3 November 2022 Insights

Owning Your Own Walled Garden After the 3rd Party Cookie Era

walled garden

‍Ever wonder why most conversations about online marketing center around the “Big Three” – Google, Facebook, and Amazon? According to market research company eMarketer, roughly 64% of all digital ad spend goes to Google, Facebook, and Amazon, so it’s no surprise those are often the platforms of focus. You might wonder how these three platforms are able to capture two-thirds of the market in such a competitive industry. The explanation largely boils down to user data and the way these platforms structure their marketing services. Much of that is due to the “walled garden” approach.

What’s a Walled Garden?

A “walled garden” is a closed system that prevents users from leaving. The concept applies to websites and apps that restrict the ability of users to leave and share content. Historically, walled gardens were hosted on company networks. Creating a closed ecosystem that gave owners control over and ownership of their users’ data. In today’s connected world, walled gardens exist in a variety of online environments. Including platforms such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon. These walled gardens are different from traditional ecosystems in that they are virtual, not physical, environments.

How Does A Walled Garden Work?

A Walled garden works by locking the user into the platform’s ecosystem. This self-contained environment prevents interaction with the wider Internet, restricting all data flow to and from the host platform. That’s why Walled gardens are so effective at capturing users. Once a user has been lured into the garden, it’s incredibly difficult to escape. Thanks to the sheer number of features and services that are exclusive to the garden. Let’s look at the example of Facebook. Facebook not only hosts your content, but also owns your news feed, owns your profile, and owns your messaging service. There is no other way to interact with these services, other than through the Facebook platform. Facebook also owns your data, and you have no control over what happens to it.

Why do Walled Gardens Dominate?

The efficacy of Walled Gardens boils down to what has become known as the “Google and Facebook Ad Duopoly”. Thanks to their ability to attract massive user bases, these two tech giants have managed to corner the advertising industry. They have done this by maintaining control of their user data and thereby setting the terms of service for advertisers.  This puts the onus on advertisers to come up with creative strategies to get their advertisements in front of the right audience. To make things even more challenging, both Google and Facebook have the ability to change their algorithms as often as they see fit.

The Google and Facebook Ad Duopoly

This duopoly has captured an overwhelming amount of the digital market because advertisers are required to use their services. Google and Facebook host the majority of the world’s online content and therefore own the data collected from that content. This data is then used to place the user in “ad buckets” based on their browsing history. Which then shows them ads related to those buckets. However, this data can also be used to show users ads related to their online social activities. Such as their likes, interests, and social connections. This is known as “contextual” advertising, and it allows advertisers to reach a wide audience. While targeting the right people based on their browsing and social history. This has proven to be an extremely effective advertising model. It has allowed Google and Facebook to gobble up the majority of the digital ad market share.

Why do you need your own Walled Garden?

The problem with relying only on Google and Facebook Ads is that you don’t have control over how your data is used. And in the post, 3rd party cookie era their advertising platforms will be less effective. These platforms also have the ability to change their algorithms as often as they see fit. This means that one week you could be getting phenomenal results from your ads and the next week you’ve got nothing. Having your own Walled Garden is the best way to combat these issues. As you have full control over the environment and can easily change it when needed. You also have complete control over your data and can decide what happens to it. Your own Walled Garden allows you to make your own advanced audiences and retarget users who have already engaged with your brand in any advertising platform or martech tool.

If you want to know more about how to use your own data in the best way talk with our expert

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