Why we care about adtech: The complete guide

The increase for advertising and marketing expertise has not left behind promoting expertise, or adtech, however the digital acceleration wrought by the COVID pandemic has sped issues up extra. In truth, between the third quarter of 2020 and the third quarter of 2021, there was a 125% increase in M&A activity for adtech platforms, together with a number of high-profile offers in 2021 like Mediaocean’s acquisition of Flashtalking for $500 million and AdTheorent’s $1 billion SPAC deal to go public.

Advertisers are keen to spend money on adtech for its capability to draw a audience and generate robust insights. But, there may be another excuse entrepreneurs are taking a recent have a look at these applied sciences.

The pending loss of third-party cookies means contextual promoting will turn out to be extra essential than up to now and adtech is important to entrepreneurs who’re in search of methods to entry prospects via contextual information.

Adtech additionally provides entrepreneurs unimaginable attain because it connects them to all media. These applied sciences are particularly highly effective as most media transforms to digital or digital-first.

This guide is supposed to provide entrepreneurs a complete overview of not solely what adtech is, however how it’s evolving and shaping the way forward for advertising and marketing. We’ll cowl:

Estimated studying time: 14 minutes

What is adtech?

Advertising expertise describes the software program and the instruments utilized by advertisers to ship focused digital adverts to customers. Adtech goals to create data-driven advertising and marketing methods tailor-made to match the audience’s preferences. It streamlines the more and more complicated processes of buying and selling digital advertisements and permits manufacturers to make the very best use of their funds, maximizing their ROI.

Adtech consists of varied instruments and applied sciences that assist advertisers, businesses, and types obtain better effectivity, focused attain, and real-time evaluation and optimization. It can assist entrepreneurs enhance omnichannel engagement by focusing on prospects throughout many channels. What’s extra, adtech might embody programmatic technologies that use automation to reinforce the media shopping for course of.

Ultimately, adtech is a set of applied sciences and platforms manufacturers and businesses can use to optimize their promoting operations. Successful campaigns use it to glean actionable information and ship audiences essentially the most related adverts.

The elements of adtech

Advertising expertise is comparatively simple, however there are just a few key elements that present why it’s a terrific asset for manufacturers.

Programmatic ad-buying

Adtech makes use of programmatic advert shopping for to extend the effectivity and attain of digital promoting. At its core, programmatic advert shopping for is software-driven expertise that seeks to automate all or components of the advert shopping for course of that had been beforehand completed manually. This has two advantages:

  • Ad shopping for effectivity: Programmatic promoting improves the velocity and scale of the advert shopping for course of. This velocity can’t be achieved manually. 
  • Ad focusing on relevancy: Programmatic promoting permits advertisers to embed giant quantities of knowledge from a number of sources. This results in customers seeing extra related adverts primarily based on their psychographic, demographic, and behavioral patterns. As customers see extra related adverts, click-through charges enhance, resulting in a greater ROI.

Programmatic ad-buying makes selections relating to the location and shopping for of adverts utilizing AI and real-time bidding (RTB) for on-line show, cell, and video campaigns.

Programmatic ad-buying makes it simpler to focus on your supreme viewers because you’re basically shopping for advert area that reaches a targeted demographic as a substitute of buying a first-rate time TV spot and hoping your goal market is watching. Programmatic ad-buying additionally provides firms a novel and real-time perception into the attain of their commercials. So, in flip, it ensures environment friendly spending and improves branding.

Finally, programmatic branding is often cheaper than traditional alternatives and is an effective floor for experimentation. For instance, you can use YouTube adverts to check their effectiveness and use the outcomes that can assist you resolve which adverts to air on TV.

Unfortunately, programmatic promoting continues to be prone to a good share of fraud. Ad fraud sometimes refers back to the following:

  • The presence of non-human site visitors, which may vary from easy to stylish bots to even completely botnet servers.
  • Zero % viewability attributable to invisible adverts, arbitrage, area spoofing, web site bundling, click on farms, and so on.
  • Intentionally misrepresented ads.

