For years, two names have ruled the online ad game – Google and Facebook. Currently, that is still true, though a new analysis suggests Amazon is steadily expanding its ad business to be a sizable challenger to the Big Two.

Research firm eMarketer’s latest annual digital ad report shows that Amazon’s share of digital ad revenue broke two digits in 2020, earning 10.3% of U.S. online ad revenue. That’s a significant jump from 7.8% in 2019.

In actual dollars, the online retail giant’s ad revenue reached $15.73 billion, an increase of more than 50% from the previous year.

Should Facebook and Google Be Worried?

Amazon still has some ways to go before it’s ad platform is the size of Google or Facebook’s – both of which receive more than 20% of U.S. digital ad spend.

Still, eMarketer predicts the company will continue to increase its share of online ad revenue over the next few years until it is on par with the other two giants.

For Facebook, this might not be a big concern since much of Amazon’s advertising is driven by Amazon Prime video advertising and product ads. In their current form, both platform’s ads largely serve different purposes.

Google, on the other hand, might be getting a little nervous. Over the past few years, the search engine has been investing heavily into its online shopping services, as well as expanding YouTube’s advertising platform.

What Does This Mean For Brands?

Though this might have significant implications for the future of online advertising, nothing has really changed for the majority of brands who might use these platforms for their ads. 

However, it does serve as a reminder that there are more than just the Big Two online ad platforms. Many of the others out there may be a better fit, provide less competition, and allow you to reach your potential customers at a more ideal time. This is why it is important to know what each has to offer and invest your ad budget into the platform (or platforms) which make the most sense for you.

It can be easy to forget that online marketing can have a much wider effect than just “online”. These days, it is also one of the most powerful tools businesses have to drive in-person and other types of offline sales.

The key is knowing how to optimize specifically for local searches to help those nearby find you and your products or services at the most effective times.

To help smaller businesses do this, Google recently published a small guide with 4 tips and ideas for driving offline sales using your online ads and marketing.

Creating In-Person Sales With Online Marketing

Establish Your Digital Storefront

The first step to using your brand to drive local sales is establishing your Google My Business profile. This allows you to appear in the prime search results placements for relevant localized searches. 

As Google says:

“Stand out when people search for your business, products or services. Getting your business on Google is the essential first step towards driving and measuring visits to your stores.”

2) Measure Your Offline Impact

These days, the search engine’s analytics tools can measure a lot more than online traffic and conversions. Using metrics like Store Visits and Local Actions, you can see exactly how effective your online ads and marketing are in the real world.

“Getting the full picture of how your ads drive impact across channels is important to refine campaigns, make budgeting decisions, and inform your overall business strategy.”

3) Optimize For Online AND Offline

Use ads and optimization to highlight what you have online and what you have to offer at your brick and mortar locations. Not only can you use Google Shopping to showcase your products in search results, you can specifically promote your in-store inventory using Local Inventory ads.

The guide suggests:

“Make the most of your marketing investment and grow revenue for your stores, whether customers ultimately purchase online or in-store.”

4) Showcase Your Locations

Use local campaigns to highlight your local stores and send online searchers straight to your door. 

“Machine learning makes it easier and more efficient to promote your physical business locations at scale across Google properties. It can help you reach customers throughout their purchase journey and optimize for those who are most likely to visit your business.”

For more about how you can use Google and online marketing to drive both online and offline sales read the full Google Ads Help guide here.

Facebook quietly revealed that it will be closing the Facebook Analytics service effective June 30th, 2021. After that date, brands and marketers will be unable to access their data. You can export your data to bring over to a new analytics service until then, though. 

Instead of releasing a wide announcement, Facebook is only informing users who are trying to access analytics.facebook.com and within an updated Facebook for Business help center article

As the announcement reads:

“Facebook Analytics will no longer be available after June 30, 2021. Until then, you will still be able to access reports, export charts and tables, and explore insights. To export data into a CSV file from Facebook Analytics on your desktop, click the arrow in the top-right corner of each chart or table.”

It is notable that the announcement did not explain the decision in any way. Instead, it simply pointed users to other tools which can replace some of the tracking and analytics features – though not all. 

Among the recommended tools Facebook directed users to are:

  • Facebook Business Suite allows you to manage your Facebook and Instagram business accounts and can show you detailed insights about your audience, content and trends. (This tool may not be available to you yet.)
  • Ads Manager lets you view, make changes and see results for all your Facebook campaigns, ad sets and ads.
  • Events Manager can help you set up and manage Facebook Business Tools like the Facebook pixel and Conversions API, and reports actions taken on your website, in your app and in your physical store.

The quick shuttering of Facebook Analytics will make it more possible than ever to track users’ behavior on the platform. Even more frustrating for many, the primary recommended tool, Facebook Business Suite, is limited specifically to small businesses and is not actually available to the public yet. That means that there is less time to learn the more narrowly-focused tool during the transition period.

For more information, you can read the updated Facebook Business Help Center announcement here.