We finally found the key to navigating 919 Ads & Promotions tools, by analyzing 200+ real-life marketing technology stacks. Marketers first invest in Social Media, followed by Advertisements, Programmatic Ad Buying, Video Advertising and finally PR.
The Marketing Technology Supergraphic contains 7,040 tools spread over 70 subcategories. This is simply too much to take in. If we are not careful, marketers might think the field of martech is too complicated altogether, and might not capitalize on its huge potential.
In six blog posts, we will explore which tools other companies are using, so you can identify how your company’s stack compares – where it overlaps and where gaps are. If you are over-equipped in a specific area, you might be able to cut out some tools and accompanying costs. And if you are under-equipped, you have a great opportunity to improve your marketing efforts. Want to contribute to the ongoing Martech Benchmark research? Submit your stack now.
Before we dive into “Ads & Promotions”, you might want to learn how this blog post fits into the bigger picture of our research, and why we believe marketing ‘Jobs to be done’ are key to marketing success in general. If so, please read more here.
If you are interested in how the Martech market has developed over the years, including the “Ads & Promotions” category, read all about Martech Consolidation here.
When reading the research results please bear in mind that the research population is leaning towards SME B2B technology companies with between 25-1,000 staff members and yearly turnover of 10-50 million dollars.
Now, without further ado, let’s get into it!
These 5 Ads & Promotions ‘Jobs to be done’ are Key to Marketing Success
The individual tool names of the Martech Supergraphic can tell us what tools are dominant, and which of their capabilities are vital for running marketing activities.
The subcategory names of the Martech Supergraphic are close to describing marketing tasks, processes or ‘Jobs to be done’. They can be a starting point for learning to navigate the Supergraphic.
What are Ads & Promotions tools used most for?
1a. Search & Social Advertising – Organic
These tools tools are clearly ranking highest. We have split the large “Search & Social Advertising” group into two sections: Paid and Organic. We should mention that SEO tools are not included as they are categorized in a different category: Content & Experience.
It might appear inconsistent to talk about organic in a mainly ‘paid’ category. The reason is that Social Media platforms like Facebook are categorized as Search & Social Advertising tools, while no advertising costs are incurred. As soon as media budget is spent on ads, stack owners specifically mention Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Ads as such.
The ‘Job to be done’ for marketers is to generate awareness, exposure or even generate leads through advertising on Search Engines and on Social Media networks. According to our data, the majority of companies is taking this route (almost 60%).
Three big Social Media channels are used in more than 60% of stacks. Unsurprisingly, the three big Social Media channels, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are heading up the Ads & Promotions section. The fact that LinkedIn ends up first is surprising though. We believe it is the direct result of the fact that we mainly research B2B stacks. In the startup world, your Minimum Viable Product does not even have to be (fully) developed before getting your message out on those channels. It is the perfect place to test messaging.
1b. Search & Social Advertising – Paid
Social media advertising spending makes up 10% of total marketing budgets today, and is set to almost double in the coming 5 years. That said, 62% say Facebook ads routinely miss their target and generate poor-quality leads. Search advertising is one of the most popular options for advertisers, despite the increasing cost of PPC on platforms like Google Adwords.
Paid media such as Google Adwords, Bing Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and Facebook Ads are less often used than the big social platforms. While almost all companies utilize social media, a small percentage choose to actively advertise their product or service. We should bear in mind that companies first have to be active on these social platforms before doing paid ads. If you don’t have a facebook, Linkedin or twitter audience, doing paid ads might not make sense.
Because SME B2B Tech organizations are overrepresented in our stack population, we can assume that for large companies paid advertising may be handled by a media buying agency and therefore, the adtech apps aren’t required.
We can imagine that some of the companies that sent in their stack don’t quite have the budget for paid ads yet, or simply prefer to expand their voice organically. As social algorithms continue to change, like Facebook reducing reach for business accounts, we anticipate businesses to increase adoption of these social ad platforms. Or perhaps, as strange as it sounds, some might even consider abandoning social media entirely? Here you can immerse yourself into Digital Media Buying and Selling.
A word of caution, from researching the Stackies visuals it is not always 100% clear how the marketers use certain tools, e.g. Whether they use Facebook as a Social & Relationship tool including customer service or as a Paid Media channel.
2. Video Advertising
Although video advertising is a form of Social Advertising, it is a separate Job to be done, as different capabilities and suppliers are required. There are many tools that support (programmatic) ad buying and placement on video platforms. However we have to note that for the popularity of this specific subcategory Youtube is solely responsible. Probably due to the size and composition of our reserach population, the video ad buying tools are not mentioned often.
