How to have a successful DMEXCO 2018

How to have a successful DMEXCO 2018

That’s right, it’s that time of year again! DMEXCO 2018 is only round the corner…

Are you going? We are!

If you’d like to meet at DMEXCO, drop us an email: or or


DMEXCO is one of the biggest digital marketing conferences in the world. Although it’s a great place to network, learn about new business and discover current trends, it’s also very full on – read what we we thought of last year’s DMEXCO. So, you need to be prepared.

But not to worry, we’re here to make sure you’re going to have a successful time at this year’s DMEXCO.

How to have a successful DMEXCO 2018

Decide on your objectives

You should decide what you want to get out of DMEXCO 2018 and this will help you plan your time.

Do you want to learn more about the industry and trends for the following year?

Before you go…

Brush up on your industry knowledge and research current trends. Expect discussions around AI, OTT, video innovation and voice programmatic.

Research which talks you want to go to by looking at DMEXCO’s conference guide. And make sure you leave enough time to get between the halls (at least 15 minutes!).


DMEXCO is huge, leave at least 15 minutes to get from one seminar to the other.

When you’re there…

Soak up all of your planned seminars and visit the Start-up Village, where upcoming businesses and creative entrepreneurs will be exhibiting.

Also, network with a range of industry players to give you varied opinions on trends.

Do you want to find new business?

Before you go…

Fill your calendar with meetings before you leave. Also, organise meeting places in advance, expo spaces and food halls are huge so be specific about where you’ll both be. Check out the floor plan here.

Have you set up a meeting with Coull yet? If not, contact: or or

Don’t pack your schedule too full, leave time to get to your next meeting or network at stands. Remember, there are 1000+ exhibitors keen to show you what they have to offer.

Stock up on business cards, this is a must! When there’s so much going on, it’s easy to forget a face. Business cards will jog people’s memory of you.

When you’re there…

Stay in the expo after hours, many stands hold networking drinks after the first day.

Collect business cards and make sure you follow up your conversations as soon as possible.

Have a WhatsApp group with the rest of your team. This enables you all to split up and cover more ground, whilst making it much easier to find each other later.

Do you want to get your company’s name out there?

Before you go…

Make sure people know you’re going to DMEXCO 2018 by posting about it on LinkedIn, Twitter and Xing.

When you’re there…

Work the floor, engage with exhibitors and hand out your business cards. Keep conversations concise, so that you can chat with more people.

Go to events outside of the expo, such as dinners and parties. The most popular parties are the DMEXCO official party, OM Club and Online Marketing Rockstars.

OM Club DMEXCO party

The OM Club DMEXCO party from last year

Perhaps most importantly, leverage your social media channels. You should take lots of photos, engage with other DMEXCO attendees and post about the talks you’ve attended and the people you’ve met. And of course, use hashtags… #DMEXCO18. Your marketing team will definitely thank you.

Getting around

So you’ve set up your meetings and planned the seminars, that’s all, right? Well, not exactly. You also have to plan how you’ll be getting around Cologne. You’ll not only be travelling with locals and tourists but thousands of other DMEXCO visitors, so make sure you take this into consideration.

There are a few ways to get around Cologne…


Buy advance tickets from Deutsche Bahn. Or buy your ticket upon arrival, but be sure to validate your tickets (with machines on the platform) before travelling.


Use the mytaxi app or be prepared for extensive queues. Although, if you are stuck in a queue, it could be a great opportunity to network.


Apps such as Citymapper are useful, they give you real-time updates to guide you on transport routes to your hotel.

…Or, simply walk!

Look after yourself

DMEXCO can be hectic, so don’t forget to look after yourself. Allow yourself time for short breaks and pace yourself. It’s likely you’re going to have long days and early mornings, don’t go too heavy on those free cocktails too early!

Take snacks and make the most out of free food and coffee on stands. Queuing up for food at peak times can take ages. Though if you do buy food there, make sure you take cash – not many stands accept card payment.

Essential items:

  • Chewing gum

This goes without saying really.

  • Water bottle

Stay hydrated!

  • Paracetamol

For that inevitable hangover.

  • A phone power pack and phone charger

Let’s be honest, we’d be lost without our phones.

  • An umbrella

Don’t get caught in the rain!

  • Comfy shoes

You’re going to be doing a lot of walking.

