Advertising leaders most fear the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic, along with the fallout and uncertainty over Brexit, a new report reveals, but they also remain concerned about the influence of US tech giants.

The report, The New Internet, is published by data connectivity platform LiveRamp, which quizzed 506 UK marketing decision makers.

Beyond the pandemic (cited by 36% of respondents), and Brexit (26%), one-in-four ad executives also said the growing influence of US tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook and Google, was a long-term threat to the industry.

And over a third (36%) believed greater transparency about the decisions made by those same giants around online advertising on their platforms would improve the advertising industry. A third (33%) believe that the industry would be fairer and would be improved if tech giants could agree a list of principles.

Commenting in the report, Damon Reeve CEO, Ozone Project, said: “We all live in a world that is dominated by a very few number of companies and that creates a lot of sensitivity around their business models, where, on the one hand, we’re reliant on them for providing services and, on the other, they use that to their own advantage.”

One possible solution is greater regulation but that’s no simple matter. Matt Scheckner, CEO, Advertising Week, in the same report, described the clash between regulators and tech giants as “an incredible confluence of things crashing together”.

And he added that “regulatory bodies traditionally have authority in their jurisdiction and technology companies don’t recognise those walls or jurisdictions”.

It’s a live issue, as a recent Competition and Markets Authority study found that the duopoly of Google and Facebook accounted for 80% of the £14 billion UK digital advertising market.

And as WARC noted, “Access to vast quantities of personal data has made of Google and Facebook quasi-regulators, whose gatekeeper roles means that the rules they set have implications not just within their own ecosystem but outside of it.” 

Sourced from LiveRamp