The monetisation of personal data is a fundamental and key concept for Internet players, best known in the form of digital advertising. So fundamental, that players such as Google and Facebook generate 90% of their revenues from it. At the same time, it is these two global web giants who dominate the digital advertising space.

This report looks into detail of this digital advertising market, with market forecasts, player strategies and the ecosystems. It touches upon the key technologies such as RTB (real time bidding), programmatic advertising and re-targeting, and also on the new digital players such as ad exchanges, DSPs (Demand Side Platforms) and SSPs (Supply Side Platforms).

It then looks into the current state of telcos in the monetisation of personal data and the various strategies taken, ranging from internal use to more aggressive TDaaS (Telecom data as a Service; aggregated data sales) initiatives and zero-rating offerings.
Finally, the report analyses the market potential for the telcos and concludes with a market sizing forecast for the telcos in the monetisation of personal data.

Table of contents

1. Executive Summary

2. Methodology

3. The digital advertising market
3.1. A market expected to reach 268 billion EUR by 2021
3.2. A growing market largely dominated by Google and/or Facebook
3.2.1. A mature search advertising market, more innovation in display advertising
3.2.2. Social, video and mobile to drive the market forward
3.3. The digital advertising ecosystem: ad exchanges, DSPs and SSPs
3.3.1. The bidding process via ad exchanges, DSPs and SSPs
3.3.2. Player examples of ad exchanges, DSPs and SSPs
3.3.3. Reliance on ad exchanges (and personal data in general) varies according to strategy
3.4. Player strategies
3.4.1. Facebook
3.4.2. Google
3.4.3. Turn (now Amobee DSP)
3.4.4. Teads

4. The telco potential in monetising data
4.1. Types of data collected
4.2. Player strategies
4.2.1. Synthesis
4.2.2. Singtel: an open platform to become Asian mobile advertising leader
4.2.3. Verizon: advertising as its key growth driver
4.2.4. AT&T: advertising strategy based on TV
4.2.5. Telefónica: location data for transport and retail
4.2.6. Vodafone Analytics for internal use
4.2.7. Veon: a zero-rating app
4.2.8. Telenor: Acquisition of Tapad only for internal use until now
4.2.9. Chinese telcos: internal use plus vertical-centric external use
4.2.10. Other players

5. Markets and forecasts
5.1. Main drivers and barriers
5.1.1. Drivers
5.1.2. Barriers 47
5.2. The regulation conundrum; driver or barrier?
5.2.1. Synthesis: a complex picture with several disparities
5.2.2. Net neutrality (zero rating)
5.2.3. In conclusion: regulatory movement on privacy a driver particularly for US telcos
5.3. Market sizing
5.3.1. Recap: Total digital advertising market revenues expected to reach 268 billion EUR by 2021
5.3.2. Telcos expected to represent 7% of data monetisation market by 2021

List of tables and figures

List of tables and figures

Table 1: Facebook Audience Network
Table 2: Comparison of FBX (Facebook Exchange) with Dynamic Ads (Facebook Ads API)

Figure 1: Online advertising revenues worldwide and format breakdown, 2017-2021
Figure 2: Online advertising market by segments, by projected market size in 2020 and expected CAGR from 2017 to 2021
Figure 3: Share of revenue generated through mobile services of OTT leaders, 2013-2016
Figure 4: Programmatic advertising and the technologies within
Figure 5: RTB principle, providing real-time bidding for ad inventory
Figure 6: Global RTB advertising revenues and their share of display advertising revenues, 2017-2021
Figure 7: The digital advertising value chain of today
Figure 8: Steps of RTB, showing an ad for a newly loaded website (or app)
Figure 9: Example players of ad exchanges, DSPs and SSPs
Figure 10: Mapping of Internet players based reliance on advertising revenues and diversification of services
Figure 11: Ads revenue and its share in total revenue of Facebook, 2010-2016
Figure 12: Ads revenue and its share in total revenue of Google, 2010-2016
Figure 13: Turn DSP, now “Amobee DSP”
Figure 14: Teads, a native video-advertising ad exchange and SSP
Figure 15: Mapping of select telcos, GAFAM and BAT according to 2015 revenues and market caps
Figure 16: Types of data collected by telcos
Figure 17: Highly valued data types to telcos
Figure 18: Personal data hierarchy
Figure 19: Operator strategies on the use of customer data
Figure 20: Screenshot of Morrisons catchment area on the Smart Steps interactive platform
Figure 21: mAnalytics Vodafone
Figure 22: China Telecom Big Data Analytic Platform for internal operation
Figure 23: China Telecom’s data services dedicated for external applications
Figure 24: Mobile operators worldwide in data relationship with SAP Consumer Insight 365
Figure 25: Experian multi-sourced consumer database
Figure 26: Experian’s cross-channel marketing solution, which includes data integration
Figure 27: Experian’s DMP service
Figure 28: Main drivers and barriers for telcos in monetising data
Figure 29: Telcos score marginally better compared to Internet players for trust
Figure 30: Overview of data monetisation-related regulatory landscape
Figure 31: Concerns on level-playing field issues in the draft ECC
Figure 32: Online advertising revenues worldwide and format breakdown, 2017-2021
Figure 33: Total telco revenues generated through use of data, and its % of total market of data

Geographic area



  • AIS
  • Altice
  • Amazon
  • Amobee DSP
  • AOL
  • Apple
  • AT&T
  • Beeline
  • Bharti Airtel
  • China Data Centre Alliance
  • China Mobile
  • China Telecom
  • China Unicom
  • Cox
  • CRTC
  • DataSift
  • Deezer
  • DirecTV
  • Dish
  • Djezzy
  • ECC
  • EE
  • Ericsson
  • Experian
  • Facebook
  • FCC
  • Globe Telecom
  • Google
  • Innove
  • O2
  • Oath
  • Optus
  • QQ
  • SFR
  • Sina Weibo
  • Singtel
  • Sony Pictures
  • Sprint
  • Synergic Partners
  • Tapad
  • Teads
  • Telefónica
  • Telenor
  • Telkomsel
  • Tencent
  • Turn
  • Uber
  • Veon
  • Verizon
  • Videology
  • Vodafone
  • Warner Bros
  • WeChat
  • WindTre
  • Yahoo!
  • YouTube


The digital advertising market
The new programmatic value chain, and the dominance of Google and Facebook

  • Global online ad market growing to 268 billion EUR by 2021, 50%+ from mobile
  • A growing market, largely dominated by Google and Facebook
  • Quick guide to the key technologies within programmatic advertising
  • Real-time bidding (RTB) is at the heart of the growing programmatic market
  • The New Players in the age of digital advertising: ad exchanges, DSPs and SSPs
  • The bidding process via ad exchanges, DSPs and SSPs

The potential for telcos in monetising personal data
How the telcos can compete with the OTTs in their own backyard

  • The GAFAM and BAT are valued higher than telcos with respect to revenues earned
  • The telcos, though, have a wealth of monetisable personal data – theoretically
  • Various approaches and strategies of data monetisation by the telcos
  • TDaaS: aggregated and anonymised data sales
  • Zero rating: use of apps without incurring data fees
  • Telcos hold the advantage in quality data, especially real-time location data
  • Telcos are expected to take 7% of data monetisation market by 2021

Other details

  • Reference: M17160MRA
  • Delivery: on the DigiWorld Interactive platform
  • Languages available: English
  • Tags: data monetisation, digital advertising, personal data, TDaaS, Telecom Data as a Service

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