The adtech and martech divide is no more

Paige Murphy
By Paige Murphy | 1 July 2019
Keith Eadie

The “clichéd convergence” of adtech and martech has finally come to fruition, according to Keith Eadie, who heads Adobe Advertising Cloud. 

Eadie told AdNews that despite being a hot topic over the last five years, the industry is only now witnessing it truly in action.

“We obviously feel like we’re making the right bets in terms of enabling that technology for first-party data to be used more intelligently,” Eadie says, referring to Adobe’s Experience Cloud.

“I think that the next step that we’re obviously building towards is enabling advertising in general to be part of the overall marketing journey for a customer.”

Over the last few years, Adobe has ramped up its marketing and advertising offering with several acquisitions to create what is now known as Adobe Experience Cloud.

This includes the acquisition of B2B cloud-based marketing platform Marketo last year and video demand-side platform (DSP) TubeMogul – now known as Adobe Advertising Cloud – in 2017. 

The complete suite of tools includes Advertising Cloud, Analytics, Audience Manager, Campaign, Experience Manager, Magento Commerce Cloud and Marketo Engagement Platform. 

As the gap between adtech and martech diminishes, Eadie notes that having a single source of truth with customer data is imperative for brands to connect in the right way with consumers.

“That combination of the bridge between owned and paid - adtech and martech – is obviously going to be possible with the foundational layer of the Experience platform which has the unified customer profile in it,” he explains. 

“Then, all of the activation layers like Ad Cloud and Campaign are targeted to deliver personalised messaging to users as they move across different touchpoints with the brand.”

The personalisation versus privacy paradigm

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has begun to have a flow-on effect across the globe, changing the way advertisers can track and use data.

On the flip side, consumers are increasingly expecting a more personalised approach from brands. But how far is too far?

Eadie says the industry has done a “poor job” at protecting the privacy and data of users until now. Moving forward he thinks brands need to establish what kind of relationship they have with their customer.

“The real challenge over the last five years has been anonymised tracking of users as they go across multiple websites by numerous third-party data firms,” he says.

“I think we can assume we’re going to live in a new privacy paradigm from a third-party tracking and data consent perspective.”

He believes that it is up to companies like Adobe to pave the way by building the technology that enables brands to have flexibility surrounding the decisions they make about what the customer value exchange is.

“We have to build technology so that brands have the flexibility to manage different levels of personalisation,” he says.

“I think every brand in the world has to figure out what that value exchange is between them and a consumer. There’ll be lots of consumers that want a highly personalised, relevant and contextual journey with that brand.”

Protecting the brands

In addition to protecting consumer data, Eadie says Adobe is “psychotically aggressive” about brand safety. 

“We have a seven-year history in being on the cutting edge of brand safety,” he explains.

“Being a solely buy-side technology that wasn’t making money from the publisher side, didn’t own media et cetera, we could be very aggressive with brand safety because it was 100% aligned with the interests of our brands.”

He says that the company has integrated every third-party vendor with good technology which clients have asked for, gone after botnets and sent out cease and desist orders.

It also “proactively” offers refunds to any client who is exposed to ad fraud that its system was not able to block.

“Between a very low level of fraudulent activity on the site because of all the credit technology plus the proactive refunds, you essentially eradicate the concern that a brand has to have around that because you’re dealing with it in those two ways.” 

The industry’s next big challenge?

While adland has been grappling with data dilemmas and brand safety for a number of years, Eadie says the industry’s next challenge is to work on turning emerging channels like connected TV (CTV) into a “compelling” investment medium.

“They make the targeting and measurement of advertising - all those core elements of what advertising effectiveness requires to be done well – much more challenging because they’re new devices and those technologies haven’t been defined,” he says. 

Noting the path an emerging channel takes, Eadie explains that once popular among consumers, advertisers begin to seek out ways to spend their digital ad dollars within the medium. 

He says Advertising Cloud is hoping to be a driver to help both advertisers and publishers use first-party data across emerging channels.

“We have a vision to again extend that first-party data activation into these emerging channels like connected TV that really haven’t been first-party data driven yet,” he says.

“[We will] work with our publishing partners to do a better audience match between their data and the brand’s first-party data for better media effectiveness in video.”

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