Enjoy it

Most importantly, have fun. You’ll be meeting lots of like-minded people, soaking up the culture, discovering new businesses and learning about upcoming tech innovations. Also, they’ll be plenty of weird and wonderful freebies to find. For example, the unusual freebies from last year ranged from bright orange flip flops and a high vis jacket to fidget spinners and shower caps. You never know what you’re going to see!

About Coull…

We’ve developed revolutionary in-video advertising, giving our partners the ability to add value to any video. Marketers can now serve contextually relevant ads within video to actively engaged audiences. And using our in-video formats, publishers can now easily monetise their video content in an exciting, user-friendly way.

At this year’s DMEXCO, we’re excited to discover the latest innovations in video and form new partnerships. Do you want to find out how we can add value for you? Or do you want to find out more about our in-video technology? Then let’s meet at DMEXCO!

Organise a meeting with us: or or

See you there!

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull comment
The Power of Video

The Power of Video

Online video has been around ever since I can remember, I grew up with it - even if it was through a dodgy dial-up connection. But video advertising has also been around since I can remember, and it’s not all been as positive. Don’t get me wrong, when advertisers get video right, they really get it right, like this famous ad from Cadburys. But why are high-quality, memorable and relevant video adverts so few and far between?

Gone are the days when advertisers could spend weeks and months planning the perfect advertising campaign for a billboard or magazine page. We’re now living in a fast-moving, rapid-consuming world, we want video and we want it now. There’s a panic amongst advertisers, millions of videos are being watched every day and adverts need to follow that audience. And so, rushed, ineffective and non-engaging video ads are born, in an attempt to get something - anything - into the video space, ignoring quality and only focusing on the quantity.

And that’s just where the advertising industry has gone wrong. There’s such a rush to get into the video space, in front of an audience, that the most important thing has been forgotten...the people watching. There’s no use putting a message out there, if it isn’t high-quality content, if it doesn’t engage and if it’s not relevant.

Videos can be powerful, but we need to learn to harness that power to win over audiences once again.

The Power of Video

Last week, we hosted a breakfast event all about digital video, called The Power of Video. The aim of this event was to discuss the current state of the online video advertising industry and how to unlock the power of online video.

The IAB’s Senior Industry Initiatives Manager, Mike Reynolds, presented first, focusing on video trends and creative research. He shared some research to emphasise the huge growth of the video market.

Video is driving market growth

X3 | The time spent watching short video clips online has tripled in the last three years.

Source: IAB / YouGov consumer insights, October 2017

£699m | Online video has overtaken banners as the largest display format.

Source: IAB / PWC Digital Adspend Study H1 2017

But he also touched on how mobile is such a big influence on advertising spend.

Mobile video is also driving growth

68% | Mobile video is up 68% year on year, making it the fastest growing format.

Source: IAB / PWC Digital Adspend Study H1 2017

Lastly, he spoke about the IAB’s research, ‘Fit for Purpose’. This research looks at how advertisers tailor creative video ads for mobiles. If you would like to find out more about ‘Fit for Purpose’, the IAB is hosting the official research launch on 20th March 2018.

Next up was Coull’s very own Director of Agency Sales, Alex Wright.

Alex asked the question, why are videos so powerful? The answer: it’s part of our DNA. Paying attention to motion and avoiding cognitive strain are just a few reasons why we are hard-wired to favour video over any other format.

Perhaps more importantly for brands, is that videos can generate far more emotional cues than a photo can, with the ability to tell an extensive story and appeal to a wider range of senses.

It's ideas that evoke specific emotional responses: joy, sadness, anger, laughter etc. These emotions fuel passion and drive human behaviour while building a brand relationship with an audience.

Emotions form brand connections

But, as Alex went on to say, that power is being diluted through poorly made videos that don’t take their audience - or the device they’re watching on - into account. However, here are the 4 action points from Alex on how to get the most out of your video advertising:

how to unlock the power of video advertising infographic

Follow these steps and we can say goodbye to videos that make little to no impact and say hello to engaging, high-quality videos that connect brands and audiences.

Are you unsure of the best way to follow-up a pre-roll? This is where we can help.

We enhance the impact of your pre-roll by giving it an immediate follow-up within the video player. We can offer a variety of follow-up options from within our OverStream Suite. When you pair our OverStream formats with pre-roll, we call this DoubleUp.

Our OverStream Suite formats:

OverStream Banner - video advertising format


Our simplest format that delivers results from inside the video stream.

