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Marketing Automation

Using AI to automate, enhance and optimize marketing activities

Overview

Marketing automation (popularly referred to as MarTech) refers to the tech-driven applications and tools used to enhance digital advertising and marketing functions.

Technological developments that have created new digital customer touchpoints have brought about new and varied forms of marketing. Enhancements in AI and machine learning (ML) have also broadened the scope of marketing automation tools—replacing or complementing marketing functions previously done exclusively by humans.

These developments together with shifting consumer preferences toward personalized experiences and online activities, firms of all sizes have turned to MarTech for their marketing needs.

What's driving this industry?
Market Sizing

The market size for marketing automation in the US is estimated to range between USD 33 billion and USD 77 billion by 2025

Conservative case

USD 32.8 Bn

Base case

USD 54.8 Bn

Expansion case

USD 76.8 Bn

USD billion203550658095202020212022202320242025
View details

COVID-19 IMPACT

  • Planned marketing budget allocation, as a % of total revenue, slashed to 6.4% in 2021 (compared to a seven-year average of 11%)—a record low.

  • While marketing automation is expected to continue to account for the highest allocation on the marketing budget (26.6% in 2021), tighter budgets mean that firms would be more vigilant in their spending.

  • Campaign automation, marketing management platforms, and CDPs are less likely to be impacted, given that they represent the underlying marketing infrastructure of a firm.

  • AdTech as well as marketing analysis and intelligence tools are expected to be more acutely impacted, as they may be deemed as “non-essential” and discretionary spending.

  • Separately, the shift towards digital channels has accelerated as a result of the pandemic, with digital marketing accounting for 72.2% of the marketing channels budget for 2021, which benefits marketing automation.

View detail

Market Mapping


AdTech and Marketing Campaign Automation remains the most active pieces of the MarTech Stack, while Data & Analytics have witnessed accelerated growth

AdTech and Marketing campaign Automation are the most established parts of the MarTech stack with search engine optimization (SEO) and email marketing remaining staple tools for marketers. With respect to AdTech, while investor interest in SEOs and search engine based marketing has been relatively muted with respect to fund raising activities, adTech tools such as account based marketing (ABM) and ad personalization tools have witnessed growing demand.

In addition, the Marketing Data & Analytics segment, in particular the CDP subsegment, has been experiencing an accelerated growth in response to the challenges brought about due to new regulations surrounding customer data privacy.

In contrast, disruptors activity is comparatively low in the marketing intelligence & management segment which typically faces competition from incumbents. Most incumbents position themselves as an all-in-one marketing solution, with a few disruptors compete in this space offering a cheaper and flexible alternative.

Incumbents
Growth
Early
Seed
Pre-Seed
AdTech
?
Marketing intelligence & management
?
Marketing campaign automation
?
Marketing data & analytics
?
Marketing cloud
?
ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign
Adobe
Snap
Bytedance (TikTok)
MediaMath
Rokt
Taboola
Yotpo
6sense
Magnite
Outbrain
Foursquare
Conductor
MNTN
GroundTruth
Sovrn
Drift
Marin Software
Birdeye
BrightEdge
Criteo
Searchmetrics
Uberflip
Semrush
Admix
Simpli.fi
TripleLift
Ahrefs
Direct Digital Holdings
Mutiny
Metadata.io
Firefly
LoopMe
Anzu.io
Bidstack
Cuebiq
ViralGains
Nyiax
Gumball
Good-Loop
Frameplay
Wagawin
AudioMob
Jarvis ML
DanAds
Promoted.ai
Gadsme
Trendemon
Tappx
MonetizeMore
Passendo
VideoByte
Adobe
Klaviyo
Soci
Welcome
Uberflip
Plannuh
Twillo
Attentive
Klaviyo
Zeta Global
ActiveCampaign
Iterable
Hootsuite
Innovid
Adjust
Campaign Monitor
MoEngage
Braze
Sprout Social
Drift
Sailthru
Sarbacane
ManyChat
Postscript
Emotive
Smartly.io
Audience.co
Mobiz
Adwisely
Otis AI
Epsilon
Tinuiti
Klaviyo
Zeta Global
Seedtag
Innovid
AppsFlyer
mParticle
Tealium
Adjust
Adverity
AIQ
Funnel
GumGum
Permutive
Zeotap
AcuityAds
InsideView
Adara
Lotame
Lytics
EDO
Cuebiq
ViralGains
Calibermind
ID5
Veridooh
ArcSpan
Synetiq
ID Ward
Oracle
SAP
Microsoft
Salesforce
Google
HubSpot
Sugar CRM
Zoho
Intuit
Sitecore
Bloomreach
Sendinblue
Acquia
Terminus
Demandbase
Act-on
Blueshift

The Disruptors


Disruptors offer 'Best of Breed' solutions to compete with incumbents marketing Clouds

The majority of startups focus on a specific segment of the MarTech stack, offering specialized tools to compete with the more general 'all-in-one' marketing cloud solutions offered by most incumbents. The largest startups in the space are at a growth stage with a number of them going on to be publicly listed. At the same time, there is a steady flow of early startups entering the sector, offering increasingly niche and specialized marketing automation tools.

