The Big Story: Fall Into Festival Season

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Two big tech and media players held their extravaganzas this week.

The Relevance Conference in Santa Barbara was a coming-out party for Xandr – that’s the new name for AT&T’s advertising and analytics unit.

And just a couple hundred miles upstate, San Francisco blocked off downtown traffic to make way for the annual Salesforce Benioff-fest, aka Dreamforce.

AdExchanger editors put on their trench boots and waded through the confetti – but not to cover all the keynote celebrity speakers. Both AT&T and Salesforce have made big acquisitions to turn their respective galleons toward shining new horizons.

AT&T spent billions to get into the media and advertising game with the acquisitions of Time Warner and AppNexus. Throughout 2018, top execs have hinted at what they’re architecting, but the Relevance Conference was the first time they had a stage built for themselves, telling potential partners and competitors about their vision: a “community garden” where advertisers can find all sorts of audiences across all sorts of inventory and augment their buys with valuable AT&T data.

A nice ideal indeed, but what does it mean and how can AT&T possibly hope to realize it? Will the advertising and media industry buy in, or are they too leery of yet another massive walled garden? And can this data-topia exist as different states – and the federal government – take renewed interest in consumer protection regulations?

Data was also the big deal upstate, where Dreamforce kicked off with the announcement of Customer 360 – an identifier built on the back of Salesforce’s MuleSoft acquisition that connects customer profiles across Salesforce’s various clouds.

We know what you’re thinking, because we’re thinking it too: Salesforce couldn’t do that already?

Despite years of Salesforce messaging that emphasized its cloud connections, data connectivity has been a big target recently. Besides the $6.5 billion it spent on MuleSoft, it also reportedly plunked down $800 million on Datorama just a couple of months ago.

Join the AdExchanger team as we get you up to speed on AT&T and Salesforce – and how data is changing the game for both giants.

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