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Ad industry busy with data while ‘Goobook’ duopoly marches on

Thanks to the 'Goobook duopoly' now owning the web, ad industry professionals have become blind to the truth – and some of them prefer it that way – argues Bob Hoffman

As far as advertising goes, the duopoly of Google and Facebook don’t just dominate the web, they own it.

Here are some remarkable facts by way of Brian Weiser of Pivotal Research Group:

  • In the third quarter of 2016, 99% of all new online ad revenue went to Goobook.
  • The United States online ad industry, for example, grew 22% in 2016. But because Goobook are the industry “the average growth rate for every other company in the sector was close to 0.”
  • Goobook now account for 77% of all online ad spending in the US.

It is beyond mind-blowing to think that there are about 1.2 billion websites in the world and two of them are raking in 77% of ad revenue.

Industrial-strength ignorance

One of the most startling (and depressing) aspects of the advertising and marketing industries is the depth of the ignorance all around us. You expect that professionals would be aware of the key facts that govern their industry.

These are facts that are necessary for making million dollar decisions. But over and over we find that advertising and marketing people don’t know the most basic facts of their business.

An example, 250 advertising people – about 70% agency and 30% marketers – were asked very basic questions about video viewing habits of consumers. Their ignorance was shocking.

First they were asked what per cent of video viewing was done an a TV? Their estimate was 25%. The actual number is 82%. They were off by over 200%. You might expect they’d be off by 5 or 10%. Maybe 30% if they were really dumb. But over 200%?

Next they were asked about the viewing habits of people watching video on smartphones.

When asked what percent of video viewing time was spent on a smartphone, the professionals estimated 18%. They were off by 800%. The actual number is 2%.

These results show us three things:

  • How misinformed these people are.
  • How their ignorance is manifest in bias toward web media.
  • You better check what they tell you.

Our industry is too busy with data to be bothered with facts.

Bob Hoffman has been the CEO of two independent agencies and is the author of the Ad Contrarian blog

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