David vs. Goliath: How to Compete with Ad Tech Giants

Emarketer reports that in 2019 worldwide digital ad spending will rise by 17.6% to $333.25 billion. The triopoly of Facebook, Google, and Amazon will eat up more than 60% of that market. Facebook takes the silver medal with 19.5% of worldwide ad spending, while Google adds another gold to its collection with 31.1% of worldwide ad spending.

The tech giants still rule supreme, and yet there are many billions left over for everyone else, including the would-be giants, such as Verizon, AT&T, Disney, and now the soon-to-be-minted ViacomCBS. The key to success for the rest of us is to offer products and services that the giants can’t: specialized ad units, customized features, and even good old fashioned customer service can go a long way.

Another way to challenge the giants is to stick to your value proposition. Scandals like Cambridge Analytica provide openings and give advertisers reason to look for new and perhaps more trustworthy partners. For example, the recent push for privacy led to more dollars flowing into contextual advertising– advertising to consumers who visit specific web pages based only on the content of those pages, not any information about the user. There’s been a similar push for advertising venues that don’t depend on cookies, such as in-app mobile ads.

How do you demonstrate transparency? In what ways can you differentiate your supply chain or your processes? How do you handle privacy issues and the growing list of new regulations? Answers to these questions will form the core of your argument and they can differentiate you in this rapidly changing marketplace.

The triopoly isn’t going anywhere. That doesn’t mean smaller, more nimble offerings can’t succeed. There are many digital ad dollars to go around. To get your share, find your niche, stick to your value proposition, and be willing to adapt. That’s what David did against Goliath and things turned out alright for him.