The open nature of programmatic promoting might, sadly, enable bad-faith actors to defile and actively cheat the system. Since anybody can provide or purchase an advert, it runs the danger of fraud, which these bad-faith actors get away with since advert fraud legal guidelines are but murky in lots of international locations.

Demand and supply-side platforms

Adtech contains two major platforms: demand and supply-side. While demand-side platforms (DSPs) are utilized by digital promoting patrons to handle programmatic advert shopping for, supply-side platforms (SSPs) are utilized by publishers to promote digital adverts in on-line auctions.

demand and supply side platform process in adtech

Demand-side platforms. DSPs automate the ad-buying course of by deciding how a lot to bid on an advert impression in real-time. This determination is made the moment an advert impression is on the market on a writer’s web site or app, relying on the advertiser’s necessities. DSPs typically use the outcomes of advert clicks, resembling ROI and value per acquisition, to make sure advert campaigns are optimized.

They scale back the necessity for fixed forwards and backwards communication between advertisers and publishers, growing the effectivity of the advert shopping for course of. DSPs analyze the very best advert impressions in addition to the value at which they need to be purchased via real-time bidding (RTB). This complete course of takes only a few milliseconds.

If you might be confused about the variations between DSPs and Google’s AdWords, listed below are just a few key differentiators:

  • The extent of their attain: DSPs can attain over 15 billion impressions a day, a quantity that AdPhrases doesn’t come near. 
  • Targeting choices: The focusing on capability of DSPs is extra superior than AdPhrases on account of real-time bidding.
  • Data freshness and granularity: Advertisers can verify the efficiency of their campaigns higher via DSPs.
  • Pricing: The pricing mechanism is completely different. AdPhrases features on a CPC mannequin.
  • Accessibility: While DSPs are tough to make use of for many firms due to the excessive month-to-month minimums, AdPhrases is comparatively simpler due to the convenience of use and the CPC (price per click on) mannequin.

Some of the main gamers within the DSP market are XandrAudienceScienceMediaMath, and LiveRamp. Some firms even have company buying and selling desks (ATDs), which in essence act as in-house DSPs.

Supply-side platforms. Supply-side platforms (SSP), or yield-optimizing platforms, are primarily utilized by digital publishers to handle the sale of their promoting provide whereas maximizing costs. SSPs are much like their demand-side counterparts, however as a substitute, they’re designed for publishers to promote advert impressions on the highest CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions).

SSPs function by opening up publishers’ inventories to bidding from advertisers on advert exchanges and advert networks. The core precept is to drive up costs of advert impressions by inviting a lot of bidders. This finally yields increased CPMs.

By automating the method of promoting adverts, SSPs enhance the useful effectivity of the method in two methods. Firstly, they lower out the necessity for conventional back-and-forth negotiations between publishers and advertisers, making the method sooner and cheaper. And secondly, they permit publishers to make use of a considerable amount of information that isn’t out there within the guide shopping for course of.

While many SSPs have amassed publishers whose inventories they handle and promote (successfully appearing as an advert trade), they aren’t the identical as advert exchanges. For instance, SSPs typically connect with a number of advert exchanges, advert networks, and DSPs. They additionally grant publishers the power to set worth flooring on some bids or make some stock unique to particular patrons.

How is adtech altering the advertising and marketing panorama?

Some argue that promoting, and adtech by extension, refer to buying media for publicity to potential prospects. On the opposite hand, advertising and marketing implies the communication of services with identifiable prospects and customers. In different phrases, adtech is for media buys, and martech is for customer personalization.

But customers don’t distinguish between adtech and martech. Most customers work together with manufacturers throughout a number of touchpoints and like to obtain a seamless, coherent model message throughout all platforms. It, due to this fact, is sensible for promoting and advertising and marketing groups to affix forces. For instance, companies might use CRM data to advertise model consciousness campaigns or personalize web sites utilizing adtech information administration platforms or DMPs.

