Sorry, you can’t take anything with you. It’s the general message you receive as a marketer when you employ lead generation tactics on some of the most popular social media platforms. It’s because they’re known as walled gardens.

Most of us are familiar with the concept of walled gardens when it comes to advertising and marketing. The term is credited to billionaire media titan John C. Malone. Some of us might remember a time when only phones or telephone equipment manufactured by AT&T could connect to its system. Apple is a more recent example. The company’s products are often only compatible with other Apple products. Popular iPhone apps might even be exclusive to the App Marketplace.

Owners of walled gardens argue their stringent control encourages user loyalty to the brand. The exclusive content offered provides a sense of belonging and camaraderie with a company. Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram – and search engine giant Google are kings of ad tech walled gardens. Their massive popularity allows them to justify this you can’t take anything with youapproach.


How do you boil a frog?

Nobody should do such a thing, of course – but let’s use this analogy. The saying goes that the frog would jump out of boiling water, so putting it instead in tepid water and raising the temperature to a boiling point would mean that the frog wouldn’t realize any danger…until it’s too late.

That’s kind of like what happens when you depend on ad tech walled gardens for lead generation. Facebook, for example, has set up a comfortable marketing environment for you. The platform offers access to massive amounts of data and centralized audience management. Real-time information gives you easy access to your target audiences.

Google and other search engines are continuing to place a growing emphasis on voice search optimization. And it’s not the same as search engine optimization. Your goal for voice search optimization is to help someone complete an action. After all, a third of the searches being done won’t have a screen to display the results. As a result, your content has to be optimized differently. Can you use these insights outside of Facebook? No.

Google works the same way. And there’s another contender you need to keep on your marketing radar. Amazon launched its advertising division to monetize its consumer and purchasing data. How’s that working for them? It grew by 40 percent in 2019, with ad revenues surpassing $4 billion for the first time in the fourth quarter.

Most advertisers will be so comfortable with these walled gardens that they won’t realize the danger until it’s too late. They don’t own and can’t use the crucial data that allows them to continue the conversation with lead generation.


Don’t expect the walls to come down

These walled gardens likely aren’t going to go away. Marketers grumble about them. Politicians threaten investigations. Meanwhile, the walls grow thicker and higher, and the data you need to identify people in your market who are ready to make a purchase right now moves farther from your grasp. And the cost to use the data inside these walled gardens continues to rise.

To make matters worse, many popular content publishers – where you tend to find your best leads – are looking for ways to make their own walled gardens now that Google has announced its plans to phase out the use of third-party cookies in its Chrome browser.

You’re going to have to find a way to identify leads that penetrates these walled gardens and exits with the information you need. The solution is called Identity Resolution. Learn more about it here. We can help you identify the top 3 percent of the leads in your market looking for what you sell. Find out who they are. Then get in front of them before they talk to your competitors – which is happening behind those walled gardens.