AdTech

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Criteo
Public - Market cap USD 1.8 bn
Magnite
Public - Market cap USD 1.3 bn
Taboola
Public - Market cap USD 722.0 mn
Outbrain
Public - Market cap USD 328.8 mn
Bidstack
Public - Market cap USD 40.9 mn
Marin Software
Public - Market cap USD 31.4 mn
MediaMath
608
Rokt
487
Yotpo
436
6sense
426
Foursquare
390
Conductor
211
MNTN
184
GroundTruth
135
Sovrn
121
Drift
107
Birdeye
93
Mutiny
72
BrightEdge
62
Metadata.io
54
Firefly
54
Searchmetrics
46
Uberflip
42
Semrush
40
Anzu.io
37
Admix
36
Cuebiq
33
ViralGains
29
Simpli.fi
23
TripleLift
17
Nyiax
15
Gumball
12
Good-Loop
8
Frameplay
8
Wagawin
1
Ahrefs
Unknown
Direct Digital Holdings
Unknown
Watchlist
?
LoopMe
AudioMob
Jarvis ML
DanAds
Promoted.ai
Gadsme
Trendemon
Passendo
Tappx
MonetizeMore
VideoByte

Marketing intelligence & management

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Klaviyo
779
Soci
118
Welcome
109
Uberflip
42
Plannuh
8

Marketing campaign automation

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Braze
Public - Market cap USD 4.7 bn
Sprout Social
Public - Market cap USD 3.6 bn
Zeta Global
Public - Market cap USD 1.6 bn
Innovid
Public - Market cap USD 443.7 mn
Attentive
863
Klaviyo
779
ActiveCampaign
360
Iterable
342
Hootsuite
300
Adjust
256
Campaign Monitor
250
MoEngage
210
Drift
107
Postscript
106
Emotive
78
Sailthru
48
Sarbacane
27
ManyChat
23
Smartly.io
23
Audience.co
10
Watchlist
?
Mobiz
Adwisely
Otis AI

Marketing data & analytics

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Zeta Global
Public - Market cap USD 1.6 bn
Innovid
Public - Market cap USD 443.7 mn
AcuityAds
Public - Market cap USD 163.9 mn
Klaviyo
779
Seedtag
300
AppsFlyer
293
mParticle
272
Tealium
264
Adjust
256
Adverity
166
AIQ
145
Funnel
134
GumGum
134
Permutive
105
Zeotap
92
EDO
92
InsideView
76
Adara
67
Lotame
62
Lytics
58
Cuebiq
33
ViralGains
29
Calibermind
14
ID5
7
Veridooh
4
Watchlist
?
ArcSpan
Synetiq
ID Ward

Marketing cloud

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Bloomreach
422
Sendinblue
198
Acquia
174
Terminus
171
Demandbase
143
Act-on
94
Blueshift
65

Criteo

Criteo is a digital advertising firm based in France, providing solutions to marketers, brands, and retailers for creating awareness and driving sales. The firm offers an 1) AI-powered self-serve ad platform for managing and analyzing advertising campaigns across a variety of channels, 2) a retail media ad platform, a demand-side ad platform (DSP), and 3) an AI engine for ad personalization. As of June 2022, 22,000+ firms and 100+ global retailers were using Criteo’s services across a variety of industries including the top five holding companies as well as ~50% of the top 25 retailers in the US and EMEA which include brands such as Bloomingdale’s, Deliveroo, and Lowe’s Canada.

Criteo specializes in commerce media, leveraging commerce data to target customers through their shopping journeys. Its dynamic ad retargeting product can analyze customer activity and provide targeted product recommendations in real time and accounted for 72% of the firm’s revenue in Q3 2021. However, in recent years, given the growing challenges due to privacy concerns over the use of third-party cookies, the firm has been transitioning its clients towards its retail media platform. The platform contributed to the growth in its retail media solutions, which experienced a 58% YoY revenue growth in 2021 and added new clients during the year, including Lowe’s, Walmart Canada, Best Buy, Target, and Nordstrom.

