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Walled Gardens Are Winning The Pandemic & Brands Need to Be Equipped, 4C’s Goldman

CHICAGO – If the coronavirus pandemic was killing businesses, nobody told the big tech platforms.

In Q1 results posted this week, Facebook reported returning “stability” in advertising revenue after an initial steep March decline, whilst Alphabet reported a March slowdown but nevertheless a 10% growth in ad revenue year-on-year.

For Aaron Goldman, what’s worrisome is that brands may not be equipped. In this video interview with Beet.TV, the CMO of 4C Insights – a marketing tech platform enabling advertising across TV, digital, social, and mobile – says the big platforms may soon be the only game in town.

Goldman’s 4C Insights is one of the software vendors aiming to unite advertisers’ oversight of ad campaigns across the walled gardens of TV and digital.

Gravitational pull

“Closed ecosystems are consolidating power during the pandemic,” he says. “Major platforms that have the controlled access so that consumers have to enter into the environment.

“Amazon with commerce and AWS are essential right now. Google with Meets and even Classroom (is) picking up additional steam. Even Facebook, I just bought a Portal for my family to help with a video chatting. You’re starting to see their tentacles expand into additional places.

“Pinterest searches are up 55%, new boards are up to 45%. If you look at Twitter, they’ve been saying that daily active users are up 23% in the first quarter. Even Snap recently came out with earnings and their advertising revenue was up 44%.”

And Goldman says even TV is following the same pattern, as major broadcast platforms grow their audience targeting capabilities, rolled up after a series of acquisitions that have given media corporations distinct advantages.

Biggest beneficiaries

Time spent with media is booming. In a new report, eMarketer forecasts the average time US consumers spend with media will rise by more than 1 hour per day this year, to 13 hours, 35 minutes.

The pandemic has reversed the decline of TV viewership, whilst smartphone and video use are growing, but music and podcast use is coming under pressure from reduced consumer mobility.

For Goldman, the problem isn’t so much that the tech majors are gobbling the lion’s share. Rather, it is that their advertising tools are largely closed ecosystems that don’t allow ad buyers to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns across the entirety of media.

Goldman says stats show 81% of time spent in digital media is with the major platforms, leaving 19% occurring elsewhere.

Cross-channel lens

“We’re seeing people anchor in systems and platforms that can address the closed ecosystems,” Goldman observes. “(But) you don’t need a DSP as the focal point of your (advertising tech) stack that’s blending in data into rolled-up CPMs.

“Now’s the time where you need transparency, you need to have control, you need to know how each dollar that you’re spending is moving into market, and you need to have the ability to take data and insights from one platform and on into the next.”

4C Insights is one of the software vendors aiming to unite advertisers’ oversight of ad campaigns across the walled gardens of TV and digital.

Its Scope self-service platform is integrated with the closed ecosystems.

This video is part of a series titled Navigating Accelerated Change, presented by Transunion. For more videos, please visit this page.