Ad-tech versus Mar-tech

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Okay, since I’ve started my internship hunt, I think it would be convenient to share with you guys my career interest while reviewing my knowledge in the field.Today’s topic is gonna be the difference between Ad-tech and Mar-tech and how they’ve been changing the way brands reach their customers. Let’s get started.

First of all, What do Ad-tech and Mar-tech even mean? And who am I to talk about these things?

Please keep in mind that when I say Ad-tech and/or Mar-tech, it should be understood in Digital/Online context, not traditional newspapers, not TV (well might be applicable for smart TVs tho). 

1st Disclaimer: I’m not an expert, but I’ve hovered over various positions in an Ad-tech firm and a Digital solutions provider (that why I have a love-hate relationship for startups, you could be anybody or no one at all lol), from Market research, Product Development to Media Consulting, then Business Development land even QA *surprised* ?. So if you think you know a little bit of this and a little of that, this post is right for you.

2nd Disclaimer: I did some research before composing this post, citations are included so you guys could cross-check.

Now, Ad-tech 

To put it simple, Ad-tech is the industry that employs technology to make advertising transaction online1. This includes Creative (which most of us know as Banner ads, Video ads…), Platforms (Supply Side, Buy Side, Data Management…) with the back-end that enables Advertisers to target their audiences.2

So, who involves in this part? I bet you’ll find plenty of these names familiar:

  • Publishers: Basically all Internet content providers who monetize their media: Bloggers (not me, yet), E-news, Streaming sites (even porn sites), creator from monetizable platforms (Youtube, Daily motion), App Developers and more.
  • Advertisers: Brands including App Developers 
  • 3rd Party Data: Who piles a lot of user information, categorizes and sells it as the core or part of their business: Lotame, Amazon…
  • Ad-tech companies: of course. They share part of the cake from Advertiser’s pocket and Publishers rarely find out how much. Could be 30%, could be 50% or could be more. Who are they really? Google, Youtube, Facebook and tons of names that you might’ve never heard of. I’ll talk about them in later posts.

Okay, time for a descriptive example:? Before Ad-tech, how an X brand ad appears on an e-news? X team first needs to reach that news Advertising dept, negotiate for a slot for 2 weeks without being able to control who will see it, for how many times a day, or even if she/he is in the country that X offers campaign. What about now, with even a smaller amount of money,  X team could hire an Agency to deliver that Banner across different sites, different channels and devices, targeting audience demographics, capping imps per user per day and more importantly, able to track that campaign’s conversion rate, all thanks to Ad-tech


Same goes for Mar-tech, it’s a combination between Marketing and Technology to reach a certain market target, including Marketing process management, content development and customer analysis. 3

Who involves in this field?

  • CRM platforms: Customer relationship management. I only know Salesforce lol
  • Agency: The main players, handling from Creative desgin, Media plan to Ads distribution 
  • SEO, SEM: I think you guys know better than me in these fields ?

Still, what are the differences between Ad-tech and Mar-tech?

A lot of people might come to the conclusion that Ad-tech is a subset of Mar-tech. But, for me (and a great number of experts), it is best to approach these two industries from different angles. Here are some reasons:

Firstly, they focus on different goals, Ad-tech is more about Brand-Awareness while Mar-tech generally aims for Brand-building. I would say that for SME firms, especially for App Developers who cares most about impressions, click through rate and ultimately conversion, Ad-tech would be the best strategy to approach their audiences since it needs less money and/or less sophisticated planning.4

Secondly, they focus on different targets. Ad-tech target anonymous audience who could be translated into their customers. Mar-tech, on the other hand, cares about their known customers, okay maybe not known as in a database, but known cookies.

Thirdly, they have different ways to approach their targets. Ad-tech incorporates both primary and third-party data. Mar-tech re-targets using their in-house database.5

To conclude, Mar-tech and Ad-tech surely overlaps but are not the same thing and should be utilized for different purposes depending on a brand’s strategy.

P/s: To Headhunters: Next time when I say I’m interested in working for Ad-tech firms, do not ask me So, What Marketing Job You Are Specifically Interested In? or We’re looking for Salesperson and we found you perfectly fit. Piss me off!

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