ELUDING GOOGLE: WHERE DO EUROPEAN STAKEHOLDERS STAND?
Waisso participated in the conference “Alternatives to Google” organized by EBG (Electronic Business Group), the main digital innovation think-tank in France. This meeting was an opportunity to talk about the overwhelming weight of “GAFA” (an acronym commonly used by French media to refer to the four major Internet companies: Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon) in digital marketing, and about the various European initiatives to counterbalance them, when digital sovereignty is at stake. In 2017, Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon’s turnovers amounted to 648 billion euros (source: companies). Their market capitalization is higher than Germany’s GDP. In addition to being the driving force of global digital economy, GAFA also dominate the advertising market, with Google as a leader, managing the entirety of the internet value chain of our clients. The different technologies of the Google DoubleClick suite (SSP, DSP, DMP, Adwords) are a must-use tool for traffic management, while Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager enable traffic tracking. Facebook is constantly increasing its field of expertise: after Marketplace in 2016, it launched in May 2018 its new jobs bookmark, where businesses can post job openings. The latest functionality Facebook announced is its Dating features. These new activities can be threatening for more local players, with Facebook’s undeniable firepower: 2.2 billion active internet users globally, who make it possible to undertake such ambitious rollouts. Major e-commerce player Amazon is also constantly growing by expanding to various sectors: cloud, video streaming, connected devices (Alexa), food distribution. Today more than one in two Americans choses Amazon over Google when it comes to making purchases. Last but not least, Apple totals 1.3 billion active devices globally, whose users tend to also purchase Apple apps, such as iTunes, Apple Music, iCloud, CarPlay and Apple Pay. There is no denying it: GAFA’s domination of the digital market is overwhelming. Any alternatives to Google? To counterbalance the hegemony of these American giants, national States and European players are trying to regroup the troops and get ready for the digital battle. The main threat seems to be against national sovereignties and Internet users’ rights. Last April, the Cambridge Analytica scandal stained Facebook as it failed to protect its users’ data. In 2016, Facebook and Google were accused of turning a blind eye to Russian organizations using their data to influence American voters. Another stumbling block is tax evasion: such a financial honeypot can provide GAFA with the means to buy out rising digital businesses and consolidate their supremacy. Competitors find it harder and harder to challenge those giants, with some rare exceptions. How are AT Internet, Le Bon Coin and Qwant competing in Europe? These players are too few and poorly helped by European case law. They must cope with an unfair trading environment; for instance, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) does not apply equally to American and to European businesses. In Asia, GAFA have found their alter egos: BATX. The acronym stands for Baidu (Google’s direct competitor), Alibaba (Amazon’s rival), Tencent (a brand resembling Facebook with WeChat) and Xiaomi (inspired by Apple). For Waisso, this “GAFA revolution” means that those players must be considered when it comes to web marketing customer acquisition: it is unthinkable to ignore Facebook’s 33 million French users or Google’s 91.5% colossal market share (source: SatCounter 2018). These different platforms are essential to the construction of an efficient ROI-oriented marketing strategy. However, we are careful to keep an eye on European players such as AT Internet so we can adapt to the digital context of each of our clients. Moreover, choosing French technologies enables a close collaboration between our local partners so we can provide a better follow up and optimization of your business’s results. Waisso is a Tag Commander certified agency (a direct competitor to GTM). Our close partners include French Tech players, such as Mazeberry (specialized in attribution), GetQuanty (an ABM tool specialized in B2B) and ReachFive (a CIAM plateform). The philosophy of our agency is to find a balance between quantity and quality to reach our clients’ objectives.