With the Rise of Walled Gardens, What Does the Future Hold for Advertisers?

Lucy Wimmer
25th August 2016 0 Comments

Walled gardens are now back in the spotlight, with many advertisers raising concerns that non-public social platforms are  starting to dominate online advertising. With many privacy-concerned consumers now shifting their interactions to non-public networks, do walled gardens really present more challenges than benefits for advertisers?

Walled gardens are on the rise. With consumers rightly concerned about their data privacy, they’re now less willing to share their opinions in a public forum and shifting their online interactions to non-public networks. Away from the prying eyes of brands, someone can seek  advice on a purchasing decisions within the relative safety of a Facebook friend network. Similarly, someone seeking opinions on two competing software solutions can do so by leveraging their professional network on LinkedIn. As more people make the move to non-public platforms, these walled gardens are becoming increasingly important for advertisers.

With yet another quarter of record-smashing ad revenue figures, Facebook reminded us once again why it’s the king of social. LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network on the Internet, also delivered strong Q2 results, with the company’s Marketing Solutions revenue increasing 29 percent year-over-year to $181 million. Even Snapchat, still a private company, aims to haul in ad revenues up to $1 billion by 2017. With these financials, it’s clear to see why a recent Marketing Week article stated that social networks are set to dominate online advertising.

Furthermore, the influence of social platforms isn’t just limited to their own walled gardens. Through Facebook’s Audience Network, advertisers can extend their campaign beyond the social platform into native mobile apps or mobile web pages. This enables marketers to extend the reach of their Facebook campaigns, delivering personal and relevant ads onto people’s mobile devices.

Social platforms are also pushing their video products to take on TV advertising as well. Facebook has already made significant investments to secure contracts with around 140 media companies and celebrities to create content for Live Videos, while LinkedIn has also introduced Q&A videos from top influencers.

As social platforms become ever more pervasive, some advertisers are starting to feel uneasy about their dominance. Frustrations are arising from the fact that, with a multitude of walled gardens to deal with, it’s increasingly difficult to gain a single customer view and a frictionless digital experience. In addition, there are concerns over lack of choice, neutrality, access to quality data and reporting capabilities.

However, walled gardens also present advertisers with many opportunities. These include better targeting of key audiences, improved user experience and actionable insights. The insights that can be gleaned from non-public networks are invaluable for advertisers, offering them a more in-depth understanding of their audiences so they can create more impactful campaigns. However, due to the increased privacy controls associated with non-public networks, accessing these non-public data sources has been difficult for advertisers to gain – until now. New models are now emerging to enable social networks to provide insights while protecting user data, giving advertisers a window into walled gardens.

To give advertisers access to insights from Facebook, we launched PYLON for Facebook Topic Data. Facebook topic data provides advertisers with the opportunity to glean aggregated and anonymized insights drawn from posts, likes, comments and shares across the entire Facebook platform. Topic data provides advertisers with endless opportunities, including the ability to discover what content is popular with a particular audience, how content is being shared and with which audience segments and what topics are trending to inform campaign design and driving creative.

A successful advertising campaign starts with understanding what your customer wants. This is exactly why advertisers can’t ignore where their customers choose to engage online. As some of the marketers interviewed in the Marketing Week articles put it, they are happy to work within the boundary of a walled garden as long as the platform provides the tools and quality environment to allow them effectively understand and reach their audience. With Facebook topic data, you get both.

If you are interested in learning what type of insights you can gain from Facebook topic data, sign up for our free 14-day trial.

Lucy Wimmer

Written by Lucy Wimmer

Lucy Wimmer is global senior director of marketing and communications at DataSift.

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