With over 90 major advertisers and counts of announcing dumping plans facebook, an important question remains: where will brands go to meet their digital marketing needs?
The reason for this gap is obvious: brands want to distance themselves from third-party business practices that don’t align with their values. In particular, they are disappointed that even some members of Congress call Facebook “inadequate” an approach to enforcing community standards that allows the epidemic of paid political disinformation and hate speech to persist on a user-driven platform.
However with Google, Facebook and Amazon representing just under 70% of global digital ad revenueA net lead over the tech giants is easier said than done. Advertisers, like anyone facing a rift, need to look inside. After all, they don’t want to make the same mistakes and can’t just dump their newly freed ad dollars on a new social media ad platform where conflicts like this could easily follow.
With introspection, advertisers will see that this is more than just a war on misinformation and hate speech. A data war ensues, forcing companies to diversify their data sources. As brands compete with each other to understand the needs and preferences of today’s consumers, consumers are simultaneously responding with more secure protection of their online data,
To win this war, brands must restore data autonomy and infuse their digital media strategy with more data. But they cannot do it alone, and they cannot do it within the existing system.
Time to wave coherent data
Whether Facebook is adjusting its community standards to appease anxious advertisers remains to be seen. But in the meantime, as advertisers are walking out the door, it’s worth noting that Facebook’s dependence on online data may soon become obsolete anyway.
One of the key differentiators for the Facebook ad platform is its ability to help level the playing field for small brands by targeting the right audience. But the platform primarily relies on online audience behavior. The next wave of data-driven marketing must use tools that combine proprietary data and qualified third-party data to provide a holistic view of customer behavior, both online and offline.
Offline datasets, which include location information, interactions, purchase history, contact information, and demographics, are highlights in the next wave of digital media as they enable brands to shape a more human perspective on consumer data and create meaningful marketing moments. For example, location information, an extremely powerful tool that is currently helping brands turn around during COVID-19 crashes and even public health protection, can lead personalized, engaging marketing campaigns with huge ROI.
Leading integrated data providers manage extremely rich datasets that increase in value on a daily basis as consistent tracking results in higher quality data. Such powerful and rich data stacks allow visitors to learn about brands based on a specific location after the ad interacts on any device, without requiring the marketing team to guess. Brands can pinpoint which messages resonate with which segments of their audience and at what time. This precision ultimately helps them create the right message for the target consumer and deliver it at the right time.
Camping battle orders
Brands want to free Facebook, but where will they go next? How do they achieve data autonomy and do their best for digital marketing? For the boycott movement to be successful, a revolution in the digital marketplace is needed.
The newly created system must be organized outside the ownership of any one technology conglomerate. Otherwise, advertisers will not own the data they need to attract new audiences. Or they will again mix with similar paid political disinformation and hate speech on custom platforms, sending them back into the arms of Facebook.
Rather than relying on a single, centralized social media platform, transparent media partners and publishers should come together in a common central system that takes a multi-channel approach to building the same (LAL) audience. LAL puts advertisers in front of new audiences by finding users who, although they may not be familiar with their brand, are very similar to the personas of their current customers’ buyers. LAL for each advertiser will be constantly tested and improved to keep pace with the rapidly changing market.
Facebook currently operates on the LAL model, but it is almost exclusively generated by the online data of their users. The next step is to extend this model and add offline and third party data to the company’s own data, which puts it ahead of LAL for a range of media partners and platforms. This will help build a core conversion audience while constantly scaling new LALs for each brand.
Such a system will require collaboration, involving many players in a cooperative style. For example, to get it off the ground, it would be helpful if the 20 or so big brands boycotting Facebook invested some of their recently freed ad dollars to create a collaborative collaboration between data and publishers.
Once the structure of the advertiser is established, the cooperative will need to identify distribution partners such as news sites, blogs, apps, podcasts, and social media. The cooperative would negotiate a performance-based publisher relationship for each player, effectively increasing content monetization for publishers’ content channels.
Rethinking the digital media landscape
It would be a transformational movement, driving data autonomy brands and driving customer engagement across the entire media platform network, not just one platform. The raw data of each advertiser, which they have already shared with Facebook, will be analyzed to isolate data overlaps in collaboration. This would, in effect, lay the foundation for building a core conversation audience, helping each advertiser to use the new LALs.
Co-op brand advertising will have access to richer, more reliable consumer information than Facebook ever could offer, resulting in a higher ROI at $ 336 billion in digital ad spend per year.
Most importantly, it will help brands navigate their digital marketing efforts in the future and give them more freedom to choose where their ad money is spent.
This is how the war is won.