The biggest US tech companies – Alphabet, Meta, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft – are often lumped together.
But their ad platform businesses have distinct dynamics, and each was affected by the trials and tribulations of 2021 in very different ways.
Although Apple’s privacy changes took a knife to Facebook and a hammer to Google, for example, ad prices were on the rise. When iPhone owners became more difficult to reach, CPMs across Google, Android, YouTube, the Play Store, Facebook and Instagram jumped as the next-best options.
Meanwhile, Amazon’s programmatic business is taking off, because it sells primarily on its own sites and apps and has purchase data to insulate it from the privacy sting.
At the same time, Microsoft appears to be quietly assembling a media empire that might look strange now – Xbox, LinkedIn, Outlook Mail, the Edge browser and MSN? – but could turn out to be the duopoly-buster nobody saw coming.
AdExchanger examined how each of these major players evolved their ad businesses this year to meet new data privacy standards – and how they might fare moving into 2022.
2021 was a year of tumult for Google advertising – but not because it wasn’t a record year for revenue. It was.