The following is a guest article by Matt Woodruff, co-founder and product manager of the marketing technology company Constellation Agency. Opinions are those of the author.
As rivals in the digital advertising duopoly of Google and Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat offer niche value propositions that aim to differentiate them from incumbents. Snapchat uses immersive advertising to build a community of engaged consumers while TikTok is the top destination for Gen Z. TikTok, in particular, is the newcomer and hugely popular among the cohort, leading many brands to question whether they should change their advertising spending. from duopoly to emerging contenders.
But what is little discussed is that duopoly rivals such as Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter just lack the basic digital advertising capabilities that have made Google and Facebook so dominant. Google and Facebook are masters of dynamic product ads (which allow for bottom-of-the-funnel personalization) with customizable dynamic creation capabilities.
I know âdynamic product adsâ are advertising jargon. So, let’s break down precisely what makes Google and Facebook the most effective ad platforms, how competitors can close the gap, and what that all means for advertisers looking to get the most out of their digital spend.
Differentiators of Google and Facebook
Dynamic product announcements, or DPA, take the product information that the brand’s advertiser has uploaded and transform it into advertisements tailored to a consumer’s interests and context. Suppose you are an automobile manufacturer looking to generate interest in a specific set of vehicles. Facebook and Google allow you to upload images, titles, descriptions, and prices, and their advertising technology will do the rest of the work for you, matching a product with a user who is very likely to be interested.
Maybe the Facebook or Google user once clicked on an ad for the car on those platforms or visited your website. Maybe they just fit the profile – say, a 45-year-old female, with an annual income of $ 150,000 – of the type of buyer who most often responded to an ad for this vehicle. Google and Facebook have the technology to use this data to personalize ads and drive conversions.
Certainly, other companies than the duopoly have looked at personalization. But Google and Facebook have almost perfected the DPA. First, advanced advertising platforms have unmatched data about brands’ target audiences, making them the most effective for targeting and measurement. Second, Google and Facebook offer industry-specific DPA variants. The duopoly went the furthest in tailoring automated ads to each industry, making ads easier to plug in and read on the platform for automobiles, hotels, and retailers, for example. Third, DPA ads on Google and Facebook have improvements. The main one is that the same type of ad can now feature more than the stock image of a product and the total sale price. The variables that exist in any product feed – the material Google and Facebook uses to turn product information into personalized and engaging advertisements – can be enhanced with a Dynamic Creative Optimization (DCO) tool.
A DCO tool combines the power of DPA personalization with a more visually appealing ad type, enabling advertisers to deliver stunning experiences that capture the customer’s attention in increasingly crowded online environments. DCO is the difference between a static, unique ad and a great experience to start the customer journey, the difference between grabbing a consumer’s attention and blending into the background of a cluttered flow.
But not all major ad platforms provide improved COD. This is yet another differentiator that separates the duopoly from the competition, making Google and Facebook the prime destinations for digital advertising.
How to close the gap
My advice to Snapchat, TikTok, and other duopoly rivals is to treat the ad tech competition the same way Burger King approached the fast food arms race. McDonald’s had already proven where the profitable franchise locations were, so Burger King built competing locations across the street.
Likewise, TikTok and its peers should create APIs that allow brands to create the most visually appealing ad units possible on their platforms. They should develop industry-specific advertising capabilities to meet the needs of automobiles, hotels, and retailers, among others. In short, they should copy Facebook and Google’s ad technology with the same relentlessness that Facebook has shown by copying products intended for TikTok and Snapchat users.
Of course, the duopoly rivals are the newcomers to the block, and these new platforms should capitalize on that cool factor, pairing it with sophisticated ad technology to create potentially more compelling value propositions than the aging giants can deliver. If TikTok and Snapchat offered the same ad capabilities as their older rivals, they would have a stronger claim to be the top sites for digital ads as they have a grip on the coveted Gen Z demographic that appears to be leaving Facebook in mass.
What the digital advertising divide means for brands
Brands often ask their ad-tech partners if they should invest more in Snapchat and TikTok. Brand executives see their kids glued to these apps or they may have fallen in love with them themselves, and they’re right to think that they are among the destinations where the future of the attention economy will be. won. At the same time, emerging platforms do not offer the same capabilities as the duopoly, and therefore not the same return on advertising investment, which has made Google and Facebook the dominant players in digital advertising for over a decade.
So my recommendation is that advertisers continue to focus their ad spend on the proven platforms with the most data and the most advanced ways to connect with consumers, namely Google and Facebook. But that doesn’t mean that brands should ignore other big platforms, which have their unique selling points. Gen Z-focused campaigns would be a natural place to divert some spending to TikTok and Snapchat. Additionally, brands might consider testing marketing formats that appear native to younger platforms, such as full-screen mobile video ads.
Ultimately, Occam’s razor could be applied to the digital advertising landscape, meaning that the simpler option is usually the best. Google and Facebook remain the best options for good reasons, and advertisers would do well to stick with proven partners while exploring the DCO capabilities that set them apart. However, staying by the side of old friends does not preclude meeting new ones.