AdTech vs MarTech: 5 Differences You Should Know

AdTech and MarTech are two terms that are used a lot in the digital marketing space. Unfortunately, most people have no clue what they are or how they are different from one another. By understanding their differences, you can take a more efficient approach towards your marketing strategy.

AdTech vs MarTech: 5 Differences You Should Know

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You don’t have to be in the digital marketing world very long before you are likely to hear the terms “AdTech” and “MarTech”. 

These terms refer to the various types of technologies that are used to help a brand succeed in the digital space.

Although incorrectly, you’ve probably heard AdTech and MarTech used interchangeably. 

Though they are not without their similarities, they are different from one another. Thanks to advancements in recent years in technology, there is no clear-cut line of distinction between AdTech and MarTech.

To truly understand what distinguishes AdTech from MarTech, you must be willing to dig a little deeper and understand what they both are and what they have to offer.

So, if you’re ready, let’s dig in. Here is a look at what you’ll learn below:

    What is AdTech?

    In simple terms, AdTech is Advertising Technology, which refers to the advertising campaign, its advertisements, and any related and relevant data and metrics, such as views, acquisitions, impressions, and the like.

    It basically consists of everything that a company or advertiser can use to create and run an advertising campaign, as well as manage and measure the performance of that campaign.

    AdTech is considered one of the quickest growing industries worldwide after securing approximately $800 billion worth of business in the United States in 2019.

    Consider this: advertising is a subset of marketing, and because of this, AdTech is a subcategory of MarTech. There is just more of a focus on specific solutions.

    Some examples of these platforms within the AdTech space include:

    • Ad Exchanges
    • Data Management Platforms (DMPs)
    • Demand-side Platforms (DSPs)
    • Supply-side Platforms (SSPs)

    What is MarTech?

    Put simply, MarTech is Marketing Technology, which refers to any technology that can be used to create a digital marketing campaign as early as lead capture and all throughout the buyer’s journey to the conversion of a prospect.

    It basically consists of everything that a company or marketer needs to plan, execute, monitor, and streamline their marketing efforts.

    There are well over 8,000 different types of MarTech solutions, and this number keeps growing almost every day. 

    Some popular tools used within the MarTech space include:

    • Content Marketing Platforms
    • CRM Software
    • Social Media Management Software
    • E-mail Marketing Software
    • Digital Analytics Tools

    AdTech vs MarTech: What is the Difference?

    AdTech and MarTech are very closely related, and this is why people likely often get confused. However, there are distinct differences between the two, and these distinctions are important.

    Ultimately, the main difference comes down to the roles they play within a company’s digital marketing strategy. 

    They both have their separate platforms, and they operate differently.

    Therefore, it is crucial you understand how they are different so you can use them wisely. In doing so, you can ensure you are working on your digital marketing strategy as efficiently as possible. 

    You can further assign the necessary resources and budget to the proper departments, run the right campaigns on the most appropriate platforms, and simply see the bigger picture.

    With that being said, let’s dive into some of the specifics of their differences.

    #1: Role They Play

    AdTech focuses on creating an improved and more relevant advertising campaign. 

    With the various AdTech tools at your disposal, you can more successfully identify the platforms and approaches you should take while gathering data from each campaign that allows you to ensure your paid campaigns are reaching your target audience.

    MarTech, however, focuses on developing and growing leads, improving conversions, and forming relationships with customers. 

    It consists of social media marketing, personalized content, and earned media.

    #2: Type of Media

    AdTech refers to paid media, which can include the following:

    • Display Ads
    • PPC
    • Promoted Social Media Posts

    MarTech refers to unpaid media, which can include the following:

    There are some instances where there can be some crossover between the two, such as when you are on social media and using traditional posts (unpaid) and also using promoted posts (paid).

    Of course, it is imperative that you understand the difference between paid and unpaid media, as it can help your marketing team plan the campaign’s activities more effectively, especially when it comes to the overall marketing budget.

    #3: Platforms Used

    When it comes to online marketing and advertising, there is a multitude of platforms involved. 

    These platforms are designed to support specific functions, and most are unique to each of their respective fields. 

    The capabilities of each platform can often let you know whether it is designed for AdTech or MarTech.

    For instance, AdTech platforms focus on the demand side of things that will operate an advertising campaign or purchase advertisement inventory and sell it, whereas MarTech platforms focus on the customer relationship side of things from attracting them to understanding them.

    #4: Target Audience

    Once a relationship has been formed with a prospect, MarTech is used to keep that relationship going. 

    Therefore, there has already been some form of interaction between the customer and the brand when MarTech is used.

    At some point or another, data has been collected on the prospect, including name, e-mail, and other identifying information like purchase history. 

    This data allows a one-to-one open line of communication that is more personal than what can be offered with AdTech.

    With AdTech, however, it is more of a one-to-many approach that is taken. 

    More often than not, the brand has yet to be noticed and may even be completely unknown to the consumer, which is where AdTech solutions come into play, introducing the brand to potential customers (brand awareness).

    This is when some of the AdTech analytics tools can be extremely beneficial, as they can help you identify where your advertising campaign is strong and where it is weak. 

    Clickthrough rates and viewing numbers are just a couple of the analytics that can be measured.

    #5: Billing Model

    More often than not, MarTech solutions are paid for based on a monthly fixed subscription fee and are delivered via the cloud. 

    This makes these solutions, which are often SaaS (Software as a Service), simple and predictable for your marketing budget. 

    In addition, MarTech companies will usually sell their services or software directly to marketers.

    However, AdTech solutions can change from one billing cycle to the next. 

    While they may be based on a fixed fee, they tend to work off of metrics like CPM. Sometimes, advertising agencies bill with a commission on top of the regular ad spend of the CPM. 

    AdTech companies tend to sell their products to a broader market than MarTech, including advertising and media agencies.

    AdTech vs MarTech: Can They Work Together?

    One of the reasons that people get MarTech and AdTech confused with one another is because the lines can get blurred every once in a while. 

    Rather than using the two individually, a lot of companies have come to the conclusion that the two together can offer incredible benefits.

    When AdTech and MarTech tools are used in combination with one another, businesses can get a complete look at their overall digital marketing strategy. 

    Many of the MarTech tools have started to offer similar functionalities that were once only available in the AdTech solutions.

    As the habits of consumers continue to change and become tailored to the digital world, this is all more important than ever before.

    AdTech platforms can be utilized to determine a buyer’s journey on a brand’s website. 

    With this information, an advertising campaign can be used to target customers based specifically on the data previously gathered. 

    This offers a more personalized approach and ensures that you are targeting what the prospective customer truly wants and needs at that given time.

    When AdTech and MarTech are used together, you can further improve your advertising and marketing efforts so they are tailored to your audience and their digital behavior. 

    In the end, you reap a high return on your marketing investment.

    Wrap Up

    Although there are very distinct differences between AdTech and MarTech, as well as benefits when they are used on their own, these can be used with one another to reap even more benefits.

    When you are looking to take your brand to new heights, combining your AdTech and MarTech efforts can allow you to see the bigger picture when it comes to your target market and overall digital marketing strategy.

    Before long, the seamless syncing of these two digital technologies will be the holy grail that every advertiser and marketer is looking for, as it will provide brands with the power of knowing what customers want and need before they ever have a chance to realize it themselves.

    Take this MarTech Stack Evaluation to determine where you stand with MarTech and what your next steps should be.


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