If You Can't Beat Them: Surrender?

The largest ad buyer in the world, GroupM, says that more than half (or about $110.1 billion) of U.S. ad spending this year in the U.S. will go to digital platforms. The lion’s share is headed for Google, Facebook and Amazon at the expense of traditional media such as newspapers, local television, magazines, and national TV advertising -- which is forecast to drop 7.9% to $39.5 billion. Three years ago, digital advertising accounted for just one-third of all U.S. ad spending.

Says the Wall Street Journal: “Online ads can be cheaper than those placed on other media platforms and they allow marketers to better target and measure the performance of their ads. These advantages have become ever more important during the pandemic as businesses cut ad budgets and consumers spend more of their time and dollars online.”

Meanwhile, a 400-plus-page report, written by the majority staff of the Democratic members of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, says that Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google engage in a range of anti-competitive behaviors, and U.S. antitrust laws need an overhaul to allow for more competition in the U.S. internet economy.The report recommends creating new laws that would potentially break up tech companies and make it harder for them to pursue acquisitions (and/or stricter legislation to rein in the money-making machines).



So, the bottom line -- as I read it -- is that advertisers don’t really care that each time they buy an ad on one of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust’s offending platforms, they are directly funding anti-competitive behavior, and helping to pay for the spread of opinions and perspectives that rip the fabric of our nation. All because these FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google) companies “better target and measure the performance of their ads.” 

Because these walled gardens do not share user data with advertisers, it is nearly impossible to determine if some (or all) of those clicks were legitimate people. It seems that on a monthly basis Facebook reveals some new “mistake” that it has been making calculating the ROI of ads on its colossal platform. Google, meanwhile, has the ability to make you simply disappear off the first page of its search results if you look at them the wrong way.  It’s not exactly a fair fight unless you have billions of spend with which to negotiate.  A Facebook “boycott” in the summer hurt the company about as much as throwing darts at Zuck’s college yearbook photo.

Clearly the benefits of working with the FANG companies outweigh the downsides if your only measure of success is “better target(ing) and measure(ment of) the performance of (your) ads.” 

If I am an agency, I can ride that horse right into client budget meetings assured of a profitable outcome.

We are at an inflection point in this country where we have the opportunity to move away from entrenched positions reflective of who sits in the Oval Office and get back to things like truth, compassion, mutual regard and honor. Which side of history will you fall on if you ignore the misadventures of your digital partners simply to get the best deal (or more conversions)? 

Do you want to be part of the solution or part of the problem?

Billions rest on your decision. 

1 comment about "If You Can't Beat Them: Surrender?".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, December 4, 2020 at 3:06 p.m.

    New song: Bye Bye American pie. Those were the days capitalism died. 3 cheers for autocracy.

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