[Update Jan 15, 2018: I have a separate post about Facebook’s news feed algortihm change here]

Data will drive the most important decisions marketers will make in 2018 – to target your actions and measure the impact.  As consumers, more of the transactions that comprise our consumption  – and define our online personas – will be driven and known by the platforms of just a few players.

Yet the opacity of Google, Facebook, and Amazon threatens to raise a wall between marketers and their customers, with marketers accepting lower granularity of reporting on user data and behavior, inhibiting cross-channel optimization and personalization.

The data dominance of US consumers changed seismically in 2017, with Amazon receiving 44% of all of the US retail transactions in 2017.  It gets worse: Over 50% of product searches now begin on Amazon…keep in mind that Product Listing ads represent 52% of paid search clicks on Google.  Such consumer behavior is now a data firehose that marketers wish to rent.

The number of devices per person, including smart TVs and wearables, will grow to more than six by 2020, fueled in large measure by Google and Amazon. This will have a fundamental impact on the ability of marketers to access new consumers or to locate existing ones in real time.

How should marketers profit from Google, Facebook, and Amazon, while they compete with each other?  Rise above the fray, and focus on control of your marketing data.

Those with the largest budgets will be able to build content outposts and enough compelling value to swim upstream in the consumer journey and at least gain parity with the these scaled digital titans.  Spending alone will not be enough: while budgets recede for some marketers (from  a peak of 12.1% of company revenue in 2016 to 11.3% in 2017 – Gartner CMO Spend survey 2017-2018) smart technology and campaign strategies are required for all.

Marketing leaders must invest in the technology to capture customer identity, building value for prospects and keeping loyals close at hand.  With the right technology, new campaign tactics will support these exchanges and enable brands to develop proprietary customer intelligence that is actionable across paid, earned and owned channels, not just the walled gardens.

Gartner clients can explore these recommendations in full in my note, Control Your Marketing Data — or Google, Facebook and Amazon Will


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