Talk of the ad tech and martech merger has been growing in volume for several years, often rather clumsily condensed to ‘mad-tech’, but how far along are we and what is really driving the merger?

At a recent Which-50 roundtable some of Australia’s leading martech and ad tech executives discussed these issues, with the general agreement that the merger is well advanced, even if different reasons were offered for the trends.

The great promise of a merger is that it takes the best facets of both worlds, said Group M director, technical operations, Timothy Whitfield.

“You can really take that consumer view, the benefit you get out of martech, and that audience amplification, the benefit you get out of ad tech, and start merging them together,” he said.

“I think we’re right in the middle of that wave right now and I’d say in the next year or two, with all the M and A that’s happening, all the technology that’s proliferating, you’re certainly going to see a much tighter integration between ad tech and martech.”

According to Whitfield, the two are drawing closer and closer together, thanks to technology, which allows the integration of once autonomous data silos.

“Syncing pixels, emails to pixel, cross device. This sort of middleware of technology started to exist,” Whitfield said.

“Once that technology existed in-between, then all of a sudden data could freely flow between ad tech and martech.”


The technology also had to be consistent between the two, according to Ben Sharp, vice president and managing director APAC, for AdRoll.

“Technology is partly becoming commoditised and it’s much easier to transfer the technology between those two areas of marketing and ad tech,” he told Which-50.

Sharp said the merger presented opportunities that AdRoll simply couldn’t pass up. As an ad tech platform, AdRoll is constantly looking for “new products that are going to enable you to speak to your customers in a much deeper fashion,” Sharp said. Adding that incorporating martech into their product was a key differentiator in an increasingly crowded ad tech marketplace.

“The feedback we hear from the market is that we should innovate and start to blend some of these other things that we have access to,” he said.

“The data within ad tech and in parts of the martech world is very similar. We’re talking about a customer. We’re talking about how to best engage that customer.”

Mathew Barnett, head of marketing at Triad Retail Media said the data convergence was driving the merge, but convergence alone wasn’t enough and success would only come from its utilisation.

“For the brand marketers it’s really about utilising their data. That not only means pushing that data into paid media, but also looking at how they can use it to create a more personalised experience for their customers,” he said.


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