Clearcode’s Top AdTech & MarTech Posts Of 2017


Our Newsletter

Get AdTech & MarTech resources sent straight to your inbox

We respect your privacy. Learn more here.

2017 was certainly a very busy year for the AdTech & MarTech industries. The headlines were populated by topics like AI, acquisitions, consolidation, and header bidding, but by far the most shared and commented topics were (and will arguably be in 2018) the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the importance of data ownership.

The mighty GDPR will come into force on the 25th of May 2018, and it’s very important for all publishers and AdTech companies everywhere to understand its impact and comply. But this was just one of the many themes of 2017 in the online advertising and marketing industries.

For those of you needing a quick recap of the big stories, we’ve compiled a list of our most popular blog posts from last year. Here are our top articles published in 2017.

1. Don’t Fret – the GDPR Is a Good Thing for AdTech

Over the years, advertising companies and data providers have been adding more and more trackers (i.e. third-party cookies) to websites in a bid to gain a deeper understanding of online users and their behavior.

This practice went on for some time before the scope and scale of these data collection and tracking activities got out of control. Users started to push back by installing browser plugins like Ghostery, browsing the Internet using Private/Incognito mode, and downloading ad-blocking software to block advertising and third-party trackers.

Legislative institutions in the European Union have also kept a close eye on the way companies collect, store, and use personal data. The concerns resulted in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Don’t Fret – the GDPR Is a Good Thing for AdTech was a post we originally wrote for It explains how companies can spin GDPR into a good thing and make it ultimately benefit the industry.

2. Transparency in Ad Tech: The Problems, Fallouts, and Solutions

Transparency seems to be the final frontier for AdTech; however, a number of things need to happen in order for any real change to occur. The problem does not relate to fees (hidden or otherwise) — it also covers a number of other issues such as ad fraud, traffic, measurement, and viewability.
For the most part, setting the stage for complete transparency involves consolidating platforms and reducing various fees charged by every single AdTech vendor and intermediary, and for companies to actually start being transparent and upfront about fees, traffic, quality, etc., but at the same time offering value that outweighs them.

Although complete transparency is still years away, we’ve written this post to discuss the areas for improvement.

3. The History of the Advertising Agency: From Print to the Internet

While advertising agencies have always been a key element to advertising campaigns, their role has been threatened by the emergence and growing popularity of advertising technology, also known as AdTech. However, by tapping into the potential of AdTech and enormous amounts of data, agencies can hold their ground and remain an indispensable partner for each brand—something they’ve been doing for over 230 years.

In this post, we took a closer look at the history of the advertising agency, how its role has changed since the introduction of the Internet, the challenges it has faced, and how agencies have overcome them.

4. How Do First-Price and Second-Price Auctions Work in Online Advertising?

The second-price auction model is the bread and butter in the programmatic world. For years, it has allowed advertisers to bid high prices to secure impressions, but ultimately pay a much lower price. However, due to recent trends in the AdTech industry, we are witnessing a steady transition to a model similar to the first-price auction.

Our post traces the roots of this change, and discusses the difference between first- and second-price auctions.

5. What Is Intelligent Tracking Prevention and How Does It Work?

Apple has built a strong reputation as a leader in tech innovation, but has also stayed at the forefront of user privacy protection. With its most recent update of iOS 11 and Safari, the company is taking the privacy of its customers one step further with a brand new feature known as Intelligent Tracking Prevention.

Intelligent Tracking Prevention is a new feature of Webkit, an engine powering Apple’s Safari web browser shipped out in the new release of Safari 11 and iOS 11. Our post goes into the nitty-gritty.

6. Benefits of Building Custom AdTech & MarTech Platforms

“Custom” is the name of the game, and not jumping on the bandwagon means missing out on an opportunity to gain a competitive edge. Increasing focus on privacy, transparency, customization, economy, and efficiency call for an imminent transition from run-of-the-mill AdTech to bespoke solutions. The step may no longer be an extravagant whim, but a common-sense decision.

The decision to either build custom AdTech/MarTech from scratch or integrate with other existing platforms and gain access to more inventory and data has to be backed by business considerations, but with clear vision of what’s needed, one cannot go wrong.

We’ve written this post to introduce you to the benefits of building custom AdTech and MarTech platforms compared to out-of-the-box solutions.

7. Predictive Vs Rules-Based Personalization: What’s The Difference?

Content personalization is a method of making the website experience equally relevant for everyone visiting. This basically involves tailoring the website’s content to accommodate each user’s preferences. Predictive personalization is certainly a potent method to craft a user-centered experience.

In this post, we discuss specific differences between rules-based and predictive personalization and their specific applications for creating personalized website experience.

8. What is Look-alike Modeling and How Does it Work?

Look-alike modeling is essentially finding groups of people (audiences) who look and act like your best, most profitable customers. For example, let’s say you run an ecommerce store and you’ve identified that your best audience are people whose average purchase is over $100, buy cosmetics and perfumes, and make a purchase at least twice a month; look-alike modeling would allow you to find more people like that.

9. What is Account-Based Marketing (ABM) and How Does It Work?

ABM is a business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategy that focuses on identifying accounts (i.e. companies) that match your ideal clients and targets the key decision makers at those companies with personalized messages and content.

ABM pulls marketing and sales teams together to focus their efforts on pre-identified accounts, rather than applying traditional targeting methods to campaigns.
Our post guides you through the key steps in creating an account-based marketing funnel and correctly leveraging it for gaining new clients.

10. What is Video Header Bidding and How Does it Work?

Header bidding is a way for publishers to receive bids on their display inventory from demand sources before ad calls are sent to their DFP ad server, thus minimizing bidding inefficiencies and maximizing profit. The reason for this was to avoid the common situation where the DFP would favor bids from Google’s ad exchange (AdX), meaning non-Google demand sources would often miss out on bidding on or purchasing the publisher’s inventory, even though they were willing to pay more for it.

Since then, header bidding has morphed into a game changer for not only display advertising, but for video as well and as a result. We cover the novel concept in our blog post.

11. What is Ads.txt and How Does It Work?

Ad fraud has been a constant theme of online advertising and has often showed little sign of slowing down. Industry research reveals that it costs the digital ecosystem about $6 billion per year, with many online advertising companies completely unaware that it’s even happening.

For years, companies have looked at a range of possible solutions to combat this billion-dollar problem, even turning to blockchain for some inspiration, but as they say, sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ones. An IAB project called ads.txt is an example of this, and we wrote a blog post to clue you it.

12. What Are VAST, VPAID, VMAP, and MRAID?

Video advertising is one of the fastest-growing areas of online advertising, with digital-video advertising expected to experience double-digit growth every year through 2020.
However, as more advertisers explore the online video advertising space, and publishers open up their inventory to video ads, the confusion around how videos are served and played grows, but the methods used to serve video ads are different than those used for serving traditional display ads, and this difference is often a cause for confusion among advertisers and publishers.

We wrote a post on the four important terms used in online video ad serving — VAST, VPAID, VMAP, MRAID — to explain what they all mean, how they work, and outline their benefits and features.

Reading recommendation

Read our online book

The AdTech Book by Clearcode

Learn about the platforms, processes, and players that make up the digital advertising industry.

Mike Sweeney

Head of Marketing

“The AdTech Book is the result
of our many years of experience in designing and developing advertising and marketing technologies for clients.”

Find out how we can help you with your project

Schedule a call with us today and find out how we can help you with your AdTech or MarTech development project.