Modern media vendors have changed the marketing landscape forever.
In the past, marketers struggled to reach niche audiences and concretely quantify the impact of their marketing campaigns. But, through the power of rich targeting data offered by Facebook and Google, marketers were provided a unique solution to this problem. Now, marketers are able to pinpoint exactly who they’d like to reach via these companies, and they can easily calculate their marketing ROI through these advertising channels as a result.
This has fueled the growth of companies like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn – and further cemented their central role in the world of marketing. Unfortunately, their influence has left marketers in a bind multiple times.
Most recently, Facebook experienced six to seven hours of downtime worldwide, resulting in Facebook losing $100 million in online advertising sales. The loss wasn’t only Facebook’s, however. The New York Times reported that one business’s daily revenue dipped by 70% due to the outage, while another experienced a 30% dip in sales.
This brings an interesting question: Are marketers too dependent on a few select media vendors?
There Are Downsides to the Dominance of Giant Media Vendors
October 2021 isn’t the first time brands have had to pause parts of their digital marketing investment with little to no planning. In March 2019, Facebook went down for an entire day without warning. In late 2020, Google announced that they’d retire third-party cookies, prompting marketers to scramble to refine their marketing strategy across search, display, video, Google shopping, and more. Additionally, Google Ads has had intermittent downtimes in several localities throughout 2021.
It’s also worth addressing that a growing number of brands are ready to distance themselves from platforms like Facebook. For example, in June 2020, brands like REI and Eddie Bauer pulled all of their ad spend from Facebook to join the #stophateforprofit movement. For many participants, this was an excellent decision from both an ethical and branding perspective.
However, no matter what prompts a business to divert their spending away from Facebook, those decisions come at a cost. When marketers need to turn their strategy on a dime, they often don’t have the information necessary to confidently reallocate their spend. Most channels, whether they’re online or offline, simply do not provide the same visibility into performance.
Staying true to your business’s ethics – or, simply weathering the storm caused by a massive platform’s mistakes – shouldn’t be a high-stakes decision. To avoid becoming overly dependent on these media vendors, marketers need to invest in data-driven marketing measurement. If you could get Facebook or Google-quality insights and performance from every one of your marketing channels, you’d be on the path to making better data driven decisions with your media buys.
How Technology Can Help Bridge the Gap
In today’s business environment, data is central to success. Media vendors like Facebook have made billions from making targeting data incredibly accessible to marketers and have set an unspoken standard that marketers need to rely on vendors to give them data. However, if your brand wants the freedom to become independent from these giants, you need to take measurement into your own hands.
Think of it this way: If Facebook went offline for a week tomorrow, which channel(s) should you divert your marketing spend into? For many, this question doesn’t have a clear answer.
Investing in omnichannel marketing measurement and optimization is crucial to answering that question. Marketers need an unbiased agnostic approach to measurement – no matter what your media mix is, you should be able to measure and quantify the impact of each channel, vendor and tactic on your larger strategy.
Marketing Evolution can help with exactly that. By collecting media investment data across all of your marketing channels, our solution can help you create scenarios based on your desired outcomes. For example, if you’d like to maximize revenue, you could simply navigate to the solution’s Scenario Planner, lock in $0 for Facebook spend, and ask the platform to run a scenario based on those parameters. In a few minutes, you’d have a summary of your ideal marketing mix – sans Facebook.
The upside of putting every marketing channel on a more equitable playing field can even go beyond revenue. For example, you may discover that cutting your Facebook budget in half and reinvesting that amount into new channels, vendors or tactics through incrementality testing will allow you to access new audiences, improving your brand health and long-term revenue forecast.
It’s difficult to imagine a successful marketing plan today that doesn’t include media platforms like Facebook or Google. But before the 2010s, businesses succeeded with minimal – or even zero – reliance on these marketing channels. The way to gain independence from these vendors lies in getting the highest quality insights from every marketing channel.
Marketing Evolution provides its customers the right technology to expand their reach beyond conventional digital channels. There’s no need to take immediate action, either – you could move $10,000 away from Facebook every week, for example, until you’ve gained the insights necessary to determine whether you need Facebook – or if Facebook just needs you.
Don’t wait for a tipping point where outages, regulation, or ethics force your hand. If you act proactively, you’ll be able to adapt to any disruption that the media industry sends your way.