Concerns Grow Over Facebook, Google Duopoly as Marketers Prioritize Data Transparency

Share this:

New digital regulations like the GDPR are changing how marketers collect and evaluate data. They’re also changing the way marketers think about location data, amplifying demand for transparency and access to alternative sources, according to a new report commissioned by Factual and conducted by Lawless Research.

Surveying 700 marketers from brands and agencies in March and April of this year, Lawless Research found that transparency and access to alternative data sources are two of the most important features marketers are looking for right now. Ninety-five percent of marketers say transparency is an accurate indicator of data quality, and 92% say they have concerns about the advertising duopoly of Facebook and Google.

That could spell trouble for the digital advertising giants.

Google and Facebook accounted for 63% of U.S. digital ad revenue last year, but their dominance could be undercut as marketers recognize the need for different options. Seventy-two percent of marketers in Factual’s survey say they are seeking alternatives to Facebook and Google, in part because those technology platforms treat data like walled gardens.

“It’s clear that the impact of the duopoly is real and growing. The fact that 71% of marketers are already seeking alternatives to the duopoly for online advertising today is noteworthy, especially in light of the GDPR,” says Brian Czarny, CMO at Factual. “It remains to be seen how innovation will unfold outside the duopoly as a result of the regulation, but what we do know is data is critical to innovation, and Google and Facebook are heightening their walls.”

Czarny sees brands looking for alternative data sources that are reliable and accountable, pointing to an opening in the marketplace. He believes that marketers can create equally strong—or even stronger—audience segments using data from independent data sources, as opposed to relying on Facebook and Google exclusively.

“This allows marketers to achieve the ideal advertising trifecta—right person, right place, right time,” Czarny says.

Factual’s survey also examines how brands and agencies are incorporating location data into their marketing strategies, finding that almost two-thirds of brand marketers are now using location-based data for targeting ads and promotions, and half are using it for location-based offers. Seventy-seven percent of marketers say location data gives them deeper knowledge of their customers’ needs and interests, and 74% say it improves the return-on-investment for their marketing and ad campaigns.

These survey results validate anecdotal reports from marketers. For too long, Czarny says, brands have overlooked location data when creating personalized experiences.

“Marketers leveraging location data at every opportunity better understand customers, create more personalized engagement, and build better products,” he says. “Bottom line—positive customer experience leads to more powerful marketing.”

The report also validates the extent to which personalization has become an indispensable component of marketing. Eighty-two percent of mobile marketers now use location-based data to personalize the customer experience, and 85% plan to do so within the next 12 months.

As far as the consumer’s perspective goes, Factual’s survey found that people are more inclined to buy products when the experience is tailored to their preferences. And now that consumers are growing accustomed to personalized experiences, many grow frustrated by experiences that don’t reflect their individual preferences.

Factual found that 91% of marketers that personalize ads with location data have an increased understanding of audiences, 84% have more effective campaigns, and 62% have more accurate targeting.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.