Ad Tech’s Biggest Event Dmexco Will Be Virtual Only

The plans to run a hybrid in-person and digital show have been scratched

a phone screen and a laptop screen
Dmexco said the response to its idea for an in-person event spurred the decision to go virtual. Dmexco
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Dmexco will now be a completely virtual event due to the global impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Ad tech’s big industry event, usually hosted in Cologne, Germany, was slated to commence as a hybrid in-person and digital conference, but a lackluster response to that concept caused host venue Koelnmesse to change course.

“Out of concern for the health of their employees and customers, and in light of the travel restrictions to which individual countries and companies are subject, many of our exhibitors are not yet ready for an onsite trade fair. Many companies also face economic uncertainties due to the coronavirus pandemic, and this has a direct impact on their trade fair planning,” said Christoph Werner, svp of Koelnmesse.

Werner added that new cases of infection in North Rhine-Westphalia, the German state where Cologne is located, also contributed to the decision to make Dmexco online only.

Dmexco will still take place as planned on Sept. 23-24, but within the Dmexco @home digital event platform. Next year’s event will be a “hybrid edition,” Werner said. A deck for the digital platform can be found here.

A "virtual cafe" for Dmexco @home

The main attraction for Dmexco, which can attract upward of 40,000 attendees, is the networking. In May, several companies told Adweek they were unlikely to attend the event since travel restrictions and rules around social distancing would make face-to-face meetings a challenge.

“Right from the outset, Dmexco @home was designed not as a supplement but as a standalone platform. That is why we expect the digital edition of Dmexco to offer the same high quality of exhibitors, visitors and contacts as a physical Dmexco. We are aware of the industry’s urgent need to engage in networking and business, particularly now, and we have the right answer to this. On September 23 and 24, Dmexco @home will provide the digital economy an opportunity to hit the restart button together,” said Dominik Matyka, chief advisor for Dmexco.

In addition to canceling Dmexco, Koelnmesse has also canceled four events in other sectors that were scheduled to take place through the end of October.

@andrewblustein Andrew Blustein is a programmatic reporter at Adweek.