The Banner appears for 30 seconds, offering brand engagement opportunities. The user can choose to dismiss the advert at any time with a clearly distinguished close button.



Minimising MPU

Grabs attention and encourages action, with your audience in mind.

The Minimising MPU format appears in the corner of the video player for 5 seconds before minimising to a small ‘ad-expand’ icon that re-expands on user interaction. The user may then engage with, or close, the advert at their discretion.

OverStream Minimising MPU - video advertising format



OverStream OnPause - video advertising format


An intelligent ad format, shown when the audience clicks pause.

OnPause delivers an ad on the video player each time it is paused by the user. This is easily dismissable via the ‘dismiss’ button or automatically when content is resumed.




However, we see the value of both high-quality pre-roll and high-quality video content. Our aim is to add value to any video. So, if you would prefer to not use pre-roll, you can still reach video audiences solely through any OverStream format, so you can still make use of a valuable and viewable online space.

If you’re interested in how Coull can help you harness the power of video advertising, check out The OverStream suite or contact us.


Take a look at the photos from The Power of Video...

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull news
We did it! Coull at Do It Day

We did it! Coull at Do It Day

The Drum’s ‘Do It Day’ is all about using marketing to destigmatise mental health. Many people from agencies, technology companies and publishers gathered their creative ideas to produce six different advertising campaigns for six different charities. Amongst those people were Coull’s Product Manager Ben Sonnex and Coull’s Marketing Executive, Naomi Sandercock.

YoungMinds team - The Drum Do it Day 2017

Naomi and her group were working with the YoungMinds charity, a charity that aims to help raise awareness of mental health among young children. Their campaign ‘Take20’ encourages parents to take 20 minutes a week to do an activity with their children. This time can be used to talk to their child about how they’re feeling, whilst doing something that they both enjoy. Whatever the activity, having regular conversations in a relaxed space can help parents to provide reassurance and support from a young age.

They launched the campaign by taking their own advice and taking 20 minutes to have a football game in Regent’s Park and inviting members of the public to also ‘take20’. The campaign has caught the attention of the media and has already been covered by Huffington PostThe Metro and The Sunday Mirror (being printed this week).

Naomi said: “It’s been such a great experience, our group and everyone from Youngminds has worked together so well and now we have something really amazing to show for it. It feels really good to give my time and skills for such a great cause, I really hope this campaign lives on and spreads the important message: it’s time to make time.”

The Mix ad - The Drum Do it Day

The Mix was the charity that Ben and his group created a campaign for. The Mix aims to provide mental health support for under 25s. A study by The Mix found that three in four under 25s believe they are misrepresented in the news media. Based on this research, the campaign ‘In The Mix’, set out to disrupt the negative news agenda by creating a different 6 o’clock news bulletin, produced with young people, for young people.

YouTube stars, Niki and Sammy, presented the show and made appearances on Sky News on the lead up to the 6pm bulletin. Not only this, the team did a Kiss FM takeover for an hour on Launch Day and called in favours to secure advertising space on huge outdoor billboards in London. They promoted their first bulletin with a mysterious message: ‘Done with Fake News? Something Real is Coming…16/11/17 – 6pm’.

This campaign was voted the winning Do It Day campaign by the judges and will now provide a lasting legacy for The Mix with fortnightly ‘In The Mix’ shows.

Ben said: “I feel privileged to have contributed to the winning ‘In the Mix’ campaign and super proud to have been a part of The Drum’s Do it Day. What all the teams achieved in just over 5 weeks was quite incredible and experiencing first hand the challenges Coull’s agency partners tackle day-by-day was inspiring. I’m grateful I’ve had the chance to support an amazing charity and work with a very talented group of people, some of whom went above and beyond to make ‘In the Mix’ a success.”

You can read about all of the Do It Day campaigns here.

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull news
5 things Dmexco 2017 taught me

5 things Dmexco 2017 taught me

Coull at Dmexco 2017

Dmexco may not be in Mexico… but you will still have a great time. Left to right: Elle (UniLad), Me – Naomi (Coull), Jordan (UniLad), Dan (Coull)

Dmexco, not ‘Dmexico’. It’s not actually related to the sunny beaches of Mexico at all, I found out earlier this year (to my dismay). Swap sand with the streets of Cologne. Replace palm trees with hundreds of exhibitors. Change up the sunshine for the unpredictable, autumnal weather of Cologne. Keep about the same levels of alcohol… and you have Dmexco.

