Latest Gartner adtech report shows two vendor maturity paths

Analyst firm's latest Magic Quadrant for adtech led by Google, Adobe, The Trade Desk, Amobee, MediaMath and Adform

The latest Gartner Adtech Magic Quadrant has been released and shows Google, Adobe, The Trade Desk, Amobee, MediaMath and Adform leading the way.

The report focuses on adtech players that offer technology for managing digital advertising across channels including functionality around targeting, campaign design, media buying, analysis, optimisation and automation. Gartner analysed 14 vendors in total and noted offerings are falling into two camps.

On one hand, vendors are actively participating as advertising sellers as well as technology management providers. Digital giants, such as Google and Amazon, as well as media owners, such as AT&T and Verizon, fall into this dimension. The second group of players are pursuing a more converged vision of media buying across traditional, digital and emerging TV channels, the analyst firm said.

Featured in the adtech leadership quadrant both for their ability to execute as well as completeness of vision are Google, The Trade Desk, Amobee, Adobe, MediaMath and Adform.

Google was noted for strengths in extensible, advanced analytics tools and automation features meeting basic through to fully customisable advertiser needs. Gartner said its Display and Video 360 offerings also provide aggregate data from Google’s massive dataset for audience profile analysis and targeting, while its dominant position in the ecosystem was undisputed. However, regulatory threats over antitrust concerns in the US and UK plus the closed environment were raised as cautions.

The Trade Desk was highlighted for its advanced bid optimisation capabilities, support and diverse partnerships, while cautions included the complexity of the platform, cost and its programmatic-centric TV strategy.

Amobee, which was previously in the challenger quarter, was recognised for products broadly focused on converged advertising across TV, digital and social channels. The vendor’s product strategy, full-funnel perspective and focus on multi-brand advertisers were all considered strengths. Potential challenges included the learning curve required to adopting the adtech vendor’s solutions, plus campaign piloting challenges.

Adobe retained its leadership quadrant position for completeness of vision, martech integration, geographic footprint and channel and partnership support including one of the few adtech platforms including paid search as a first-class channel. Cautions included sales execution and pricing, the need to connect into the full Adobe Experience Cloud to realise total value, and self-service challenges.

MediaMath’s TerminalOne products, broadly focused on programmatic advertising, were highlighted by Gartner for inventory quality, brand focus and analytics orientation. Cautions included unsophisticated integrated video capabilities compared to competitors, market uncertainty and decline in paying customers.

Adform Integrated Advertising Platform’s strengths, meanwhile, included interoperable products, a flexible identity solution including tracking tools from its tag management solution and ad server, and dynamic creative. Cautions included the lag in updating its user experience, a weaker geographic strategy and lack of an OTT/CTV strategy.

Featured in the strong challenger quadrant of Gartner’s AdTech Magic Quadrant are Amazon, Criteo, Xandr and Centro. Niche players on the challenger front are Zeta Global and Verizon Media, while the visionaries lagging behind leaders for ability to execute but recognised for vision are Mediaocean and Beeswax.

“Amid a perfect story of adversity in advertising markets, 74 per cent of marketers optimistically expect to increase spending on digital advertising in the next 12 months,” Gartner noted in its report. At the same time, the adtech market faces unprecedented disruption on several fronts, from privacy laws and dropping of cookies to the impact of COVID-19 on spend.

“Marketers will need to double down on verification and performance metrics to ensure their ad investments are reaching real people. Adtech, as well, has a long way to go to address the many problems that continue to plague its beleaguered innovations,” Gartner stated.  

In order to be considered for the adtech report, vendors needed to have managed over 10 billion ad impressions in fiscal year 2019, offer a self-service user interface for marketers supporting media buying, have at least 10 current, referenceable enterprise clients, support for display, video and at least two additional marketing channels (such as OTT/CTV, linear TV, social native, audio or out-of-home) and named partners for ad verification and certified measurement.

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