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Forrester Wave: Social ad tech tools are still an ‘immature’ category
The research firm expects social management vendors, DSPs and marketing clouds will build their own or buy many of the standalone providers.
Forrester is out this week with a Wave report on a class of marketing tools that it expects won’t last much longer: social ad tech.
“The Forrester Wave: Social Advertising Technology, Q3 2017” (fee or client membership required) is the first such report about social ad tech that the research firm has conducted since 2013. Since that time, author Jessica Liu emailed me, the number of players has changed and grown but “the space remains fragmented and characteristic of an emerging technology landscape — despite existing for years.”
She characterized this space as “immature with many startups [and] few vendors managing meaningful social ad budgets,” even though social ad spending overall has grown.
In fact, she predicted, this “won’t exist as its own category for long.” Social media management tools like Hootsuite, omnichannel demand-side platforms like MediaMath and marketing clouds like Adobe, she said, will acquire standalone solutions or replace them with their own homegrown versions.
Although Liu counted 144 social ad solutions in the vendor partners for the major social networks — including agencies as well as ad tech companies — the report focused on only five that it considers “most significant”: 4C, Brand Networks, Kenshoo, Nanigans and Sprinklr.
It analyzed the capabilities, strategy and market presence of these five and determined that Sprinklr and Brand Networks were the leaders, Kenshoo and 4C were “competitive options,” and Nanigans “lags behind.”
The report notes that the two leaders offer social ad tech as one step in their climb toward becoming something much bigger.
When social media management platform Sprinklr added advertising, Forrester said, it “widened its social capabilities and positioned itself as a ‘foundational customer experience platform‘ for brands.”
Social marketing/ad platform Brand Networks “acquired [ad tech tools] Optimal and Shift to expand its platform,” the report said, “and it’s not stopping there. Next up: creating an ‘open, data-rich platform to enable data-intensive open digital decisioning'” that is integrated with other tools for marketing measurement and optimization, business intelligence and customer relationship management.