For us SEO and content marketing professionals, it’s no secret that Google and Facebook own a significant share of ad-spend dollars. What is surprising is just how much they own — reportedly half of all ad revenue, globally. With that knowledge, the next obvious question for brands and marketers is: What to do next? Here’s our take.
Google and Facebook Marketing Under the Spotlight
Recently the news site Daily Caller picked up the story from the marketing data sector:
The two tech giants dwarf all other corporations in the industry with Google and Facebook respectively making $80.8 billion and $36.3 billion in 2017. Besides three other tech conglomerates based in China [Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent], the next 12 companies — which includes Amazon, Microsoft, Verizon, Pandora, Twitter, Snapchat, and Yelp — bring in roughly half of what Google collects in ad revenue annually, reports Axios. Combined, the two tech companies account for 90% of the growth in new ad revenue.
As various industries — tech, journalism, business, and marketing — have learned about what’s become known as the ad-spend “duopoly,” there’s been pushback. A journalism protest movement has even sprung up.
Digging Into the Numbers
That’s perhaps understandable, considering the numbers. According to Axios, Google’s ad revenue is on par with all print ad revenue — globally. Meanwhile, Facebook’s has been compared to all radio ad revenue globally.
Digital Content Next broke down the numbers further. Citing regulatory filings, DCN says Google’s quarterly revenue grew $1.4 billion, and Facebook’s grew $1 billion from Q1 2015 to Q1 2016. For everyone else, growth was $300 million. That’s competition for $300 million out of a pie of $2.7 billion, mind you.
What Should Marketers Do
Given this situation, just what should us marketers be doing? Staying grounded, for starters. We have to work within the advertising environment as it is, and not as we’d wish it to be. Thus, marketers ignore Facebook’s self-contained ad platform and Google’s regular advertiser edicts at their peril. These guys are simply too big to be ignored.
Moreover, it’s not enough to include Google and Facebook as an afterthought in your marketing strategy; it’s important to campaign effectively on these platforms. The reason is twofold: coverage for these two platforms is huge, and competition for the best-performing advertising assets is going to be fierce. So here, the saying, “Anything worth doing is worth doing right,” holds true — even if we’re all forced into “doing” it by necessity.
However, I wouldn’t discount opportunities among DCN’s “everyone else” ad platform category. Yahoo, Microsoft, LinkedIn, IAC, Verizon, Amazon, Pandora, Twitter, Yelp, Snapchat, Sina, Sohu, Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent — there’s certainly opportunity here under the right circumstances. In choosing to advertise on these platforms, marketers may be looking at an advantageously less competitive space for marketers and brands, and an opportunity to reach specific niche audiences rather than the global mass market.
The market share domination of big companies is not a new story in the marketing world. It’s something we’ve had to deal with in one way or another for decades. The Facebook–Google duopoly is just the latest iteration. Those who came before were able to convert and sell, capture audiences, and grow businesses — provided they adapted to the challenges and opportunities of the day. That’s our same challenge and opportunity today.