Though, I quickly realised Dmexco (The Digital Marketing Exposition & Conference) would not disappoint. It’s one of the biggest digital marketing conferences in the world, it hosts over 40,000 visitors and more than 500 top speakers impart their knowledge. As a first timer to the conference, here are the 5 things I learnt from Dmexco 2017…

Koelnmesse, the venue for Dmexco

Koelnmesse, the venue for Dmexco

  1. The digital advertising industry is much bigger than you think

It’s easy to forget the sheer size of the online marketing world until you step into Koelnmesse, the colossal trade fair hall. The halls are packed full to the brim with marketing experts and bright and bold booths trying to lure you in. Over 40,000 people attended the event this year…and that’s only a small percentage of the whole industry!

  1. Video, video…and more video

Phrases like “pivot to video” have been thrown around a lot in the past year. And let’s face it, people love visual content, it’s simple to consume, it’s creative and it’s exciting.

On the second day of Dmexco, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Marketing Solutions, Carolyn Everson, was on a panel about ‘Video: Connecting People, Reshaping Marketing’. She said, “Most recently, what we’re seeing is the consumption of videos…78%-90% of mobile traffic will be driven by video. Every time we estimate video consumption on our platform, we underestimate it. What we’re seeing is a really exciting opportunity for marketers to reach consumers in many different formats of video, in the form that they love, which is sight, sound and motion.”

  1. AI and VR are both pretty cool, but they still have a long way to go

The two buzzwords in the industry for this year…AI and VR. More and more technology is being developed to mirror human interactions. Artificial intelligence has taken the form of chatbots and voice search, so it’s like talking to human instead of a machine. Also, Virtual Reality has meant more immersive experiences, particularly through VR headsets. As exciting as these both are, they’re still seen as entertainment and it will be a while until they’re integrated into everyday life.

  1. It’s easy to get caught up in the buzz, but don’t forget about the real issues

There’s a certain buzz you get when you’re at Dmexco because there’s so much going on: thousands of people networking, hundreds of exhibitors, new innovations to see, talks to hear…I could go on. It’s very easy to see how you could get caught up in the Dmexco whirlwind and forget about the serious stuff. But it’s important not to ignore the problems in the industry. The main themes this year were GDPR, ad blocking and brand safety.

Here are the key takeaways from the discussions I heard:

  • The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is being enforced in May 2018. It brings Europe under one privacy law. And although there are penalties, “it’s not all bad news”, said Acxiom’s European Privacy Officer, Dr Sachiko Scheuing in the ‘Preparing for GDPR: Embracing the Inevitable Regulations’ debate at Dmexco. She said, “GDPR is a great success. Now we’re talking about the obsolescence of opt-in. Opt-in made the consumers accountable, so without improving any privacy, you’re doing nothing else but putting the responsibility to the wrong side. GDPR puts that in the right context and I really welcome that.”

  • Ad blocking should encourage businesses to be more creative to engage the consumer, not annoy them. Advertising works best when it gives users space, chooses the moment and excites the consumer.

  • P&G’s Marc Pritchard called for all companies to follow a set of standards including MRC accreditation and brand safety guarantees in the Dmexco keynote: ‘A Wake-Up Call’. He said, ”2017 isn’t over yet but it’s sounded several wake up calls for the marketing world. The reality is, in 2017 the bloom came off the rose for digital media. The reason is the substantial waste in what has become a murky, non-transparent, even fraudulent, media supply chain. If we all raise the bar and transform ourselves, we can accelerate market growth that will lift all of us and will especially benefit consumers.”

  1. Not all freebies are created equal

The Dmexco experience isn’t complete until you get a weird freebie. If you really wanted to, you could walk away with a suitcase full of weird and wonderful freebies. Of course, you have the classic squishy stress balls and branded notepads and pens. However, I find the unconventional ones much more interesting.

Here are some of the weird freebies I saw:

  • Bright orange flip flops

  • A high vis jacket

  • Many fidget spinners

  • Shower caps

  • Plasters

  • Mini shower speaker

  • Grow a plant (in a can)

  • Berocca, Alka seltzer and tea bag selection

Tweet us your best and worst Dmexco freebie: @Coull

So, until next year Cologne…

Cologne cathedral - Dmexco 2017

Cologne Cathedral

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull news
Coull reflect on the year and prepare for the winter ahead…

Coull reflect on the year and prepare for the winter ahead…

Coull escaped the office in early September for a team event, co-sponsored by Sphere Digital Recruitment. The day’s focus was not only about company updates but self-reflection and team building (and of course, some drinks to help with that #FridayFeeling).

