Why do walled gardens like Google and Facebook continue to reign the digital advertising industry? Well, for one, their tools perform and get results. I’ll give them this much. Maybe it’s also the brands’ prestige that made it easy for marketers to trust Google and Facebook in the frontier days of self-serve digital advertising. But, as the industry scrutinizes their opaque practices, these walled gardens are growing disconnected with enlightened marketers who demand control and transparency into how ad dollars are spent. Independent ad tech stacks are breaking down the walls they’ve built.
What’s beyond the garden walls?
It’s hard to say. Transparency is an afterthought for these tech giants. Any marketer will bemoan the tight control they have over data and ad inventories. They limit the uses of first and third-party data sets. While no one will argue what the broad reach of these tech giants can do for small brands, a plurality of marketers still feel they’re only given fragments of important information. The costs of what they’re actually spending on advertising are securely tucked away in a black box. Maximizing returns on advertising budgets and making sense of campaign results becomes all the more difficult.
Marketers are missing out on the openness and freedom of independent ad tech stacks.
The open ecosystem of independent ad tech platforms gives marketers the power. Marketers can unlock inventory across Google’s exchange as well as the dozens of others available worldwide. Certain platforms allow marketers to import first-party data and customer information for targeting. Some also offer access to troves of third-party data. And, unlike the walled gardens, all aspects of a campaign, including pricing and inventory data, are viewable on the platform or in exportable reports.
Nevertheless, marketers will continue to spend money within the walled gardens. And they should because Google and Facebook do work to a degree. But those who place all their eggs into just these two baskets are leaving lots of opportunity on the table. A savvy marketer will realize the value of exploring independent platforms, where a wealth of ad inventory and more targeting options are available.
Independent ad tech stacks offer the same powerful features at a better value.
Let’s talk about value. Have you ever successfully called Google or Facebook? I’m guessing no. Customer support comes second to them. Independent platforms often provide support options far superior to any I’ve ever witnessed at Facebook and Google. You can deal with real people who will listen, and get your problems resolved. Time is money, and if you’re wasting time, then you’re not getting value. Lack of support will always cost you time and create frustration. Always.
Independent ad tech platforms mean independence for marketers.
Well, of course, marketers should continue to demand an honest view into the inner workings of the tech giant platforms. But they also should find a truly independent ad tech platform that bucks the standards of Google and Facebook. Walled garden platforms are and have been self-serve, and, until recently, this was not the case for programmatic ad buying platforms. Today, however, there are self-serve, fully transparent options that will restore the power to marketers.
By Jeffrey Finch, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Choozle - Digital Marketing Made Easy™. With nearly 20 years in the digital media space his primary focus has been in the areas of digital advertising, search and social media. He has been a digital marketing and strategy consultant for small to medium-sized businesses for over a decade and has owned and operated several online companies