 75% of the Microsoft Advertising sessions were hosted by female speakers and livestreamed, thus ensuring that DMEXCO was as diverse and interactive as possible for attendees. Based on this year’s DMEXCO theme Setting New Priorities, Microsoft Advertising invited partners and guests to attend conversations around sustainable advertising and on partnerships in future ecommerce strategies. Attendees were also encouraged to attend workshops for small and medium businesses which focused on search and native advertising practices.

The benefit of search and native together

Microsoft Advertising’s DMEXCO kick-off event started on 7 September at 10 AM with the workshop Expanding your digital horizons – the benefit of search and native together, hosted by Tor Thompson, Regional Director EMEA at Microsoft Advertising. Nitin Hedge, Director of Product Marketing at Microsoft, took the audience through the benefits of the Microsoft Audience Network and talked about how this solution meets the advertising goals of its customers. To learn more about how this looks like from an advertiser’s perspective, visit our case study with Air France and Performics. The second half of the conversation focused on the importance of digital agility in a post pandemic world for both brands and consumers. This was discussed in an interview with one of the industry’s key voices in the digital space, David McDiarmid, who is Head of UK Media at Digitas UK. David highlighted that “Digitas found that the Microsoft Audience Network consistently performed above benchmarks from other display and native networks” and that “it allowed us to take our brands to new places like Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft News and integrate with our search campaigns, all managed from one platform.” For more insight into how the Microsoft Audience Network performed for Digitas you can read this case study: MSAN increases digital agility for Digitas.

Trusted partnerships in future commerce strategies

In the afternoon of day one Mascha Driessen, Regional VP of Microsoft Advertising, hosted the Fireside chat about Trusted Partnerships in future commerce strategies with Marc Opelt, CEO of, and Alex Sherman, CEO and Co-founder of PromoteIQ. The discussion focused on why it's now important to find the right partnerships for success and the role that PromoteIQ played in the transformation of OTTO from a mail order company to an online shop – from online shop to an e-commerce platform. As Alex Sherman stated: “Retail media is no longer this 'nice-to-have' business. Now it’s something that can ultimately drive 20-50% of your operating income as a business overall.” The audience attending the session learned about the big potential of retail media.

Growth solutions for small and medium sized businesses

For all small- and medium-sized businesses and start-ups, our workshop Scale and succeed: Microsoft Advertising growth solutions for small and medium sized businesses, led by Florian Bouchaud, SMB Sales Lead EMEA, Microsoft Advertising, gave a valuable overview of how the unique features and solutions of Microsoft Advertising could help businesses to grow and succeed. This was underpinned by the interview of Federica Mueller, Partner Account Manager Microsoft Advertising and Christoph Hies, Head of Marketing at The Platform Group, which shared deep insights from a SMB-perspective by implementing Microsoft Advertising solutions in their online marketing strategy. Thanks in part to the close cooperation with our Elite Channel Partner Smarketer, Schuhe24 (The Platform Group) has been able to gain more visibility and reach and appeal to consumers from the first perception to the final purchase decision. Learn more about it in the case study on our website.

Sustainable advertising without limiting discoverability

In our “Open Perspectives” panel discussion we talked about Marketing with Purpose with some of our partners.

Host MJ DePalma, Director of Inclusive Marketing at Microsoft, welcomed a stellar panel which included Hannah Wickes, CMO of Ecosia, Sanjay Nazerali, Global Client & Brand President at dentsu X, and Adrian Cutler, Global Agency Director at Microsoft Advertising, to the session Open Perspectives: Sustainable Advertising without Limiting Discoverability. These experts concluded that due to consumers increasingly demanding awareness from their brands in terms of ethical obligations, sustainability must be addressed in a brand’s supply chain. This was underlined by the passionate statement from MJ DePalma that “Brands need to live and breathe these values throughout every facet of the organization. They must examine their entire footprint and execution and be truthful about their practices.” The discussion continued further on the topic of available solutions and ways that organizations can achieve this, such as Ecosia's tree planting initiative, and the contributions from dentsu X and Microsoft Advertising to sustainable advertising.

There are plenty of ways to allow clients to have a choice and nevertheless support the removal of carbon and make a positive contribution beyond net-zero – if you run with the right partners AND just do it. Together with our partner dentsu X we've conducted a study to understand how people around the world perceive the potential impact to the environment from advertising. Follow us on social media to stay up to date on the results of the study.

All Microsoft Advertising sessions are available to watch on demand through YouTube (“Trusted Partnerships” and “Scale and Succeed”) as well.

We would like to say thank you to our valued partners and guests, to our team for the exceptional planning and execution as well as to our speakers for the engaging sessions. We're looking forward to meeting everyone in person next year at DMEXCO 2022.