AdTech & MarTech are two of the biggest buzzwords and most difficult-to-understand practices in the modern marketing industry.
There are two reasons why:
- AdTech & MarTech are still developing. Trying to understand them is almost like trying to understand two teenagers based solely on the fact that they play the same sport. In other words, it’s too early to know where they will end up with any certainty.
- AdTech and MarTech are virtually becoming the online marketing industry. Any time you use a service that provides you with analytics and feedback on how people see and engage with your business online (think: Facebook and Twitter for Business), you’re harnessing the power of AdTech & MarTech networks. Translation: AdTech & MarTech are an ever-growing part of an ever-widening industry.
Despite the fact that they’re moving targets, we can say two things for certain: AdTech & MarTech are converging, and they have been riding waves of venture capital-backed search interest for at least ten years.
But arguably the biggest reason they are so important is not because of top-down investment, but because of bottom-up interest. That is, because businesses are recognizing that AdTech & MarTech affect their digital footprint, no matter how large or small that footprint is.
Look no further than the top three search results the next time you google your business or industry — those first three returns will likely come from Google’s Search Network, an adtech service hosted by Google AdWords. If you or your business isn’t in that network, it will appear below those entries.
Complex search algorithms are at work behind adtech systems like Google’s, and these algorithms require some awareness of data management to properly integrate advertising platforms. But ultimately, that integrated advertising platform — or omnichannel — makes online advertising much easier to use and understand.
Despite the growing size and complexity of the marketing industry they influence, AdTech & MarTech can be broken down into simple definitions that parallel and complement each other.
AdTech (noun; adj)
- Short for “advertising technology.”
- The industry name for any tool or application for researching audiences and delivering targeted advertisements to them.
- A group of platforms and software for hosting the automated exchange process of buying and selling advertisements through a machine-based ad network or marketplace (e.g., Adobe Advertising Cloud).
- Used in a sentence: “Were you able to attend that conference on AdTech in NYC? Reps from Fortune 500 companies sponsored a great exhibit on this adtech and artificial intelligence platform that helps you advertise on social media.”
- See: “Facebook Ads,” “Google Ads,” and “MarTech”
MarTech (noun; adj)
- Short for “marketing technology.”
- An industry term that encompasses a vast body of tools, platforms, processes, and applications that we use to market online products and services (e.g., Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Email Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Marketing Analytics, and Marketing Management).
- Platforms and software for managing marketing data and automating marketing processes (e.g., Oracle Marketing Cloud).
- Used in a sentence: “Did you see the martech issue of Ad Age? They did a cover story on how the number of companies in MarTech has grown exponentially since 2011.”
- See: “Facebook for Business,” “Twitter for Business,” and “YUGE DEAL.”
Advertising is just one form of marketing, and AdTech is just one form of MarTech. As such, it’s best to think of AdTech & MarTech as two sides of the same coin: AdTech is the front (what most people recognize a coin by), and MarTech is the tail that most people touch and see everyday without noticing.
Data and Targeting
Because AdTech and MarTech are driven by data collection, data analysis, data presentation, and data management, they have a much more nuanced research methodology for delivering ads than traditional methods of marketing and advertising.
Traditional methods tend to operate on the principle of “shoot-first-ask-questions-later” (e.g., billboard ads, radio ads, television commercials, and online banner ads). Traditional methods do involve at least a small amount of research, such as finding the best locations to air an ad for a targeted demographic. However, they also reach a substantial number of people who are not the intended audience for their particular product or service. This overreach can result in annoyance (or worse, distrust) for brands that are particularly repetitive or intrusive. Just think about the last time an infomercial for cleaning products interrupted your regularly scheduled programming when you weren’t in the mood.
AdTech & MarTech make it possible to target your intended audience without as much overreach, so that video or banner advertisements will reach an intended audience that is not only more likely to be interested, but also most likely to convert.
Ad networks like those owned by Facebook and Google are particularly good at this, since they can deliver “native ads” in user feeds to appear more like solicited information than annoying or intrusive advertisements.
How are you using AdTech & MarTech?
Whether you know it or not, you probably already are. If you want to learn more about controlling the size of your digital footprint in marketing and advertising technology, view our new classes on search engines, data management, and integrated advertising platforms, free for ten days!
This article was written by Joshua Jackson, and first appeared at the Online Marketing Institute