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The shifting sands of the`people-based’ industry

  • Jed Mole

    Jed Mole

Created at March 30th, 2015

The shifting sands of the`people-based’ industry

There has been a lot of talk recently around how the very fragmented digital marketing industry is moving towards consolidation. Recent research from Gartner predicts that marketing tech, ad tech and CRM will naturally come together.

As Gartner suggests, the link to CRM is getting stronger so People-based advertising is what could shake-up this ecosystem.

Facebook has re-launched Atlas with real consumer at the very core. Google has been rumoured for quite some time to be testing new ways to track consumers across devices – although you may wonder whether pressure from regulators will allow that.

Laterally, diversification in the industry has also been occurring for companies traditionally functioning around cookies. Think of Criteo and AdRoll acquisitions of email enterprises to leverage the power of first-party data and CRM enhancing their technologies towards consumers – not proxies.

But there is yet another force driving this industry towards real people: convergence of the online and offline world. Advertisers need to understand what online ad campaigns are driving a consumer to purchase in-store.

You may think this is only relevant to certain restricted verticals but consider this: the IAB recognises that with a 16.1% share the CPG vertical currently accounts for the largest spend in terms of online advertising; with Retail owning the greatest year-on-year comparison in terms of internet ad revenues.

The players are moving their chess pieces.  In the last 12 months the pace of change in the industry has been signified by a number of notable acquisitions.

Google acquired Adometry for cross-channel attribution. Oracle bought Datalogix as on/offline measurement adding it to their marketing cloud (interestingly Datalogix was eyed not just by Nielsen to enhance their measurement capabilities, but also by Facebook). Acxiom, at the forefront of connectivity and measurement, acquired LiveRamp last year and has major EU deal with the Carrefour retail group to allow effective close-loop measurement. Finally Nielsen has recently announced the acquisition of data platform eXelate – which will strengthen Nielsen`s measurement proposition.

Perhaps it could be Amazon next, partnering with retailers to launch a digital advertising solution that takes advantage of a connected online and offline ecosystem to drive conversion?

The boundaries of this ecosystem are blurred with many diverse companies operating: large media owners, marketing hubs and tech vendors. A recent analysis of the Marketing Technology landscape by showed 947 companies in January 2014 and 1876 in January 2015. Even taking holding companies into account, it would seem that the rate of innovation is exceeding that of consolidation.

Two things seem likely to occur in the people-based industry: 1. increased competition between the players and 2. because of the still growing number of companies, platforms, tools, components etc. the need for connectivity across them.

Alex Tonello – Account Executive, Acxiom