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What’s the Difference Between MarTech and AdTech?

December 17, 2020  •  By: Jeff Kupietzky

difference between martech and adtech

There’s all this talk about the emergence of MadTech and how it can revolutionize the tools publishers and brands use to reach their customers. 

But there are still some important questions that need to be answered.

We know MadTech is the convergence of digital marketing and advertising technology (MarTech + AdTech). And we know it can help publishers launch personalized content at scale, increase revenue, and make the most of their customer data.

Learn more about the convergence of MarTech and AdTech in our ebook, here.

So it’s crucial that publishers understand exactly what MadTech entails and how they can get started with it. But in order to really do that, they have to understand the difference between MarTech  and AdTech — including their benefits, differences, strengths, and weaknesses.

Only then can they really grasp why MadTech is so important and how it will shape the future of marketing.

Let’s take a look.

What is the difference between MarTech and AdTech? 

What is MarTech?

MarTech allows marketers to use their owned platforms — like websites and email — to build direct relationships with customers. In that vein, MarTech is often used to run organic campaigns — not paid media campaigns — reaching people who’ve already interacted with a brand or publication.

For example, a retailer might launch a weekly email marketing newsletter to nurture subscribers with personalized content on a one-to-one basis. Or a publisher might invite readers to enable push notifications so they can get real-time alerts about new or trending articles that meet their specific interests.

MarTech has many benefits. Most notably, it allows marketers to gather direct, first-party data about their customers. This is especially important considering the oncoming “cookiepocalypse”, when Google will disable third-party cookies on its Chrome browsers. As a result, brands will be left stranded without the third-party data they’ve historically relied on. And they’ll be left to use their owned, first-party data to track and target consumers across the web. They have to start gathering and activating that customer data right now if they want to survive this major shift in the landscape.

MarTech also allows for more personalized customer interactions, since it uses direct identifiers like email addresses, which people have opted to provide, to fuel marketing efforts. For instance, a user might have visited a website, signed up for a trial, or downloaded a content marketing ebook. Now, the brand or publisher can use MarTech to move that user down the funnel and convert them into a loyal and returning customer.

Common types of MarTech platforms that do this include:

  • Web analytics platforms, which gather organic visitor data, including page views, bounce rates, conversion rates, time on page, and referral sources. These platforms might also break down visitor demographics by category, such as age, location, and gender.
  • Customer relationship management platforms (CRMs), which allow marketers to store owned data from their customers in order to build a comprehensive customer view and guide users along the buyer journey.
  • Content optimization platforms, which help marketers build more effective creative and messaging to meet customer interests and needs. For example, a publisher might use a content optimization platform to A/B test different headlines and see which one performs best.
  • Marketing automation platforms help companies optimize their marketing strategy by streamlining activities (like email marketing and nurturing, social media management, and lead generation) through workflows.

So, what’s the problem? Why does MarTech need to be combined with AdTech after all?

Well, while MarTech’s services are crucial, they only cover one side of the coin — the side that involves building direct relationships and audience engagement through owned channels. The other side, however, is just as important: launching paid, widespread campaigns to reach new customers at scale.

That’s where AdTech comes in.

What is AdTech? 

AdTech allows brands to launch promotional digital advertising campaigns across the web, such as with display ads or paid social media posts. Publishers can also use AdTech to sell ad inventory on their own channels — monetizing content and driving revenue.

A major difference between AdTech and MarTech is that AdTech is used to reach unknown prospects based on third-party data while MarTech reaches known prospects through first-party identifiers, like their personal information or email address (which they’ve opted in to provide). That’s why AdTech platforms are known as “one-to-many,” while MarTech platforms are often considered “one-to-one.”

Common types of AdTech platforms include:

  • Demand-side platforms (DSPs), which advertisers use to buy inventory from different ad exchanges or publishers. Many DSPs pull from data management platforms and enable real-time bidding to let advertisers buy programmatically, reaching the right users at the right moment. Conversely, publishers can use supply-side platforms (SSPs) to programmatically sell their ad inventory to interested buyers.
  • Ad exchanges, which are used to carry out the transactions made by DSPs and SSPs, and essentially make the sale.
  • Ad servers, which do the actual placing of ads in the right spot at the right time. For example, an ad server might deliver a display ad at the top of an article or a banner in the middle of an email newsletter.

While AdTech platforms can yield large quantities of customer data, it’s important to understand that the data is often anonymous and not as personalized as data driven from MarTech platforms. That’s why AdTech has built a reputation for being disruptive to the customer experience. It’s often used to mine customer data through third-party cookies, which can feel invasive, and then segment that data to launch targeted online advertising campaigns, which don’t always match up with user interests and behaviors.

That’s why the convergence of AdTech and MarTech is so crucial!

The convergence of MarTech and AdTech is crucial! Click here to download our ebook and read more about it. 

MadTech takes what marketers need from each type of technology and syncs them into a super-powered tool for audience engagement.

MadTech: The best of both worlds

MadTech platforms — like PowerInbox — take the best features from AdTech and MarTech and combine them into a single, comprehensive platform. The goal of MadTech is to drive audience engagement by delivering the most relevant messaging through customers’ favorite channels at just the right time — when they’re active and interested in hearing from you.

PowerInbox helps publishers and brands harness the most engaging channels — like email, push notifications, websites, and news reader apps — to build multichannel strategies that nurture direct relationships and drive revenue.

There’s nothing “mad” about that, right? 

In fact, you’d have to be a bit crazy to deny the oncoming MadTech revolution and miss out on valuable opportunities to increase personalization at scale.

Are you ready to make the most of MadTech? Contact us today to learn more.

MadTech eBook

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Your direct-sold ads in email that easily translates into money. How? Check out AdServer for Email.

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Get the inside track on the latest AdTech & MarTech news, trends and strategies.

Blog Form

Your direct-sold ads in email that easily translates into money. How? Check out AdServer for Email.

Drive revenue in every email you send. Learn how with RevenueStripe.