Given the data above, I think it’s fair to say that Alphabet and Facebook as media companies are dominating the digital advertising space. However, if you look only at their ad technology assets, Google is flat year-on-year (with declining margins) and Facebook has effectively exited the ad tech space.
I believe we are on the verge of a renaissance in ad technology, and this current phase – a cull, if you will – is necessary for us to get from here to there. Let’s be clear: this cull is not because Google and Facebook have won in ad:tech! Quite the contrary. It’s because today, if you’re a marketer and you want results, you usually get a better outcome buying inventory on Facebook than you do buying inventory on the open internet. However, we’ve seen Criteo demonstrate that through thoughtful inventory curation, the application of machine learning, and a focus on e-commerce, you can get outstanding results on the open internet. It’s not easy, but it’s possible.
The next cycle of ad technology will be based on a few key elements: