There’s been a lot of talk recently about the prospect of big digital (i.e. Facebook, Google, Amazon) being sued by the government using anti-trust laws and trying to break the businesses up. The premise of this argument is that digital companies have become too large and have too much information on people around the world, which makes them dangerous when it comes to consumer protection.

As a results-driven digital strategist and advertiser, I have a vested interest in cations of anything that could potentially disrupt the digital space as we know it. Part of the advantage of using a partner such as Google or Facebook is that I’m able to highly target consumers for my clients in order to deliver relevant messaging. If the ability to target the right people at the right time goes away, the value of “traditional” digital advertising is lost.

I wrote last week about the new Facebook targeting rules and how they create a pinch point for financials to be able to target Facebook users with sponsored content. The threat of breaking up digital companies would have an even greater effect.

The problem is that consumers’ expectations are not going to change. Even those that are abandoning search engines like Google and Bing in favor of tracking-free browsers such as Duck Duck Go expect to be able to find what they are looking for with relative ease. So where does that leave marketers in terms of our ability to find people who are looking for what we have to offer?

In my opinion, it may be time to start looking at investing in alternative digital to accomplish this goal. If tracking is the bedrock of digital targeting and digital companies are facing threats of losing that ability, it may be time to think about how third-party application solutions would integrate into a more segmented digital world.

Speaking in more real-world terms: let’s say Google is broken up by anti-trust regulations. Which could mean that Google Analytics no longer talks to Google Tag Manager, which no longer talks to Google Ads, all for the sake of protecting consumer privacy. In order to achieve the same targeting results that we have today, an integration platform would be needed.

Now, we’re a long way from seeing any action taken on this forefront, so the alarm bells don’t need to be rung quite yet. In all honesty, our current political winds would need to shift greatly during the 2020 election to see any of the potential threats come to fruition. However, I can sense and see the tidal wave of digital regulation coming. Let’s start preparing while we can.