Ad:tech London is one of Europe’s most important marketing and advertising technology events. From brand managers, media and digital agencies, to innovative ad tech providers and publishers, the event attracted a very diverse audience of marketers.

Here are the themes that came out of the conference.

1. Data Leads to Personalization and Relevance

Do consumers hate advertising?  Not if it is relevant to them. Brands can use data insights to tell the right story to the right audience. By homing in on their audience’s needs and transforming generic ad channels into personalized consumer experiences, brands can make their advertising campaigns valuable and valued.

2. Are You Ready For A-(utomated)-Commerce?

In 2018, AI and innovative tech will take commerce to the next level. According to TrendWatching, not only will automated delivery shape the future of shopping, but the entire consumer journey will be outsourced to smart devices. That means the process of “hunting, negotiating and purchasing” a product will be AI-powered.

Innovative apps like Finery already act as a personal shopping-assistant by automatically adding products you might like (based on your consumer behavior and shopping history) to your virtual wardrobe and help you find the best deals.  As consumer expectations rise, it is even more important to ensure an integrated shopping experience.

3. Face Tracking – Your Face as Your Personal Fingerprint

“Selfie Generation?” The selfie may soon be about more than getting your best angle. It may be the passport you have a say over – identification and self-expression in one. Individuals create personas on every channel, with friends, family and even with brands (e.g. by using branded snapchat filters). Newest tracking technologies (e.g. Apple’s Face-ID) use this selfie repertoire for facial recognition and facial tracking.

How can brands and marketers make use of this? TUI’s brand campaign Destination U uses facial coding and emotionally intelligent technology to match the facial response of users to a series of moving images of holiday destinations to create the perfect personalized holiday trip.

4. Virtual Companions Become Widespread

Gartner study states that in 2020 people will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse. The time spent with messaging and social apps has increased by 394 percent (Flurry Report 2016). Interaction with bots and voice services already transcend functional needs.). So, what’s next? We don’t have a cure for loneliness of feelings of isolation, but virtual bots like Replika act as a trusted companion. Can AI be the new trusted friend and confidante of the 21st Century?

5. Storytelling Over Media Formats

Content is king. One of the most inspiring sessions during ad:tech led by VICE’s VP of Innovation who stressed that brands should: “Make content that matters to the real world not for the boardroom!”

The secret ingredient to making content that is relevant to your customers is passion. Content innovation is made by shared passion. Everyone has a passion, and shares it with somebody. Beyond optimizing ad or media formats– focus on existing networks and fill consumers free time with great content that foments their passions’ passions!

Want an example? See here what Hip Hop and Yoga have in common.

Charlotte Benninghoven is an account executive, Digital, Edelman.ergo.