The way large online platforms, such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon (GAFAs), restrict advertisers from using their data on the platforms is called “walled gardens”. In lieu thereof, around two-thirds of marketing executives complain that walled gardens do not provide enough information to measure campaigns effectively.
This is a real obstacle to data analysis and enterprise strategy development, according to a study of Sizmek that sheds light on the role of walled gardens and the associated problems for advertisers.
The survey, which looked at 500 decision-making brand marketers in Europe and the US, also found that two-thirds of marketers believe walled gardens are a major barrier to improving first-party data. In addition, 65% said they did not get enough insight to make comparisons with other channels or partners. Without access to cross-website performance data, it's difficult for advertisers to control advertising material and not to overexpose to audiences, not to mention compromising return on investment (ROI).
Therefore, many marketers want more and better insights into their data. For 83% of respondents, this has a high or very high priority over the next 12 months. When asked what insights marketing leaders are most concerned with, "understanding audience behavior" was rated as the most valuable (92%), followed by insights that influence and optimize the overall strategy" (88%) as well as factors that guarantee "viewability" (87%).
The GDPR is another aspect that drives the pursuit of data ownership: 77% of marketers expect their target audience approach and objective third-party measurement to be limited by the new regulation. To improve the ROI of their digital marketing spending, marketers are looking for integrated Data Management Platforms (DMP) and Demand Side Platform (DSP) systems, with three quarters of them classifying integrated technologies as either important or a high priority for the coming year. Almost nine out of ten marketers (88%) say they want to own the data generated from their campaigns. An Internet without walled gardens would therefore be the solution if advertisers could seamlessly integrate data from all platforms.
For some digital marketers, walled gardens have no chance of survival in the long term, as their insularity makes them too dodgy and simple-minded to withstand the trend for data-hungry and networking-talented language assistants. However, it is probably utopian for the foreseeable future that corporations such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon will ever fully make their data available for integration into other platforms. Hence, advertisers must develop strategies that drive successful campaigns outside the walled gardens, for instance, rely on technology providers who operate independently and really provide transparency. The chosen partners should be able to provide insights on campaigns and should also have some understanding of the brand and its target groups.
Only this way can campaigns be optimized content-wise: for example, if advertisers book ads in publisher-owned content videos that are mobile-optimized and content-appropriate they have some advantages, such as high advertising impact, brand safety, measurable performance, and high-quality campaign data, which could serve then to evaluate and optimize future campaigns and align with ongoing campaigns in other channels.