Coull team day - self-reflection & preparation

Sphere’s James Everett and Coull’s Managing Director, Dan Ginns led a discussion around the Tuckman theory. In brief, it’s a theory that helps identify development within teams. Although this theory is over 50 years old, it’s still just as relevant today.

There are four main stages of growth: forming, storming, norming and performing.

Tuckman's team development model - Coull team day

The team were asked to plot themselves and their teams on the graph, however, there isn’t a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’ answer. The Tuckman theory is used to help define different stages in business so that the team can identify where they are and where they want to be.

Self-reflection is crucial in all walks of life. It’s important to recognise both weaknesses and strengths. If we can only see weaknesses, this leads to little self-belief and full potential can’t be reached. On the other hand, if all we can see is our strengths and triumphs, this can lead us to fall into our own traps.

The same goes for businesses and company culture. It’s very easy to notice only strengths or only weaknesses. Yes, there’s always room for improvement, but there’s also a time to celebrate.

At Coull, we know how significant it is to be self-critical, especially if we want to grow as a business. More importantly, we know how to celebrate achievements (and throw a good party!).

Coull company day - self-reflection & preparation

What did we learn?

  • Self-reflection leads to success

  • Not everyone plotted themselves in the same place on the graph – this means we can support each other and work together as a team

  • Not to concentrate too much on KPIs (they only represents a small margin of people), instead we should think about brand uplift and awareness

  • Data insights are important to back up marketing and sales claims

What are our priorities?

  • Continuing to innovate in the video space

  • Always aiming to add value for publishers, advertisers and audiences

  • Case studies and data insights

  • Identifying industry trends and adapting our roadmap to fit

  • Creating a self-serve model for our technology (SaaS)

Where is the industry going?

  • Video…and more video!

  • Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

  • A focus on better ads/ad formats and fighting against ad blocking

  • Anti-fraud and brand safety are just as important

One achievement, in particular, is how far we’ve come as a team – in this year alone.

Since May, we’ve had many key hires.

Meet the new Coull team members…

Dan – Managing Director

Azad – Programmatic Demand Sales Director

Alice – Demand Account Manager

Alex – Agency Sales Director

Toby –  Developer

Harry – Supply Account Manager

(and me) Naomi – Marketing Executive

Coull new hires

And now, for the run-up to Christmas, Coull are prepared for the winter ahead…
Winter is coming - Coull prepare for the winter ahead
Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull news
Coull are heading to Dmexco

Coull are heading to Dmexco

It’s less than a month until people from all over the globe gather in Cologne for the Dmexco conference.

It’s set to be a great place to network, share ideas and discuss the future of the advertising and digital world. Over 50,000 people and 1,000 exhibitors from the digital marketing industry will be there. Not only that, hundreds of speakers will be imparting their knowledge; the impressive line up include: P&G’s Marc Pritchard, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey and Chris Cox, the CPO at Facebook.

At Coull, we like to think ourselves as the video overlay ad specialists. We are a Bristol born technology company, with teams in the heart of Bristol, London and the US. Six members of our team will be there to meet new people, chat about Coull and discuss the future of video and advertising.

If you’re curious about what we do or would like to work with us, come and say hello or organise a meeting with us!

Posted by Naomi Sandercock in Coull news

Coull Quickie – February 2016

In the Coull Quickie for February, Elise looks at the recent MWC, talks about Google AMP and Tube Mogul’s decision to refund advertisers for fraudulent ad impressions. All this and more programmatic video advertising news from February.

Posted by simonholliday in Coull video
Navigating Cannes Lions as an AdTech Company

Navigating Cannes Lions as an AdTech Company

Cannes Lions. Yachts, rosè, hors d’oeuvres and networking – lots of networking. This year we sent some of our finest team members (well, the ones with the biggest mouths) along to the festival for the very first time.

Cannes Lions Festival has long been about the creative side of media and advertising, but with the adtech industry playing an increasingly dominant role in this space, the festival has well and truly been taken over by us adtech folk. With media companies, agencies, brands and technology companies from all over the world in attendance, it’s an opportunity like no other to meet current and prospective clients and partners, all in one place, in one week, and in a beautiful setting that ultimately puts everyone in a jolly good mood!

