Report: Gartner recognises the best adtech players in Magic Quadrant

The first Magic Quadrant report for adtech features MediaMath, Google, Adobe and Adform as top players

Your mantra for the 21t century, according to Gartner.
Your mantra for the 21t century, according to Gartner.

MediaMath, Google, Adobe, and Adform have been named leaders in Gartner’s latest Magic Quadrant for Adtech report, with The Trade Desk and Amobee as challengers.

The report focuses on the subset of ad tech that provides marketers with the basic technology required to execute digital ad buys and deliver digital ads across a range of channels. Gartner has identified key players offering foundational ad execution capabilities.

Gartner said in the report that the current ad tech market is undergoing a period of rapid change, and few markets are as "paradoxical as ad tech".

"The world’s largest advertisers have pummelled the market with charges of fraud and lack of transparency. Preventive technologies and privacy laws have struck at ad tech’s fundamental data practices. Concentration of market share in two of the world’s largest companies has boxed the market and limited the adoption of open standards. And many of ad tech’s early Wall Street stars have settled for disappointing exits," the research firm stated.

"Still, the market continues to attract a stream of new customers and secure eye-popping investments, and it’s poised to conquer the remaining bastion of old-world advertising - television.’

According to the report, one key dynamic driving the market is the aggressive entry of large telecom providers, such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, that have made significant investments in acquiring the technology and content to monetise with ad tech. While it's is too early to judge the impact of these investments, Gartner cited a shift from near-total reliance on audience targeting, which uses data about individuals to select which ads to buy, to more reliance on context and direct publisher relationships to select and optimise ad spots. This applies especially to high-growth video and mobile video formats.

Another influencer is the rise of header bidding, which grants publishers more flexibility to optimise across various demand sources and private markets, Gartner said. "This improves market efficiency by cutting out intermediary fees and offering buyers more transparency," it stated.

What's more, new restrictions put in place by Google and Facebook on the use of data outside their networks are leading marketers to take a fresh look at open standards, while standards bodies such the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) evolve standards to meet more stringent privacy and consent requirements, Gartner said.

The emergence of Amazon in the advertising landscape is set to further disrupt the current incumbent advertising platforms. Experimental platforms that use blockchain, AI and other emerging technologies also have the potential to, once again, disrupt the flow of billions of dollars in ad investments, the research firm statement.

Along with the above, Oath has been recognised as a niche player, and Sizmek has been named a visionary.

Adform was recognised for its integrated, modular design, responsive and flexible service and global, privacy centric credentials. Adobe was recognised for its integration across TV, search and social channels, its cross-cloud integrations, and support. Amobee has strong end-user training, data partnerships, and consumer intelligence, while Google for its access to data and inventory, industry leadership, and advance capabilities.

MediaMath was recognised for its transparency, AI features, and product roadmap; while Oath for its audience data, omnichannel publishing connections, and platform level optimisation.

Sizmek was also highlighted for its workflow efficiency, performance marketing excellence and ability to serve the SMB market. Finally, the Trade Desk was recognised for its enthusiastic references, advance features and dependability and support.

This is the first version of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Adtech. The qualify, vendors needed average quarterly media billings in excess of US$1 billion a year, at least 15 enterprise clients with revenue exceeding $2 billion a year and digital media budgets exceeding $100 million. Vendors also needed at least five new enterprise accounts signed within the last 12 months, and to have at least 70 per cent of revenue from software licensing rather than managed services or media sales/resales. In addition, at least 25 per cent of client mix needed to be end user rather than agency.

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