Tom Simpson
Sep 1, 2017

What lies beyond the walled gardens?

TV-like audiences now reside in the palm of your hand, but marketers must build mobile strategies to leverage the app ecosystem and reach the right audiences globally, writes Tom Simpson of AdColony.

What lies beyond the walled gardens?

With 2 billion smartphones across Asia Pacific by 2019 (source: Forrester), agencies and advertisers have not been able to optimise their assets for mobile devices; nor are they able to plan and allocate budgets specifically for mobile media.

Much has been said about the 'walled gardens' of Google and Facebook. Today, more than $106 billion is allocated to the two social-media behemoths in the belief that through these channels marketers are able to expose their brands to the broadest demographic possible. In a way, they have become the modern-day equivalent of “primetime”.

Even with ANA making demands, asking Facebook and Google to allow access to independent audit companies, brands such as P&G halting their digital spend owing to brand safety concerns, YouTube failing to police ad content on its site, and the ever-increasing ad clutter in digital video market, the walled gardens continue to flourish. They're top-of-mind when an advertiser thinks of allocating digital spend.

It is a path of minimal resistance.

The new prime time

It is not that Facebook and Google are irrelevant. Thanks to them, revenues in digital advertising have accelerated, and in many markets, digital is set to overtake traditional media to become the most dominant form of media. Yet, if we could take just a minute to see what lies beyond the walled gardens, there is an interesting trend forming. For every minute spent in social media, a consumer spends two minutes across other apps and websites. 

While Google and Facebook will command lion’s share of digital advertising spend, apps like Shazam, Smule, Pandora, Mobile Legends, Candy Crush and CNN are accounting for a rise in niche audiences which marketers ignore at their own peril.

Today’s prime time is mobile-first, and on-demand. By combining data, creativity and innovation, marketers build new modes of engagement and help them interact with the right kind of audiences.

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall

This is especially true at a time when more and more CMOs are coming under scrutiny from procurement teams and are expected to do more with less.

So, if you are an advertiser and would like to be a part of your consumer’s online experience, would you continue to stay within the confines of the safe and the familiar or would you dare to venture out and find newer and more effective ways to connect with your audiences?

Fortunately, for those seeking, will be rewarded with green and bountiful pastures outside these walled gardens that are ripe for the taking. Premium content and engaging user experiences—whether it is entertainment, gaming, shopping, communication, productivity, so on and so forth, are luring users via mobile-first solutions. These audiences are hungry for more and will inevitably find such environments attractive, engaging and more fulfilling.

But here’s the thing. Let’s just consider for one moment if those demanding the break-down of these garden walls manage to do that; they get access to all information pertaining to transparency, data and metrics, what side of the fence would you like to be on?

Tom Simpson is director of growth and programmatic at AdColony.


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