To keep things simple, here are our pros and cons from our experience at Cannes Lions.


  • Topical focused events. There is a good selection of interesting and engaging events happening outside of the main Palais Des Festivals (for which you don’t need a pass). These took on formats such as the classic panel with Q&As and open discussion lunches. From what I saw, these events cover interesting and relevant topics of the moment, and don’t tend to take longer than an hour, which is just as well in the Cannes heat! For example, TubeMogul hosted a panel session with agency executives on the rooftop of JW Marriot, discussing what programmatic models are best for brands.

  • The jetèe of yachts. I must admit, I’m a yacht convert. Leading up to Cannes I had the idea that yacht events are pretentious and cheesy and didn’t really like the idea of Coull hosting our own. But you know what, they are pretty damn cool, and once you’re out there, it becomes the norm. I found that a lot of technology companies took up residence on their own yacht for the week, and hosted parties every evening. Boat hopping was without a doubt how we did most of our networking out there. Why? Relaxed atmosphere, free drinks and food in abundance, great scenery and plenty of space.

  • Everyone is feeling positive. This is not a one or two day conference hall packed with suits trying to fit in as many business deals as possible. It’s a week (give or take) of relaxed, informal relationship building in a fantastic place with the sun shining. It’s hard not to have a smile on your face. There’s an unmistakable vibe of positivity, excitement and genuine interest to meet new people and explore new opportunities. Get your lighters out.

  • Business gets done. Believe it or not, a lot of deals are made in Cannes, and a lot of strong relationships are built. Before the sun sets and the drinks are flowing, most people are in back-to-back meetings, taking full advantage of the opportunity to meet with people they usually only get to speak to over the phone.

  • Relationship building.  Tying in with the above point, Cannes Lions has proved invaluable to us in terms of building and strengthening relationships. The down-time and relaxed atmosphere takes away the pressure and the formality. This, dare I say it, feels more like making friends rather than forced partnerships.

  • Lions Innovation. If you want to step away from all the above, and do the seminar and talks thing, then you absolutely can. It was the first year for Lions Innovation, a two day event where the topics of data, technology and creativity come together to bring a line-up of inspiring sessions for those in the industry. For a full round-up on what happened during these two days, visit The Guardian, who have compiled a great hour-by-hour overview, full of photos and videos. One of my personal favourites from this event was #EMOTICANNES – an incredible digital installation


  • It’s easy to steer off course. To be quite frank, we’re all in danger of mistaking this work trip as a bit of a holiday, so it’s important that you keep your head screwed on. My tip? Devise a schedule before you go, that’s not too tight, and stick to it. Saying that, this festival experience can be very serendipitous, and you never know what may come out of a spontaneous decision, so don’t be too afraid to get caught in the moment!

  • It’s very broad. The festival as a whole covers a broad range of companies and topics and so there are thousands of people in attendance that aren’t relevant to your company. And aside from the adtech boats and focused events, everyone tends to hang out in the same places, so you need to be careful not to dilute your time there too much.

  • Productivity. It’s most likely that you’re sending some of your C-level execs out there – these really busy people at the heart of the business are taking a week out of the daily grind to focus on Cannes. However, I see this activity as the same thing as any other long-term marketing tactics. It’s about the end-goal. Which brings us on nicely to…

  • Everyone at the office hates you. It’s inevitable, they’re sat in the office and we’re in the French Riviera. We’re sorry, but not really.


  • Do your planning – make sure you book on to as many relevant events as possible before you go. Even if you don’t end up going to all of them, you need to have a rough schedule and be ‘in-the-know’.

  • Book meetings with everyone you know that will be there. If the person in your company who usually deals directly with certain clients aren’t going, make sure that someone still meets them. Remember that you are representing your company, so knock it out of the park!

  • Make your schedule realistic and you’re more likely to stick to it. Too many late nights make early morning meetings difficult, so my tip would be to avoid committing to them in the first place.

  • Know what you want to get out of it. Are you predominately there for networking? Then maybe you don’t need a festival pass. Are you there to close deals? Go prepared and nurture those conversations in the lead up to the event.

  • Bring value home. Once you get passed the bitterness in the office, your colleagues will want to know what the company has got out of it. No matter how senior you are, you need to communicate this, so have that in mind.

