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March 14, 2019

Brands Seek Data Control as Frustration Grows with “Walled Garden” Ad Platforms

"Black box" approach to KPIs no longer cuts the mustard, survey shows

By CBR Staff Writer

Brands are increasingly looking to prioritise generating and securing their own customer data, and are chafing at their reliance on opaque third-party advertising platforms like Facebook and Google, a major Adobe marketing report showed today.

The Digital Trends Report is based in a survey of 13,000 marketing, creative and technology professionals around the world. Nearly half (44 percent) of respondents cite “walled garden” data silos as their “number one headache”.

(This refers to external advertising platforms that require brands to relinquish control over their data. Brands are looking to break away from this model so they can deliver more personalised customer experiences across channels, Adobe says).

The company, which provides a wide range of marketing tools via its Marketing Cloud offering, is making a major play for improved transparency in ad spending; encouraging companies to bring demand-side platforms and data monitoring back in-house, rather than use fully outsourced programmatic advertising models.

Brands Seeking Control over Data

Brands are urgently pushing to gain more control over their data and become customer experience (CX) leaders in their own right as a result, the survey found.

“Nearly two-thirds (63%) of IT professionals have made it a priority to improve their data collection capabilities and centralise all the information they collect onto a single platform.  For their part, more than half of marketers are prioritising the better use of data for more effective audience segmentation and targeting.”

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The report came a day after the UK government called on the competition watchdog to launch an inquiry into the UK’s digital ad market, amid concerns over the Facebook-Google digital advertising duopoly.

That call comes as industry analyst WARC in its Global Advertising Trends Report, released last month, suggests that Google and Facebook’s share of the global online ad market will grow to 61.4 percent in 2019.

That’s up from 56.4 percent in 2018 and would mean the two generate some $176.4 billion in ad revenues this year alone.

Adobe Marketing Survey: “Black Box” No Longer Good Enough

Dominant advertising platform providers like Facebook and Google typically don’t allow customers to export any data; just aggregated metrics that they measured.

This approach, Adobe’s survey suggests, is rapidly going out of favour. (“Large advertising platforms thrive by keeping their data opaque to the outside world” the company said in an earlier blog, saying there is a “power shift” happening).

John Watton, senior marketing director from Adobe said today: “This year’s research shows us that brands truly appreciate the importance of control when it comes to managing data, not just to operate more responsibly, but also to differentiate themselves and get closer to customers.”

He added: “There is enormous potential in advanced segmentation methods and technologies like AI, which help companies connect with people at the individual level in real-time, but it takes a robust data foundation supporting these systems for them to add real value. Marketers and IT teams alike understand this and are taking on a more unified approach to data to make the most of their technology investment.”


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