The media landscape experienced tectonic shifts in the last decade or so, and that affected how businesses operate. Technologies such as social media proliferated the market and gave rise to the platform economy, which fueled great changes in media buying and planning. Modern-day consumers rely increasingly on platforms like Amazon, Facebook and Google to make their buying decisions. I find myself doing it too. Before I buy a product, I will look at its reviews on Amazon or Facebook to see what others think about it. This evolution in consumer behaviour required businesses to adjust as well to keep up.
Platform Economy and Advertising
It is why advertisers focused their attention on the platform economy. If most of my buyers get their information on Instagram, it makes sense that I would use that channel for a big share of my advertising. Left, right and centre, companies are pouring their advertising budgets into the platform economy. A 2018 report revealed that Facebook and Google took up 58% of the digital ad market pie in the US. The estimations showed Amazon controlling slightly more than 8% in 2019. What these numbers indicate is that advertising is leaning towards the platform media economy, and it’s a trend that might continue for a considerable period. This evolution has various implications for businesses and their advertising agencies. Competitors are especially enjoying improved access to new opportunities.
Playing on the Same Level
The biggest impact that this change caused is providing businesses almost the same advantage when it comes to competition. Traditionally, media buying was all about what a company could afford. Enterprises with deep pockets enjoyed a bigger cut of the cake because they had the means to buy. They could invest in in-house attribution models, in-house trading teams and advanced ad technologies. It meant that small enterprises lagged behind, putting them at a significant disadvantage.
The democratisation of media buying and planning is eliminating that. Now, purchasing platform media is not just about money. Companies have to be smart about the type of media in which they invest. This flexibility has allowed competitors to highlight their strengths without focusing too much on the advertising budget. Regardless of the size of an enterprise, advertisers have the same chances to explore and leverage growth opportunities. It doesn’t matter what a company’s in-house capabilities are or what it can afford; the platform economy sets an even playing field for scaling business. Brands now have the power to craft agile strategies that factor in their specialisation. For example, if a company specialises in commerce or social, it can incorporate that element into a particular platform.
Maximising Competitive Advantage
Enterprises should know how to get the most out of the competitive edge that platform media affords them. For one, competitors must be ready to embrace creativity. Different channels come with inbuilt creative formats, whether it’s Instagram and shoppable posts or Facebook and its marketplace. However, each business must provide individual creativity to stand out from the rest. Brands must focus more on how they tell their stories than where they tell them.
Competitors don’t have to splurge money on developing individual platforms. The market is filled with superior standard channels that offer incredible proprietary features. In fact, the platforms that already exist are better than anything a company or advertising agency might come up with. What companies can do is to add a light layer that customises a platform for a specific use such as finance, reporting or campaign management.
Thriving on the platform media landscape is all about how smart an advertiser can be. Media buyers have to know what they are doing, and that requires being well informed. Whether it is attribution or auctions, savviness always does better than ad budget size, any day. Competitors have several platforms that they can customise to meet their requirements. The trick is for businesses to know their objectives and select channels that are best suited to accomplish them. Brands don’t have to deal with limitations such as small ad budgets when buying media.
The platform media economy makes it possible for competitors to access the same resources regardless of how much money each has. It takes smart strategies, creativity and proper use of data insights for small businesses to enjoy the same competitive edge as the big players.