Overall, #CannesLions was an invaluable experience for the Coull team and we’re all feeling very positive, despite the post-festival blues. We’ll see you there next year, hopefully with our own pretentious adtech yacht!

Posted by simonholliday in Coull news

Takeaways from Programmatic IO

Ad Exchanger’s Programmatic IO was held in April in San Francisco, and as with most trade events there were a few running themes. Here are the key points I took away from conversations, panels, and main speakers.

Fraud and Viewability

One of the biggest topics covered by the speakers and discussed by those attending was how to deal with fraud, and what actions are being taken to ensure viewability. The consensus was that across the industry, fraud is something we need to confront head on by investing in technology that can provide both information and transparency.

This is particularly needed within programmatic video – as it was noted; video is a prime target for fraud due to its high CPMs. Retargeting was also noted as a favorite tactic for committing ad fraud.

One opinion that stuck with me on the issues of fraud and viewability was that it is just the starting point for the industry, and that the impact of video as a medium is what needs to be measured.  A similar point came from Google’s Sean Downey’s during his talk on the Future of Programmatic though he said, “When it comes to impact, video is still king”.

Multiple screens

Tablets, computers, mobile phones, and television – consumers are connecting with content through multiple devices throughout the day and sometimes multiple devices at once.  This is a great opportunity for advertisers to reach their target audience, but it also presents advertisers with a greater challenge to earn engagement.

No longer is there one roadmap for reaching your audience, there are multiple routes, all which must be covered to ensure those who deviate from the standard desktop content model, to the increasingly popular mobile device landscape are accounted for. Targeting users while they view content on mobile is a challenge, engaging them while they are doing this during an ad break, while watching television is yet another. All aspects of the users behaviour need to be considered, and thus, content is changing to accommodate all of their various behaviours.

What we are beginning to see more and more, are advertisers blurring the lines between advertisements and content.  Some of the biggest viral videos in the last year were actually selling products, take for example the “Like a Girl” campaign that Always produced, it currently has over 57 million views on alone.  They not only got people to watch an advertisement, but they also started a conversation – showing the true definition of impact.

Great Statistics

Who doesn’t love a good statistic?  Especially when it shows new growth and opportunity.  Here are a few from Programmatic IO that stood out for me:

Programmatic IO covered viewability and ad fraud, multiple screens and how to ensure audiences are engaged and messages impactful. All these themes resonated because they are all challenges facing our industry. The issues present now unify us in a quest to achieve better. The exciting thing is that we’re creating new products and engaging with new partners that will mean we’re able to achieve more through online video, overcome obstacles and forge further ahead, adding even more value and taking advantage of the opportunities afforded to us through mobile content.

Posted by simonholliday in Coull comment
Digital Innovators Summit – Innovate or Die

Digital Innovators Summit – Innovate or Die

Innovate or Die

That was the message from the recent Digital Innovators Summit #DISummit in Berlin, attended by Business Development Manager Rebecca. Forge ahead or be left behind is the name of the game, but here’s some context behind that message and Rebecca’s thoughts on how the ideas raised can be applied at publisher level.

The key areas of innovation and execution that publishers and ad tech companies need to focus on in 2015-16 will be:

  • Programmatic
  • Mobile
  • Video
  • Data
  • Native


One thing made very clear at the summit was that programmatic does not lower the value of inventory. Regardless of how content is traded, if you’re able to give advertisers what they want, CPMs will remain high. Programmatic enables buyers to reach their audience, at the right time and place. Publishers can expect higher CPMs for validated inventory (at Coull we class validated inventory as video that is viewable, human, and brand safe) and as the industry pushes for this, quality will be rewarded over quantity.

Providing advertisers with a brand safe environment with transparency on domains means confidence will only continue to grow in the programmatic space. Being able to deliver this at scale is the key to more advertiser budgets being spent programmatically. AMEX is leading the way here and has moved 100% of their digital ad spend to programmatic.

Two mediums that are really at the forefront of the programmatic revolution are mobile and video.


Publishers need to start seeing mobile as a medium in and of itself not just an extension of online.

The Innovation in Media Magazine, World Report[1], predicts that a US $64 Billion of ad spend will be spent on mobile in 2015, that’s 60% of global ad spend and, that’s this year! On average people check their smartphones 221 times a day, so advertisers have the potential to reach their users 221 times in a day, in an engaged and personalised environment. Publishers that aren’t equipped for mobile will quickly find themselves unable to compete, it’s no longer about switching to mobile; it’s about doing mobile content better.

