When you think of the companies that dominate advertising, Google and Facebook are without a doubt the first two names that come to mind. But this couple no longer reigns supreme: Amazon has emerged as the third member of this trio of advertisers. Although the triopoly has been solid, it's only a matter of time before it becomes a quadrangle.
Listen to me. At present, there may be no fourth emerging player and no competitor on the horizon in the next two years. But Google, Facebook and Amazon are not untouchable. If the history of this space shows us anything, it is that the disruption will only continue – and at a faster rate.
In the 1980s, '90s and' 2000s, advertisers working in the television, print and outdoor sectors had to assume that the trio was irremovable. But the Internet has changed everything. It would be arrogant for today's digital marketers to think that they are immune to a similar change.
The pretenders to the crown
Shortly after its launch in early 2004, the founders of Facebook began using advertising to cover the cost of servers on the site. This first advertisement has evolved into a true programmatic advertisement, which has become established in the last five years or so. And now, Amazon has imposed itself as a powerful actor.
We would not be naive not to think of another company that can assert itself in this space. The only question is which company. Will it be Snapchat? Microsoft? Google, Facebook and Amazon are all content generators and they have all associated advertisements to this content. However, with the way consumers access and interact with content, the fourth largest player in advertising may be moving away from this trend.
I think the fourth player will probably be a mobile-oriented organization, but I recognize that there are other options. It may be a voice-based business, for example, or a space that has not yet reached maturity, such as the Internet of Things. This could even come from a merger or an acquisition.
Although no one can say for sure who will be the fourth member of the advertising quadrangle, there are clearly some prominent candidates. For example, now that AT & T acquired AppNexus, this organization merged with its latest acquisition, Time Warner, will become a communication, advertising . and content producing company, making it capable of playing with big boys. Apple, of course, has an untapped profitability beyond its search ads. Everyone who makes an incursion into the vocal space is a possible suitor, but no one is there yet.
Any organization seeking a place in the ranks of the quadrole should develop its capabilities in all areas. But maturity is not enough. The fourth player will also have a type of disturbance element that can not be copied. Snapchat, for example, has not been able to develop anything. Facebook and Instagram have not been deployed either. Amazon has disrupted the trade. Facebook has disrupted communication. Google has disrupted knowledge sharing and advertising.
Any company capable of disrupting the three giants dominating advertising today will need to have all the elements shared by Amazon, Facebook and Google – commerce content and content distribution, in addition to a fourth element as the introduction of voice search or the Internet of Things in the world of advertising.
Identifying the Quadropole
How will we know that we have found our fourth player? Here are some signs to watch for:
1. This alleviates friction in the consumer experience
Google has identified a connection point of friction and has enabled users around the world to find information in an instant. Facebook has found a way to connect these people to each other. And Amazon realized that the business could adapt to this newly connected world. Any company that can join the ranks of these three giants will identify a global friction point such as lack of access to information or widespread e-commerce and will find a new way to smooth it out.
2. This makes the other companies honest
Facebook has not cannibalized Google and Amazon has not cannibalized neither of its predecessors. Instead, each company simply bypassed an aspect inherited from its sector. We always use television, print and outdoor advertising. There are still auxiliary search engines, trade actors and social networks . In the same way, the fourth member of the quadrupole advertising will not eliminate the big players, it will simply capitalize on the dollars that Facebook, Google and Amazon do not use.
3. Addresses an untapped public
The type of new technology discussed above, IoT, mobile, voice and social media platforms like Snapchat, may not be ready to launch and claim fourth place, but they all have something powerful in common. They all target the consumer with the lowest disposable income: adolescents and young adults. New audiences can give companies the opportunity to identify new points of friction and to establish more strongly than traditional businesses.
It is unclear what kind of disruption will bring a new leader in the advertising world. But with the constant evolution of technology and consumer experience, we expect a new transformation. Just as the monopoly of Google on advertising after the Internet has been crushed by Facebook and the duopoly of Facebook and Google has been broken by Amazon, the trio is set to become a quadrangle. The only question that remains is who will break through and join their ranks.