Marketers and agencies are increasingly being forced to do their best James Bond impressions in order to obtain data for their campaigns from the largest private data holders.
"When it comes to data, there’s really a triopoly between Amazon, Google, and Facebook, they’re all walled off," said Steve Carbone managing director, chief digital and investment officer at MediaCom.
"We’re not going to be able to break down the walled gardens, but we can peek over those walls and get our data in and work with them in a way to get some data out to then drive some level of impact," he added.
According to Carbone, this will only get worse as brands increase their reliance on data that is held by these three, and other companies, although forging deep relationships with some of the larger data handlers can help alleviate some of the issues faced by the market.
Audience learning, in particular, has become challenging due to the lack of ease when it comes to accessing customer data, he explained.
Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, warned of a future where the internet itself becomes a series of walled gardens, which would make marketers and advertisers jobs much more difficult.
"The question is, will the internet become a series of walled entities, with no ability to cross-pollinate? The role of public policy is to try and ensure a level of playing field as possible so that competition can flourish," he said.
"We want more tech companies, brands, marketers, and everything in between. That’s better for human beings.
"What IAB has proposed is a public token that is owned by the public and managed by some kind of consortium, that involves governments, NGO’s and industry bodies. This would challenge the privatized system of identity and privacy management which is led by three or four companies for their own competitive reasons."
The idea was put forth earlier this month and has launched a wave of conversation on social media and beyond, according to Rothenberg.