What’s The Difference Between AdTech And MarTech?

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When it comes to marketing a business through both paid and free methods, there are many terms that you will come across. Failure to learn more about what these terms mean could spell trouble for your advertising campaigns and even reduce the overall efficacy of the strategies you use. By acknowledging these different terms, you’ll be able to tell the difference between various systems and choose options that are most appropriate for your own business. We’re going to focus on the two terms AdTech and MarTech, in this article. There’s often confusion between the two, especially since some factors overlap. With this said, there are still ways to differentiate between AdTech and MarTech. 

Why Is There Confusion In The First Place?

In recent times, many people have become confused with the two terms AdTech and MarTech. There are numerous reasons for this confusion. When you think about the two terms, think about AdTech as an advertising-related process, whereas MarTech rather refers to marketing tactics. Unfortunately, there are so many overlapping areas between marketing and advertising that it can feel difficult to tell one apart from another. Many people also think about marketing and advertising as similar terms, which further contributes to the confusion that exists between MarTech and AdTech. 

The Role

To differentiate between AdTech and MarTech, it’s important to look at the roles that each of these platforms tend to serve. AdTech mostly focuses on advertising campaigns that you can run in order to promote your website or perhaps a specific program. The campaign and ads that are served both form part of AdTech platforms. Additionally, AdTech also comprises the metrics that are collected during the advertisement campaign. These metrics may include user count, views, impression count, and the number of acquisitions that the campaign provided. 

The Platforms

The platforms used in AdTech and MarTech are usually also not the same. This is due to the fact that advertising and marketing tend to have different goals in mind, and the same systems are not in place with both. With this said, there are some cases where a platform from one technology integrates with a platform of the other. This usually allows for more data to be fed to a specific platform, which enhances the efficacy of future campaigns or optimizations that are made to existing strategies. 

AdTech-Specific Platforms

There are a couple of platforms that fall within the AdTechn category. Each of these platforms has a specific role to fill and works in a certain way to ensure advertisers are able to effectively optimize their ad campaigns and improve the results that these strategies bring. 

Demand-Side Platform

Demand-side platforms are relatively common in AdTech systems. It’s a type of platform where media buyers and advertisers are connected to each other. Media buyers include websites and platforms that have ad spaces available on their online properties. Advertisers, on the other hand, include those individuals who want to run advertisements to promote their businesses. Generally, both the advertisers and the media buyers use a single platform that streamlines this connection process. Media is usually bought based on the number of impressions that the advertiser wants, but some may rather charge per click or conversion. A data management platform usually supplies the DSP with data that allows it to know where and when to display ads. 

Supply-Side Platform

A supply-side platform, also known as SSP, is another option that generally focuses on the listing of inventory space from publishers on ad exchanges. These platforms are usually connected to multiple ad exchanges at the same time. They usually help to list these inventory spaces automatically on multiple platforms to ensure maximum coverage and increase the chances of getting an advertiser to buy ad space from the publisher. Publishers can also get useful data surrounding their audience when they decide to list inventory space through a supply-side platform. 

Ad Exchange

An ad exchange usually includes the use of a dynamic system that ensures the process of buying inventory space is simplified for the advertiser while also making it easier for the publisher to sell their ad space. The buyer usually places an offer on a demand-side platform, whereas the seller lists their ads on a supply-side platform. The ad exchange is much like a middle point between a DSP and an SSP, where the connection is made. 

SEM Platforms

AdTech can also include SEM platforms, also known as search engine marketing systems. These systems generally allow advertisers to buy ad inventory space directly on the search engine. If a user enters a phrase or keyword that is related to the ad placed by the advertiser, then the ads will show up along with the other search results that the engine provides the user with. These platforms do not have a publisher involved as with an ad exchange since the search engine itself is the publisher’s selling space in search results. Thus, SEM platforms are generally classified as a demand-side systems. 

MarTech-Specific Platforms

AdTech generally focuses on factors like paid advertising, where the advertiser buys inventory from a publisher or a search engine. MarTech, on the other hand, rather focuses on marketing methods that do not require the same type of inventory system or the involvement of ad exchanges. There’s a large focus on on-site promotion and other techniques that can help to drive more traffic to a specific website or platform. 


Analytics is a great example of MarTech platforms. With AdTech, cookies are generally used to collect user data, which is then sent to a server in order to display the correct ads. With analytics, the focus is also on collecting data from users that land on a site, but the end goal is generally different. 

In terms of MarTech, analytics generally includes the implementation of code on a website, which then records data when users are browsing the site. This data is collected in a database and allows the website owner to access information about demographics, behavior, and more. 

Social Media Management

Social media platforms play an important role in marketing businesses in the modern day. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and many other social media platforms allow companies to reach new audiences and expand their ability to gain more leads and sales. Social media management platforms generally involve systems that give the website owner an opportunity to schedule social media posts and perform other tasks that automate the process of keeping their profiles active and involved. TapFusion, Hootsuite, and Buffer are all great examples of these platforms. 


The management of customers in a modern-day business is critical. This is where a CRM, or customer relationship management platform, comes into the picture. This system will help a company manage customer data and profiles, as well as sales data. 


When it comes to MarTech platforms, one important feature is personalization. This particular function allows companies to effectively customize dashboards in order to ensure only relevant data is displayed when they sign into the system. In turn, it reduces the amount of clutter that the company has to filter through while they access analytical solutions, a CRM, or perhaps their social media management platform. 

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is also sometimes considered to be part of MarTech. It involves technologies and systems that can effectively automate certain processes that are part of marketing. For example, the system may automatically send out emails to a list or post on social media at a scheduled time. 

The Billing Method

There are marketers that argue the billing method is what decides the classification between AdTech and MarTech. With AdTech, vendors and publishers will usually have a specific method of billing. For example, they may charge an ad-serving fee or data usage fee on a CPM basis, or a markup on the total amount you spend on advertising. MarTech, on the other hand, often includes once-off fees or monthly subscriptions. 

The Target

With AdTech, the target is usually not well-known. The prospects are targeted using their browser history, the identified behavior on various websites, and their location. With MarTech, the audience is more defined, such as a specific group of people who have followed the company’s page or profile on a social media network. Personal data and first-party cookie data generally form part of the information utilized in MarTech marketing strategies. 

The Media And Intermediaries

MarTech has a large focus on free marketing options, such as sending out emails, implementing search engine optimization on the website, or perhaps publishing to social media networks. On the other hand, AdTech is generally associated with advertisement strategies that require the advertiser to buy inventory space from the publisher in order to promote a service or the business itself. 


AdTech and MarTech each play their own role in helping businesses succeed, but it’s important to understand the differences that exist between them. AdTech generally refers to paid advertising methods where the advertiser buys ad space on the publisher’s website. MarTech rather involves those methods that are used to improve exposure for a website through SEO and social media marketing.

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