Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Why is it important for brands to advertise beyond the major ‘walled gardens’?

The NDA Predictions Hub, in association with Xandr, is dedicated to insight and inspiration from some of our industry’s leading figures to help you make sense of how digital marketing and media will develop in 2022.

The predictions of our experts though may leave readers wondering exactly how they can shape their own marketing strategies to fit the trends identified. So as part our Predictions Hub, Xandr’s own experts will be stepping in to help with the answers.

From addressable to non-addressable identity opportunities, brands and agencies are looking at a wide variety of solutions to drive forward their marketing activity in a privacy-first future. With so much optionality, the decision over who to work with and why can feel overwhelming and the default option to retreat into the seeming security of the ‘walled gardens’ can seem appealing.  

In terms of spending on digital advertising, a small number of companies currently claim a disproportionate share of media budgets. Their domination is due mainly to their size; each has huge numbers of logged-in users for advertisers to target. Across the globe, it’s estimated that anything between 60 – 80% of digital ad spending is still being allocated to these ‘walled gardens’, i.e. closed ecosystems. 

The problem for advertisers is that, in 2022, there is now a sizable disconnect between where brands are advertising and where the customers they want to reach are spending their time. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns had a significant and lasting impact on consumer behaviour. As a result, more people are consuming digital media than ever before from an increased selection of content providers on the open web. 

A further issue is that if every advertiser is competing in the same space, targeting the same datasets, creating any sort of competitive advantage becomes very difficult. The walled gardens, with billions of users, may continue to offer reach and scale, but are increasingly struggling to deliver engagement. What’s more, the tech giants are often restrictive in how they allow brand advertisers to analyse the data generated by their own campaigns.

At Xandr, we’re encouraging advertisers to test the innovative solutions and dynamic formats available via premium publishers on the open web. The open web offers scope for innovation and differentiation and by utilizing the Xandr platform there is an added benefit with ease of data in and out of the platform, as well as transparency. 

At Xandr, we have also seen a significant rise in ‘curated’ marketplaces, affording buyers control over their supply and business operations from the outset, as they work directly with the suppliers of their own choosing.  Whatever direction you choose, whether you build your own ecosystem or take more control over your supply decisioning, transparency will be essential.