Should we worry?
Everybody in digital marketing has heard - or participated in - a discussion about Google and Facebook swallowing the Programmatic Advertising sector. Facebook has it’s obvious own/exclusive inventory and Google's Double Click Bid Manager (DBM) tries to offer the greatest amount of inventory by simply integrating with a lot of available inventory sources (a recent integration with Out Of Home Programmatic supplier is a perfect example of this strategy). So; as an owner of a Programmatic Advertising company I ask myself, are we in danger? Will big media agencies (our clients) – when it comes to programmatic advertising – only deal with Google and Facebook in, let’s say, 10 years? Our professional perspective? No.
We (Targetoo) work for several media agencies around the world. Often we get the question; what is your added value in comparison to Google’s Double Click Bid Manager (DBM)? It’s a relevant question. In some cases, we can not offer added value (apart from delivering services through DBM for a client who wishes to use DBM – utilizing our knowledge). Over the years Google's Programmatic Advertising Infrastructure has initiated and completed a lot of integrations with well-known inventory and data sources (Adexchanges/SSP's/DMP's). As of today, I can acknowledge the fact that – when it comes to the amount of global inventory – Google is getting ahead.
Facebook is a different story. We know media agencies who have shifted their programmatic buying almost entirely to Facebook's Ads Manager. It appears a logical choice because everybody is one Facebook right? Well, not entirely. For starters; although results of research differ, it’s fair to state that, globally, on average, a person spends 22 minutes on Facebook per day. Other research shows that, on average, a person spends 118 minutes a day online. Furthermore, 81% of this time is spent on a mobile device and only 19% on a desktop or laptop.
This means that, although time spent on Facebook is far bigger than any other publisher (youtube comes second), it’s still not even near the time spent on all other publishers. And here’s the thing, more people access the ‘general’ internet (and it’s publishers) than they do Facebook.
The point is that, although Facebook is immensely important in day-to-day online marketing, the reach a strong Demand Side Platform (DSP) can offer is still much larger and more diverse. Secondarily it’s worth mentioning that average CPM’s are relatively high for Facebook inventory. Because of this, we see that allocating large amounts of the client's budget to social, is not the way to go. It’s quantity and targeting options definitely make it an essential online marketing tool to have in your programmatic display arsenal. But available impressions in/on all other publishers (general internet) are inherently cheaper and available in much bigger numbers (although some might say you can't compare the two). So in summary; pricing for Facebook Advertising is relatively high and reach is limited (how immense it may be).
Back to Google; with DBM you can serve ads on hundreds of thousands of apps and websites (desktop or mobile). One might say that by using Googles’ DBM and Facebooks' Ads Manager, you can reach the biggest part of the world’s inventory. This is correct. However, and here it is, the success of a programmatic display advertising campaign most often lies in local expertise and campaign execution based on that expertise. Also, DBM does not allow geo-fences to be smaller than 1 mile. A dedicated Mobile DSP does (as small as 10 meters).
The success of a programmatic display advertising campaign most often lies in local expertise and campaign execution based on that expertise.
Local integrations with local inventory sources. Local (premium) publishers. Local advertising laws. Brand safety. The speed of service. General knowledge. Either using DBM or another Programmatic Buying Platforms; local knowledge is key. And being that local integrations (Adexchanges/SSP's/DMP's) are not something Google is in front of, a local specialist can jump in this gap by offering smart, fast and simple integration services.
Campaign objectives are so diverse that there is no ‘one’ platform that suits all desires. There will probably never be one, and there will always be room for the specialized companies that focus on a specific discipline, a local market or just have outstanding service. So to all the small tech vendors that are out there and feeling the heat of Facebook and Google, I say this: Facebook only sells/distributes its own inventory. Although this inventory is huge, it’s still just Facebook inventory, let alone it’s very pricey. Google can never offer better local expertise and tech than existing specialists can. Campaign strategies are different for every client/brand, every location has it’s own technical- and campaign possibilities. There will always be room for the fast moving, smart operating, (relatively) small Programmatic Specialists. Simply because successful campaigns need them.