Through the 2010s, Alphabet and Meta grew to become the twin titans of digital advertising - known as the duopoly - with Facebook & Instagram dominating mobile and with Google dominating search and web-based display ads.
But while digital ad spend has continued to rise overall, their share has declined from its 2017 peak of 55 per cent ownership of the entire digital advertising sector.
While TikTok continues its growth, Snap Twitter remain relatively small players in share and it is Amazon that has emerged as the king of what has been dubbed 'retail media' - not other social media platforms.
Amazon commands about 75 per cent of spending in this nascent advertising category making it the category leader - with its $30bn in revenue more than it made from its popular Prime subscription service in 2022.
Walmart sits in second place with eight per cent, but the direction is clear - and many other large and specialist retailers such as Boots are getting in on the act, and the opportunities are there for any retailer that has a large digital footprint and
lots of consumers.
Retail-based marketing is nothing new of course, and my company PayComplete has dipped its toe in the water by adding removable/ interchangeable facias (that can carry brand advertising) to our latest range of devices.
But I think the real opportunity lies in omnichannel marketing, and this is where fintechs can help other ecommerce players grab more of Amazon’s $30bn advertising business.
Like Alphabet and Meta, Amazon wins has a massive base of active customers (many of whom visit the site or use the app frequently) and extensive first-party data on these customers: a commercially valuable audience. Being on the first page of Amazon is the
new first page of Google, and brands are willing to pay a premium to be there.
But will scale, or specialism, be the trump card in future?
Europe's GDPR legislation has limited the scope for personalised digital advertising, part of a global move against mass surveillance marketing.
Apple's decision to restrict ad targeting on their devices has put a dent in the duopoly and they are clearly positioning themselves as privacy-first.
And most web browsers are phasing out the technology that powers personalised display advertising (third-party cookies).
So I think the future lies less in immense scale, but in precise targeting; developing omnichannel strategies centred on consumer needs, and delivering them value on an opt-in basis.
As retailers’ tech stacks get ever more sophisticated, fintech firms such as PayCompete - and others - can help develop a clearer picture of spending behaviours and personalise the customer's offer accordingly.
Retailers can choose to skin the new devices, so they are discreet. In keeping with the design of a store, they can carry a retailer's branding or promotions - or be sold as brand-building ad space right next to the point of sale - which we expect to appeal
to multi-goods retailers, supermarkets, grocery stores, and convenience store chains.
In-store promotions have long been a part of the retail ecosystem, but what was a cottage industry, mainly peripheral to the core retail business, is becoming big business.
The decline of the google/Facebook duopoly, increasing opportunities to advertise in-store and online, rapidly improving first-party retail data and developments in advertising technology that make it easier to sell and buy - all point to new revenue opportunities