Big tech ad market share
This week, Google was the subject of a antitrust lawsuit by the Department of Justice. The case revolves around Google making it's search engine the default option an nearly all mobile devices by directly controlling the android market and paying Apple $8 billion per year to be the default search engine in all of Apple's devices. The suit may not be successful, and this still may be the peak of Google's direct connection to websites via tracking scripts of some nature.
In a Marketplace podcast on the case, Kai Ryssdal mentions that Google is estimated to have a tracking tag on over 80% of websites. That comes via Google Analytics, Adwords, Chrome searches, and more. While the services provided by Google are mostly free to consumers, the cost to reach customers has risen. Google is now less about crawling and discovering the best results than it was originally. Sites that consistently play to Google's rules are rewarded via organic search listings, while other increasingly it's possible to cut the line by paying to place ads above organic listings.
Whether this case is successful or not, there's a backlash against big tech, and this will push consumers and businesses to examine where data is transmitted more closely. And if Google will likely be reluctant to push forward with getting more heavily ingrained while under increased scrutiny, similar to Microsoft 20 years ago.
As Google and Facebook have dominated attention from consumers, businesses have been nearly forced to go to those platforms to gain attention. That has driven prices up at rates that favor the entrenched and well funded companies. A more competitive ad landscape would help brands to lower acquisition costs, albeit with less convenience.
Rather than reaching huge audiences on multiple platforms for a single backend, more work will be required on the part of brands to find the right channels, and maximize returns. This fits with a larger shift away from big tech's nearly free reign of growth, to one where privacy and security are growing in importance. With this shift, big tech companies are working to establish their own platforms to do everything, rather than provide single services in a larger ecosystem. Successful brands will need to navigate a more fractured market with less shared data across platforms in the years ahead.