The distinctive perception into buyer information supplied by martech stacks can be utilized in adtech via e mail deal with, bodily deal with, IP deal with, or UDID to succeed in prospects on the proper time. The difficulty is that this information is commonly separated from the adtech stack on account of division silos — a remnant of non-digital media. But, with growing privateness issues, entrepreneurs should develop extra people-centric options to get buy-in.

People-centric advertising and marketing

People-centric advertising and marketing combines adtech and advertising and marketing expertise and may attain potential prospects by integrating their particular person preferences and previous conduct into commercials. This technique seeks to optimize gross sales and will increase the probabilities of eliciting a optimistic response from prospects.

This data-driven strategy goals to foster model loyalty amongst current prospects whereas additionally interesting to new ones. However, that is doable provided that the advertising and marketing technique adopted by the model focuses on using information to succeed in their prospects fairly than choosing extra conventional approaches.

Improving addressability and eliminating silos

Addressable promoting refers back to the promoting that hyperlinks particular person customers with manufacturers throughout a number of on-line channels, social media, OTT, and so on. This is a direct final result of the personalization of advert content material – since customers are used to adverts being particularly focused at them, something that falls wanting this metric shall be rendered ineffective.

Advertisers might present their advert businesses or in-house DSPs with extra correct measures of their stock and applications. In mixture with programmatic ad-buying, the end result can be genuinely addressable impressions that might finally generate income and gross sales.

Adtech can create people-centric advertising and marketing platforms by using particular person and family information about demographics, buy historical past, digital engagement, and different attributes like consumption of media. This can hyperlink the model’s current buyer information, third-party information, and advert platform person information to create a people-centric technique for promoting. The retargeting and engagement potential of such a mixture can rework campaigns.

The challenges of adtech

Despite being the subsequent huge factor in advertising and marketing and having proven unimaginable ROI, one of many important causes manufacturers have chosen to remain distant from adtech up to now is monopolization. Google and Facebook retain their positions because the dominant forces within the adtech sector.

Both Google and Facebook have taken an enormous lead in adtech by amassing huge quantities of knowledge. And whereas the price of promoting on Facebook fell throughout the pandemic, it has begun quickly rising once more. Facebook additionally confronted criticism on account of allegedly misrepresenting data to make their advert spots appear extra profitable to manufacturers.

But no firm can match Google of their acquisition of person information. It controls a lot of advert platforms and marketplaces for advert transactions, together with YouTube. And Meta isn’t far behind.

The result’s that many advertisers are compelled to make offers with Google and different giant advertisers because of the lack of viable alternate options.

The dying of the third-party cookie

For many many years now, entrepreneurs have relied on third-party cookies to trace and retailer client information on-line. In 2019, Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) and Firefox’s Enhanced Tracking Protection (ETP) began blocking third-party cookies by default. In the identical 12 months, Google Chrome provided customers the power to dam cookies on web sites they go to. While Google’s preliminary plan was to deprecate cookies by 2022, they’ve not too long ago up to date their plans to part out cookies by 2023.

Google is the main collector of person information. Users’ info is tracked any time they watch a video, flick through posts on-line, and even casually surf the online. Given Google’s dominance within the promoting market and management of over 63% of the browser market, their elective model of the ITP will certainly spell dying for third-party cookies.

Since this transition might put them beneath fireplace from antitrust legal guidelines, Google has been cautious in advertising and marketing their model of the ITP as a privateness profit to customers. Engineering VP Prabhakar Raghavan explained this shift in a blog post: “Our expertise exhibits that individuals choose adverts which are personalised to their wants and pursuits—however provided that these adverts provide transparency, alternative, and management.”

So, what occurs within the absence of third-party cookies?

Contextual advert focusing on

GDPR, CCPA, and different information privateness rules spell the top of behavioral viewers focusing on, leaving many entrepreneurs looking for alternate options. Enter contextual advert focusing on, an promoting methodology that makes use of the digital content material audiences expertise to serve up related adverts.

