The success of

meeting with clients face to face

Anne Bouwman

(33), manager Programmatic Trading

Advertising revenue for all media types grew sharply in 2022. Digital Sales also had a very strong year. How did these banner results come about?

Transitioning to a reliable, transparent and privacy-proof Trusted Web, DPG Media Digital Sales had its best year ever in 2022. An excellent team of ‘self-proclaimed ‘professional nerds’ ensured great results as Open Web was phased out, while positioning DPG Media as the leading knowledge partner for clients. 

The 7 percent increase in sales was made possible in part thanks to no fewer than 51,000 client visits, says Barbara Hazenberg, director of Domains and Digital Sales. Those targeted client visits, carried out by a team of account managers and specialists, are an important part of the transformation of the advertising market.


Anne Bouwman, manager of Programmatic Trading, says the switch from Open Web to Trusted Web is producing winners on several fronts. “More and more, our role in our relationships with clients – the procurement agencies – is becoming that of knowledge partner: we often meet with them face to face to advise them on their procurement behaviour at DPG Media. Unlike Open Web, where the procurement process is anonymous, non-transparent and non-privacy-proof, we advise clients on the right target groups for their ads, as well as on effectiveness.” 

Moving procurement away from Open Web to Private Deals and other platforms means that DPG Media is increasingly less dependent on Google. And perhaps more importantly, clients see that DPG Media’s procurement advice works, thanks in part to the use of evaluations and continuous feedback to get even better results when they come back. It goes without saying that Barbara Hazenberg is proud of the 7 percent growth in revenue. “While maintaining print revenue, we’re managing to increase digital ad revenue. We’re outperforming the market, including global players like YouTube and Facebook. We’re even prouder of our teams, the energy everyone is putting in to achieve great results together with our clients.”

Barbara Hazenberg

(40), director of Domains and Digital Sales

belgium: bringing together two language areas

In Belgium, Digital Sales had a “tough and challenging year,” according to the division’s manager, Sofie Allegaert. “We were able to end the year on a high note thanks to our experts: passionate colleagues who are driven to innovate and always want to go one step further.” 

Last year saw the introduction of broadcasting video on demand: the VTM GO offering supplemented with a portion of delayed viewing that is digitized. Meanwhile, IPB, RTL Belgium’s advertising arm, was integrated into the Digital Sales team. “The French-speaking market is different from the one in Flanders and much more fragmented, so we need to claim our position there much more strongly.” 

After the acquisition of RTL Belgium was greenlit in March 2022, the team started setting up a joint Sales organisation. This presented more than a few challenges: Belgium is a multilingual country, and different brands, languages and cultures had to be brought together. Sales now works in two language areas with a national offering and joint teams.

Digital Sales targets large media agencies and advertisers, but also slightly smaller ones. “Our strength lies in collecting a lot of data so that we can match clients with the right target groups and platforms. Between that, the reliable quality of our ecosystem and the many client visits we make, there’s a lot of potential for further growth.” 

Sofie Allegaert 

(39), manager of Digital Sales


The same goes for Anne Bouwman and her team. “Programmatic Advertising is a complex thing. Fortunately, we have a lot of technical knowledge, which we share with our clients. We also like to dive into the numbers with them to explore how we can improve campaign performance. In that sense, we’re true ‘professional nerds’: we go deep, but we always stay focused on getting the best results for the client, and the highest return. Of course it takes time to sit down with clients face to face, but they see that it actually delivers better results. Our clients really appreciate the way we work.” 

Investing in close relationships with clients is leading to higher turnover while also improving continuity. “We’ve been phasing out Open Web since 2020,” says Anne Bouwman. “Last year, we made very big strides, and we’re on schedule to complete the entire process in the second quarter.”