MarTech and Social Media

Marketers are under increasing pressure these days both to come up with creative campaigns that convert customers, and to show how those campaigns work. Conversions and revenues are the language of success, and MarTech platforms have to speak it. That’s as true of social media marketing as any other channel.

While the standard platform can show how a particular campaign on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn led customers to click on a given post or Tweet, the best ones are able to analyze the clickstream data to show how many clickers visited the sales page or even made a purchase. In the end, marketers want to see what social engagement is worth.

But in social media, it’s not always simple to see or understand the connection between an e-mail campaign and the click-through rate on a corresponding landing page.

Shifting APIs

Social media APIs offer the opportunity to build bridges between social media platforms and MarTech platforms. As social media becomes a marketing channel of choice, the opportunities are proliferating. In April, Pinterest announced that it would offer API access to 10 marketing partners that develop social media management programs. Facebook and Twitter have been doing so for some time, and those APIs offer content tagging, publishing optimization and other tools that marketers will be looking for.

But the social media ecosystem is changing all the time. When a social media platform changes, APIs and systems that process their data must change, too.

Facebook’s APIs change often enough, and sometimes they change in significant, even disruptive ways. For instance, apps used to be able to gather friend data, such as location, relationship status or work history. But when Facebook changed its API to limit marketers’ access to users’ private data, that data was no more.

Shifting Data

It isn’t just the APIs. As platforms adjust their business models and offer new capabilities, the very data they gather changes, prompting adjustments from the apps that analyze it. Until now, raw Twitter data has been available through resellers, but at the end of the summer, it won’t be. As a result, apps like HAWQ or DataSift will no longer be able to analyze Twitter data in the same way.

It may be obvious that MarTech platforms must integrate capabilities for streaming social media data for ROI analysis. What’s less obvious, however, is that they must be ready for the constant stream of changes that come with the rich data that marketers are looking for.

Top 5 Tech Challenges for MarTech

MarTech platforms are revolutionizing the world of marketing, but they must overcome certain challenges before they can truly deliver on what MarTech promises.

Managing Customer Data

MarTech’s  premier selling point is that it can gather and utilize vast amounts of data for analysis, targeting, outreach and customer conversion. But like other technology providers, MarTech companies entrusted with clients’ customer, prospect and other data must be able to handle it appropriately. They must be able to guarantee its security and privacy, and have the bandwidth to batch it for analysis or stream it for real time.

Leveraging Legacy Systems

The MarTech pioneer systems, like bulk e-mail management or CRM, were designed to solve a relatively narrow set of problems—at a much different scale and velocity then we’re now confronted with. Today, these systems’ older languages, frameworks and technologies make it harder for them to expand and remain competitive, but that doesn’t mean the value and investment tied up in them is lost. The challenge is to improve them with new data architectures and analytical tools, and to make strategic code upgrades, all while expanding to new channels. This might mean migrating parts of these legacy systems to noSQL or Hadoop, thereby expanding the systems’ reach with modern data pipelines and making them broader and smarter.

Delivering Actionable Data

In the early days of both AdTech and MarTech, many companies’ biggest challenge was to gather data, any data, about customers and prospects’ behavior. But as their data-gathering ability has grown, the new challenge is to figure out how to use it. It is no longer enough to promise the ability to assemble mountains of information; manual and machine learning approaches must be able to deliver meaning and predictive value from analysis of that data.

Scalability, Fault Tolerance and Latency

MarTech systems must deliver high throughput, low latency and fault tolerance. In MarTech, the pipeline is key; the more data a platform can handle, the more successful its marketing campaigns will be. Systems that aren’t scalable will become choke points, and any system with high latency or significant faults will wreak havoc on the delicately timed interplay between data and outreach.

Integrating Data Types and Sources

AdTech succeeds when it’s able to connect Exchanges, Ad Servers, DSPs and other data sources into an ecosystem out of which that actionable data can be pulled. But MarTech creates its own ecosystem by integrating data sources and automation activity with its CRM, Social, Content as well as those same AdTech partners. Without that integration, MarTech cannot offer the Universal Profiles and 360° Views of prospects and customers that give marketers opportunities all along the buying journey. Proper and wide integration is crucial to maximize data access and its usability in informing marketing engagement activity.