So far we mainly talked about social posts, a text and a visual. If pictures say more than a thousand words, moving pictures probably speak ‘volumes’. That explains why YouTube (Video Marketing) and Pinterest and Instagram closely follow the Big Three.
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3. Display & Programmatic Advertising
Then, when social operations get more complex, marketers feel the need to automate their ad buying processes to scale up their social monitoring and influencing game. Strikingly, the alternatives for the Google Display Network (GDN), called Demand-Side Platform (DSP) or Buy-Side Advertising platforms are not surfacing in our Display & Programmatic Advertising tool mentions.
AdRoll, Adobe Marketing Cloud and DoubleClick (acquired by Google) support marketers with automated and optimized ad buying. It is interesting to see that stack owners continue to use outdated tool names. For example, as of 2017, it is called Adobe Experience Cloud and the subcloud for this use case is “Adobe Advertising Cloud”. The new “Adobe Marketing Cloud” only covers web, email and testing.
Nevertheless, these tools help to attract and convert visitors to websites with display ads, social, email, video ads and more. They are strongly positioned right after the big media channels. The logical explanation for this could be that once marketing teams have their Social Media channels covered and expanded into advertising, they need to get a grip on their ad buying process, budgets and ROI. Companies that don’t even use paid ads certainly won’t need tools like Adroll, hence the smaller percentage of companies using it. But if you do paid advertising it makes sense to use these tools to ensure the customer data belongs to you.
For some companies, there is a need for using PR tools to ensure that not only news feeds and press releases are distributed in an automated fashion, but to make sure messages are covered by a specific (segment of) online or offline newspapers and magazines.
Three tools to influence public opinion show up on the list, Cision, Meltwater and Disqus. The first two improve your relationship with a broad spectrum of the media. With the stack population in mind, we can imagine that large companies often use PR firms to publish their releases and may not need a PR app. Smaller firms may want to do it themselves.
5. Native Advertising
In the slipstream of PR tools, Native Advertising tools support the management of paid ads that match the look, feel and function of the media format in which they appear.
Disqus helps you to directly influence your audience by mastering the skills of managing reviews and commenting. Outbrain is a content distribution tool that runs on websites. Some of the content recommended by Outbrain link back to the publisher’s content. The publishers pay Outbrain for clicks, and Outbrain pays the publisher on which the links appeared.
How to walk the 5 stages of Ads & Promotions ‘Jobs to be done’
- Get the word out with Social Media (1a)
- Expand your reach with Paid Advertising (1b)
- Increase content engagement with Video Advertising (2)
- Optimize ad ROI with Programmatic Ad Buying (3)
- Manage (offline) brand sentiment with PR tools (4)
- Reach hard to influence segments with Native/Content Advertising (5)
So, that is it for this Supergraphic category. If you are ready to get to grips with the next category, Content & Experience, stay tuned!
If you want to contribute to the ongoing Martech Benchmark research, submit your stack now. You’ll receive an automatically generated, personalized report in minutes.
If you’re really getting the hang of it, email Frans to talk about a MarTech training from MartechAcademy.
Lastly, a huge thank you to our magnificent and ever-growing review panel.
Annika Werner, Carlos Doughty, Carmine Basil, Danielle Balestra, Doug Kessler, Hans van der Meulen, Huib Stad, Iban Rios, Julia Valentine, Kirsten Wildberger, Maarten Rijswijk, Marinka Eekman, Mark Wakelin, Matthieu Vermeulen, Mayer Becker, Mayur Soni, Michael Sweeney, Moni Oloyede, Nikki Kyriakopoulos, Odd Morten Sørensen, Peter Krmpotic, Peter Meijers, Rene Steiner, Roel Seegers, Scott Sweeney, Simon Daniels, Sree Vattikuti, Stacy Falkman, Travis Martin, Venkatesha(Venky) Murthy.
Important note: We see our stack population of 200 Martech stacks as a first indicator for which type of tools marketers use or need. We aim to distill a ‘Martech roadmap’ that outlines which tools marketers need to improve their Martech capability over time, as their company develops.
Please understand that our research population is mainly covering SME B2B technology companies with between 25-1,000 staff members and yearly turnover of 10-50 million dollars. We believe our research population is still too small to consider our results as a definitive answer on which tools are best. Rather, we encourage you to investigate the breath of alternative tools within (sub)categories.