What is a walled garden?
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Walled Garden

What is a walled garden?

A walled garden is a digital platform where one company controls everything from the user experience to the ads and data. This approach is user-friendly but it can be tough for marketers to get in and access information.

Some examples of walled gardens include:

  • Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok
  • Search engines, such as Google and Bing
  • Streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu
  • E-commerce platforms, such as Amazon and eBay

How do walled gardens work?

Walled gardens work by restricting access to users and data. This allows the company that controls the walled garden to maintain a high level of control over the user experience and the advertising that is displayed.

For example, Facebook has complete control over the ads that are displayed on its platform. This means that Facebook can target users with ads that are relevant to their interests and demographics. Facebook also collects a vast amount of data about its users, which it uses to improve the user experience and to target ads more effectively.

Types of walled gardens:

There are two main types of walled gardens:

  • Closed walled gardens: These walled gardens are completely closed off from the outside world. This means that users cannot access content or services from outside of the walled garden.Examples include major tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. These platforms have extensive user data, but they limit how this data can be accessed and used by external advertisers.
  • Open walled gardens: These walled gardens are more open to the outside world. This means that users can access content and services from outside of the walled garden, but the walled garden still maintains a high level of control over the user experience and the advertising that is displayed. Apple’s App Store is often considered to be in this camp, though there is widespread disagreement throughout the online ad industry as to just how “open” Apple’s walled garden actually is.

How to measure campaigns within walled gardens:

Campaigns within walled gardens can be measured in a variety of ways, including:

  • Reach: The number of users who are exposed to your marketing messages within the walled garden.
  • Engagement: The number of users who interact with your marketing messages, such as by clicking on an ad or liking a post.
  • Conversion rate: The percentage of users who take a desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.

Why are walled gardens important to marketers?

Walled gardens are important to marketers for several reasons, including:

  • Reach: Walled gardens have a large and engaged user base. This means that marketers can reach a large number of potential customers with their marketing messages.
  • Targeting: Walled gardens allow marketers to target their ads to specific demographics and interests. This can help to improve the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
  • Data: Walled gardens collect a vast amount of data about their users. This data can be used to improve the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and to develop new products and services.

However, there are also some challenges associated with marketing in walled gardens. These challenges include:

  • Competition: High competition within walled gardens making advertising costly and unpredictable.
  • Control: Walled gardens have complete control over the user experience and are very selective about the data they share with marketers.

Who needs to know what a walled garden is:

  • Performance marketers
  • Content marketers
  • Social media marketers
  • Digital marketers
  • Brand managers
  • Marketing directors
  • CEOs

Use walled garden in a sentence: “We're seeing retailers guard their data with a walled garden approach for their ad platforms — but the walls of these gardens aren’t impenetrable; they're still partnering with outside vendors to connect their data with the broader ad ecosystem.”

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