MarTech and AdTech: A New Symbiosis

AdTech has been bringing its users actionable data for years, enabling precision-guided ads that deliver the clicks, sales and ROI that companies want. But marketing professionals and platform vendors have been realizing there are many more applications for that data than “just” advertising. MarTech is building quickly on what AdTech has accomplished—and taking it to new heights.

Although advertising has been a part of marketing historically, they often occupied separate silos—in that companies relied on in-house marketing departments, which in turn employed ad agencies for their advertising. With the rise of AdTech, those agencies could provide companies with actionable data about how many people clicked on ads, who those clickers were and whether those clickers became buyers.

Cue the data management platform (DMP), which pulls information from AdTech, CRM, online activity, and other databases to integrate it and make it actionable elsewhere. The DMP has helped MarTech take advantage of—and contribute to—a company’s data about its actual and potential customers and their behavior. The resulting data sharing is breaking down barriers between the two technologies, allowing advertising to work in harmony with lead nurturing and lifecycle management.

As those barriers come down, MarTech benefits from AdTech’s groundbreaking technology practices in several ways.

Leveraging consumer data. For a long time, MarTech data was limited to page views and clicks, which is where AdTech got its start—at least in demonstrating publisher’s value to buyers.

But MarTech has been turning to AdTech and its innovative, large-scale data pipelines to learn how to gather more valuable insight such as what demographics are viewing and clicking, how engaged users are, and what the prospects are for creating more personalized experiences that offer the right incentives to the right customers.

Like AdTech users, MarTech users rely on analytics to understand visitor behavior so future campaigns can be more precisely tailored for particular demographics and users. The back-end systems designed to achieve these data insight driven campaigns, which AdTech is known for, can and are being mirrored in MarTech.

Automation. Programmatic buying is the hottest topic in advertising. Massive amounts of user data inform the incredibly complex auctions that ad buyers and sellers use to place ads for maximum impact and ROI. Now MarTech is applying those principles of programmatic ad buying to execute MarTech automation. Everything from responsive social interaction, personalized content recommendation, email campaigns, and customized subscription management  is being fueled in great part by the lessons learned (and systems built) in AdTech.

Third-party integration. Taking its cue from AdTech, whose success is contingent on connecting DSPs, SSPs, Ad Servers and Exchanges (like Facebook Exchange, DoubleClick by Google, and AppNexus), MarTech is weaving together large ecosystems to maximize data access and usage as well as integrated engagement activity. Pulling data and automating activity with CRM, Social, Content and AdTech partners means MarTech can provide businesses with Universal Profiles and 360˚ Views of prospects and customers throughout the buying journey, which in turn may allow marketers to reach and serve their audiences more effectively than ever before.

Who can say what’s next for these siblings? The only certainty is that AdTech and MarTech will continue to get smarter, and so will the companies that take advantage of their work.

Filling the Developer Talent Gap in the Ad Tech Market


NEW YORK, April 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ – The growing demand for Thumbtack Technology’s ad tech group has driven the New York-based software development firm to exceed its quarterly projections for the 5th straight quarter, and solidified the company’s position as a leading development partner for advertising technology firms.

Thumbtack Technology ( has had an average annual growth rate of 39% for the past 3 years, with a remarkable 48.5% in 2014. In Q1 of 2015 Mark Leibowitz, Head of Sales, closed large development deals with 3 additional key players in the digital media market. This new business puts Thumbtack ahead of the curve on its already rapid growth trajectory for 2015.

“The digital ad space hinges on processing billions of transactions, seamless and secure integrations across dozens of networks and platforms all while leveraging reams of user data – it truly requires deep domain expertise on the part of developers, far beyond familiarity with the stack du jour,” explains Leibowitz. “As this market continues to heat up, companies are seeking out experienced development partners like us that they can trust.”

Buying and selling digital advertising via automated platforms and/or real time bidding auctions (known as programmatic advertising) is expected to reach $22 billion globally in 2015, accounting for 50% of all online and mobile display ad spend, according to Magna Global. With strong roots in the NoSQL and Big Data communities, Thumbtack Technology is one of few development firms with expertise in real time bidding and programmatic platforms, and has increased its internal resources 40% each year to meet the demand.

About: Thumbtack Technology, led by CEO and Principal Solutions Architect Benjamin Engber, has been at the forefront of large scale, high performance web development for over a decade, setting the bar for both backend excellence and innovative applications. Thumbtack Technology currently has an international team of over 120 highly skilled engineers and business strategists located in the United States and Eastern Europe.

Media Contact:
Elizabeth Gallagher