Web Summit, Digital Marketing and 2020 Tech Trends

By Simon Chopier | Dec 12, 2019

Two of Mach Media’s digital marketers, Simon and Aidan, went to Web Summit 2019 in Lisbon to learn about new technologies and schmooze with other like-minded people. Below, Simon shares all about their experience!

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Web Summit is an annual 4-day event with 70,000+ participants and 1200 speakers. With one large keynote stage, in a stadium, there are multiple side-stages for start-ups, VCs and established companies to present on new trends and emerging technologies. It’s often called “the Olympics for geeks.”

One of the big draws for me was the keynote speeches. Speakers were mostly all big names across different industries. From Edward Snowden (Freedom of the Press Foundation) and Margrethe Vestager (EU Commissioner for Competition) to Katherine Maher (Wikipedia) and Melanie Perkins (Canva), and more. Although they often only have 20 minutes to talk about a specific topic, it’s worth every minute.

Is Web Summit overhyped?

No… but… Web Summit does market itself extremely well.

Before it starts, they have targeted (and re-targeted) ads on Facebook and LinkedIn. Once you register for a ticket, get ready for frequent emails about new speakers, agenda updates and more. Then, during the event, we were bombarded with e-mails and notifications through the app, reminding us to spread the good news online.

It doesn’t end there. Once the live sessions are finished, the video production team gets to work. The resulting video editing is very well done. If you only viewed the event on YouTube, you can still feel the atmosphere and hear everything you need to know.

All in all, the marketing was a huge aspect of the conference, very inspirational!

Our main takeaways of trends for 2020 (and perhaps beyond):

  • Artificial intelligence is the new norm, it will drastically improve the quality of our life and have a significant impact on how we do business. It’s still in its infancy stage but watch this space!
  • Social media is dead. Platforms like YouTube and Instagram will keep growing but Facebook engagement will further decline. Young people tend to be more social on private messaging apps like WhatsApp.
  • Data, data, data! Analyzing and utilizing existing data will give you a competitive edge over your competitors. S/he who analyzes gains the biggest market share.
  • People are more in love with platforms than with brands. The ease of use of a platform creates commitment and less the branding itself.

To our surprise, Blockchain was not discussed at all during the event. Despite the recent announcement of the Libra coin from Facebook, blockchain and cryptocurrencies got no attention.

We saw that there are many companies with innovative ideas but no paying customers. The question for any business remains valid: are you solving a real problem that customers will pay for? At the core, good businesses need a business model, not just an idea and marketing. Food for thought.

How has Web Summit helped us, so we can help our clients?

This conference helped us to gain a broader perspective on emerging technologies, sustainability and social-economic trends. We learned about main trends to watch out for that we can possibly incorporate in our client work.

I recommend the event to anyone who wants to broaden their perspective. However, for someone like me, a rather tech-savvy digital native, Web Summit is not a must-attend every year, maybe every other year, just to keep up with trends.


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