Taming the Titans

Be afraid. Be very afraid. ‘The Four’ as Scott Galloway calls them in his new book of the same name – Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (‘GAFA’ for acronym fans) – have taken over the world and there is nothing that we can do to stop them.

So should we all give up and go home? Await the inevitable day when one (or more) of the gang of four decides to irrevocably disrupt our given industry (that’s assuming you’re among the fortunate few who haven’t already been disrupted)?

Thankfully, at least for now, the answer is ‘no’; (terminal) disruption comes to those who wait. Whilst we have little power to halt the continuous rise of The Four, we must not allow our concerns about their dominance to hide the opportunities that their products provide. Titans they may be, but Titans can be tamed. What are the emerging opportunities that early adopters can turn to their advantage? Here are three areas worthy of your attention:

Amazon Search

Google have dominated the search landscape for some time, however there’s a new kid on the block and it’s not what you’d expect (in fact it’s not a search engine at all). A 2017 survey from Kenshoo found that 56% of people use Amazon as their starting point for shopping and product discovery. This presents brands with two areas of opportunity. Firstly, a well-considered SEO strategy for Amazon is critical for any brand that lists their products on the platform – appearing towards the top of Amazon results is arguably more important than high Google rankings for certain product categories. Secondly, Amazon represents an opportunity for advertisers to engage with users at highly valuable moments – the point at which they are looking to spend money. Amazon’s ad revenue is set to surge in 2018 and, as with any market, those who move early can capitalise on greater returns before the auction becomes more competitive in the future.

Find your voice

The rise of voice shows no sign of abating, with global YoY growth exceeding 700% according to Strategyanalytics.com. Amazon and Google are leading the race here, with Apple set to join the party with their launch of the Homepod later this year. We’ve outlined the best practices for voice search before, but with voice assistants adorning increasing numbers of bookshelves it’s definitely worth revisiting the topic. If you haven’t yet started getting your strategy in place for voice search, now is definitely the time to make a start – if you don’t, your competitors (either established or upcoming disruptor brands) certainly will.

Tomorrow’s TV

Amazon invested $4.5 billion in original and licensed content in 2017, which is admittedly $1.5 billion less than Netflix (we may soon be talking about ‘The Five’) but more than double the investment made by HBO. In addition, Amazon and Facebook have recently secured eye catching broadcasting rights with the likes of the NFL, La Liga and the Men’s ATP Tennis Tour, and it is rumoured that The Four may all be at the negotiating table for next three year cycle of rights for the Premier League in 2019-2022. The migration of content (and therefore audiences) from traditional broadcasters over to The Four presents brands with opportunities to increase returns from their DRTV marketing spend. Whilst there are already programmatic TV options available to advertisers, targeting is very limited from a granularity perspective when compared to how we target via platforms such as Facebook. The application of personalised campaign targeting, intelligent usage of data and real time campaign optimisation will improve efficiency and therefore return on investment.

So there’s no need to be afraid – the rise of The Four will undoubtedly disrupt, but not all disruption should be feared. Opportunities will present themselves; the trick is to spot them as they arise and take advantage of them ahead of the competition.