d3con Hamburg 2023: What is the future of digital advertising?

31 March 2023

At iO knowledge is at the heart of everything we do. Naturally that includes keeping our knowledge up to date with fresh learnings from key industry events. That's why our colleagues Xander Horvath and Joris Jans travelled to Hamburg in March 2023 to participate in d3con -- "The largest conference tackling the future of digital advertising", as they call it. Read on to learn more about their key learnings and takeaways.

header d3con

The two-day event is full of inspiring sessions, panel discussions and networking opportunities with like-minded people from across our industry. The speakers are all top performers in their field — with years of experience or with impressive track records of bringing innovative products and services to market.

d3con hosted discussions that focused on the impact and results that campaigns have on your own brand — both from national and international studies. Naturally at iO, we are keeping our fingers on the pulse and regularly measuring the effect of brand awareness campaigns in the short and long term.

d3con's studies are larger in scale. On the one hand, they support our own findings, and on the other hand, they help us build even stronger, more effective campaigns for our own clients.

d3con - kantar sessie

Some interesting insights

  • 64% of ecommerce-related searches start with a branded search term — think of "Kipling shoes", for example.

  • Brand campaigns increase sales by an average of 18%.

  • Out of all digital advertising channels, DOOH advertising has  the lowest CO2 emissions per impression.

  • With online magazines and newspapers, 70 to 90% of website visitors abandon the site when they hit the paywall.

  • Time to conversion varies dramatically between search campaigns and DSP campaigns. With search, most conversions happen within half an hour, while with DSP campaigns it can often take between 1 and 7 days. Expand your focus to include remarketing and always-on to convince the last doubters.

The importance of storytelling and video

Of course, d3con wasn't just about large-scale investigations. Broader strategic topics were also discussed in detail.

For example, storytelling was a prominent and recurring discussion point. It’s important not to just focus on pure sales, but to support your products or services with a strong story. Tailor your assets (copy, visuals, video, etc.) to achieve success — based on your own knowledge of the audience, market, and targeting.

Example: Your customers don’t buy a plastic football goal. They are buying fun, and a sporty experience for their children. By capitalising on that feeling, you have a better chance of convincing the right people to choose your goal — and not a competitor's.

The efficiency and impact of video was discussed several times during d3con. Strategically, video is much cheaper as part of a campaign, and it adds a lot of value to your brand awareness — especially if the video is recognisable thanks to your brand colours, photography, fonts, and more.


Contextual targeting and cookieless

Another unmissable topic for digital marketing’s biggest conference is the impending reality that is the Cookieless Future. For example, a lot of organisations shared their ideas, experiences, and approach to reaching their target groups in a world without third-party cookies.


Contextual targeting was another popular discussion point. An approach that can have a positive impact on SEO and SEA — and programmatic has proved to be more effective in delivering results at several companies than the classic Google Display campaigns.

Innovations in the market

The second day of d3con was dedicated to the new, innovative products and emerging services in the market. They were introduced to the audience in blocks of five minutes. These following emerging concepts caught our eye:

  • AI-generated video templates: Brands only need to add a product URL, and AI takes care of the rest. Of course, this is never a substitute for a fully-fledged studio production, but it can be an interesting interim solution.

  • In-car marketing: Brands can advertise in car on the digital dashboard.

  • Ads as paywall: Instead of the classic paywall — that demands the user creates a login or subscribes to view content — users can view ads for access.

Key takeaways, what did we learn?

During our visit to d3con we noticed three major themes:

  • The defining factor for consistent success is a well-thought-out dome concept.

  • The right media placements — both outdoors and indoors — can be achieved in a more targeted way using programmatic.

  • A well-developed first-party data strategy is essential.


Finally: (D)OOH is a versatile channel with a proven impact on brand awareness and sales. New innovations are constantly entering the market giving (D)OOH a strong future profile and perspective for advertisers.

Written by Xander Horvath en Joris Jans.

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d3con - kantar sessie

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