Contextual promoting isn’t a brand new idea, however new machine studying and pure language processing (NLP) capabilities have opened up new alternatives. GumGum, a contextual promoting firm, and SPARK Neuro, a neuroanalytics firm, carried out a study on simply how efficient this course of might be. Using biometric sensors to watch contributors’ mind exercise whereas viewing articles with ads related to the content, the research discovered that these adverts generated 43% extra neural engagement and a pair of.2 occasions higher advert recall.

It ought to be famous that contextual promoting isn’t simply about offering related advert content material – entrepreneurs ought to think about which sorts of adverts will carry out finest primarily based on system, time, location, and different components. Identity resolution technology can assist make sure the insights gained from audiences are correct and actionable, permitting for better advert contextualization and personalization.


Identity decision just isn’t solely vital to advertising and marketing success however is important for compliance with client privateness legal guidelines resembling CCPA and GDPR. Explore the platforms important to id decision within the newest version of this MarTech Intelligence Report.

Click here to download!


First-party cookies

First-party cookies have been important to the web-browsing expertise for some time now. They are codes generated and saved on a model’s web site each time a person visits the positioning. First-party cookies are sometimes important to a person’s net looking expertise.

First-party cookies are used to recollect passwords, fundamental info, and preferences. They are paramount to most e-commerce web sites; for instance, when customers save an merchandise of their cart on Amazon, they anticipate to see the identical cart upon logging again in. However, within the absence of first-party cookies, the cart can be refreshed and empty each time they go to Amazon.

The deprecation of the cookie refers solely to the third-party cookies, leaving first-part cookies as a method of gathering person info comparatively untouched. This permits entrepreneurs to proceed accessing and storing person info and use it of their adverts.

Consent administration platforms

Consent management platforms (CMPs) will nonetheless be related within the advertising and marketing sphere, with a better emphasis on person consent and privateness. It has been seen that prospects who limit the data they share with manufacturers present better ROI for advertisers.

The demise of cookies doesn’t imply an absence of person information assortment. As Zack Meszaros, advertising and marketing privateness engineer at OneTrust PreferenceChoice, says: “It’s [the death of cookies] not equal to the dying of us gathering info … a few of that first- and zero-party information we get might nonetheless be shared with third events.”

CMPs enable entrepreneurs to construct proprietary information units from info that customers have consented to half with. Clearly, information assortment will proceed even when it isn’t within the third-party format.

What is the way forward for adtech?

The consolidation of promoting expertise with adtech holds immense potential. Advertising is a particularly dynamic trade, and consistently adapting to the occasions is the one method for entrepreneurs to outlive and thrive.

Personalized adverts make all of the distinction and are an integral a part of the shopper journey. But, to make sure this messaging resonates with audiences, manufacturers should depend on applied sciences that ship actionable first-party buyer information and insights. We consider adtech instruments and platforms will proceed to undertake better privateness compliance and information consolidation functionalities to assist manufacturers join with their goal markets. In truth, we already see the big tech brands transferring on this route.

The data-driven, customer-centric strategy of adtech is the way forward for promoting. It results in extra related adverts for the customers and higher ROI for advertisers — a giant win-win situation for all!

Ways to study extra about adtech

The adtech panorama is in a state of fixed flux. The growing privateness issues, coupled with advancing digital applied sciences, means entrepreneurs want to concentrate on the belongings out there to maintain their campaigns going robust.

Here are some useful adtech sources that can assist you select the very best answer in your group:

If you’ve every other questions relating to adtech and the digital promoting panorama as an entire, we encourage you to discover our resource library.


About The Author

Akshat Biyani is a Contributing Editor to MarTech, a former analyst who has a robust curiosity in writing about expertise and its impact on advertising and marketing.

https://martech.org/why-we-care-about-adtech-the-complete-guide/

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