The key factors when building a mobile site according to the report; you need good content, it needs to be quick, constant, concise and responsive.


79% of all web traffic is video. We know that the majority of this is YouTube, but I think what it indicates is that people want to consume information in this way more than ever before. Publishers cannot rely on strong editorial if that is not the medium in which people want to consume content. Publishers must adopt a video first approach to content.

It’s not just about keeping your audience engaged, it’s also about providing premium spaces for advertisers to invest. The problem is not with demand, it’s getting the supply and persuading publishers that this is where they need to invest in terms of content.

Some economic areas are experiencing down turn and though they desperately want to invest in video, they lack the required resources. They know where they want to be but they can’t get there in time and are therefore restricted. It shows that regardless of intentions, strategy and infrastructure need to be in place for successful campaigns to be possible.

Advertisers see over 800% more conversions with video ads than any other online ad. This means that average CPMs should continue to increase across premium inventory. However, a video strategy is also needed to ensure, relevant, quality content for audiences.

Value from Video

Part of any video strategy should consider how they might re-purpose that video, making yield per video an important metric for publishers. Hearst’s Gary Ellis demonstrated how they are using video across multiple properties and markets, eliminating duplication of work in creating video and giving more time to niche editorial for that property/market.

The message to subscription-based publishers was not to paywall video content. Video is a ubiquitous form of media and is all too easily accessed for free by users, so paywalling it won’t increase subscriptions. What it might do however is to lose you your audience.

DATA should inform – it’s no good if you’re not asking the right questions

Part of the problem media companies are having with big data is that it isn’t being used correctly to inform decisions and strategies. From the outset companies are not always asking the right questions, and can sometimes be measuring the wrong thing. Metrics can be flawed and ad fraud is also muddying the water when it comes to validation.

We need to ask the right questions, measure the right data to answer those questions and, most importantly, take action.

Lutz Finger, Author of Getting the best out of Big Data elucidated the problem of asking the right questions with an Alta Vista and Google example. Alta Vista is an example of a company that was asking the wrong question. In the mid-90s, Alta Vista was able to search more of the World Wide Web than any of their competitors, indeed more than was even thought to exist at the time, due to a fast, multi-threaded crawler.

However, this wasn’t the function that people needed in a search engine. What people wanted wasn’t more search engine results, what they wanted were more relevant results. This is where Google gained ground, it didn’t matter that back then they didn’t have the same resource or capabilities as Alta Vista, they had the right question in the beginning.

Once we have framed the question, we need to measure the right metrics.

Once the question is framed, it needs to be measured with the right metrics. So, if we want to know whether an ad is effective or not, we need to define what metrics are suitable to analyse that performance.

Engagement rates as we all know are flawed, issues with bots and ad fraud mean clicks are unreliable and VTR and viewability all have inherent problems. All these different metrics need to be applied together and used to build a model that we can make inferences from.

Once the data that informs has been gathered, there needs to be action. Implementing a strategy based on the data seems obvious but advertisers and publishers are failing to do this. Crack this seemingly simple set of principles and you’re on the road to success.


So far in 2015 25% of publishers used native advertising on their sites. Advertisers report a 55% uplift in brand affinity and 70% of users say they prefer native advertising to banner ads.

Good native advertising can be just as good as editorial so long as there is no ambiguity over the fact that it’s sponsored content. No one likes being deceived, and not making a clear differentiation between sponsored content and editorial, is evasive, it’s uncomfortable. Native has been used in print for a very long time in the form of advertorials and Hearst has been particularly good at adopting this for brands such as Elle and Cosmopolitan. A partnership between Estee Lauder and Hearst, saw them launching Cosmopolitan Nigeria, a market that Estee Lauder were keen to enter. Through the use of native ads they have secured a great brand partnership but have kept their editorial integrity through clearly signposting that this content was sponsored.

Native, like mobile, video and programmatic is here to stay and there are huge branding budgets to be had if the publisher can get it right.

Go forth and make it work

The elements covered in the Digital Innovators Summit were not new, but that’s okay because it was focused on how to make these things work better, to be more effective and more compelling. There were some great discussion points and I think everyone came away thinking a lot deeper about what it is we’re trying to achieve when we innovate. It’s nice having new, shiny things -but it’s even nicer when they work.

[1] In association with Forrester Research

Posted by simonholliday in Coull comment