In line with this, the firm has made a number of acquisitions in order to further develop its retail media ad platform, the most recent being 1) IPONWEB (ad marketplace platform) purchased for USD 380 million (December 2021) and 2) Mabaya (ad monetization tool for retailers) acquired in May 2021. The firm also partnered with Bluecore , a retail-specific marketing campaign automation platform to allow Sitecore’s users to leverage Bluecore’s customer predictive models (February 2022). 

Funding and financials

In 2021, Criteo recorded ex-TAC revenue (net of traffic acquisition cost) of USD 921 million (a 12% YoY growth) and an adjusted EBITDA margin of 35%. As of Q2 2022 , the firm expects to achieve ex-TAC revenue growth of +11% to 14% in constant currency terms and an EBITDA margin of 20% to 31% in 2022.The management also stated that it plans to enter into a definitive agreement for a 5-year revolving credit facility of EUR 407 million (~USD 418 million) in Q3 2022.    

In August 2022 it was reported that Criteo faces a potential USD 65 million fine 2158 from France’s data protection authority due to GDPR consent breach suite for the firm's suite of tracking techniques and data processing practices. The firm was also the subject of an investigation from the French Competition Authority. The firm stated that it had achieved a favorable decision from the authority and that the latter would restore Criteo’s partner status and partner access to Meta’s ad inventory globally. 

Segment:
AdTech
Total funding:
USD 61.0 million
Competitors:
Rokt, Taboola
Disruptor Funding History

AdTech:

Criteo
Magnite
Taboola
Outbrain
Bidstack
Marin Software
MediaMath
Rokt
Yotpo
6sense
Foursquare
Conductor
MNTN
GroundTruth
Sovrn
Drift
Birdeye
Mutiny
BrightEdge
Metadata.io
Firefly
Searchmetrics
Uberflip
Semrush
Anzu.io
Admix
Cuebiq
ViralGains
Simpli.fi
TripleLift
Nyiax
Gumball
Good-Loop
Frameplay
Wagawin
LoopMe
AudioMob
Jarvis ML
DanAds
Promoted.ai
Gadsme
Trendemon
Passendo
Tappx

Marketing intelligence & management:

Klaviyo
Soci
Welcome
Uberflip
Plannuh

Marketing campaign automation:

Braze
Sprout Social
Zeta Global
Innovid
Attentive
Klaviyo
ActiveCampaign
Iterable
Hootsuite
Adjust
Campaign Monitor
MoEngage
Drift
Postscript
Emotive
Sailthru
Sarbacane
ManyChat
Smartly.io
Audience.co
Mobiz
Adwisely
Otis AI

Incumbents


ERP and CRM giants offer marketing automation as part of their broader offerings

Global enterprise resource and planning (ERP) services have been extending the capabilities of their cloud computing platforms to include marketing solutions. Most of these platforms have been pieced together by both in-house developments and acquisitions, offering customers an all-in-one marketing solution. Most firms focus on business-to-business (B2B) solutions while some firms, such as Adobe, Oracle, and SAP, have extended their capabilities into the business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing space. ERP firms tend to have an edge over pure-play MarTech firms (particularly in the B2B space), given their ability to offer an integrated platform that connects to a firm’s sales, operations, accounting, and other functions provided by the ERP.

Popular customer relationship management (CRM) services, such as Salesforce, HubSpot, Sugar CRM, and Zoho, have also introduced solutions specific to marketing. As the unification of sales and marketing roles is a growing trend, CRMs (popular among sales teams) help bridge the information gap between the two teams via a single platform, giving such firms an edge.

Search engine operators such as Google and Bing (Microsoft), in addition to providing ad placement services, also offer their data analytics platforms. These have access to large customer data reserves for marketing teams. Meanwhile, ecommerce firms like Amazon and social media sites like Facebook have been improving the data analytics capabilities of their products to offer a more complete package.

A note on ad and marketing agencies: Ad and marketing agencies are external firms specializing in providing professional marketing services and have been mainstays in the marketing landscape for decades. Traditional marketing agencies (agencies that focus on traditional media channels and are typically owned by large holding companies) have witnessed a slowdown in their performance, while marketing automation has complemented the services of digital marketing agencies rather than completely replacing them. Many independent digital marketing agencies have positioned themselves to provide complete marketing solutions by developing their in-house marketing automation tools or partnering with marketing automation startups; others specialize in providing strategic consultancy services for marketing. A case in point is the marketing agency 3Q Digital, which provides complete digital market management solutions and strategic consulting.

Another service offered by marketing agencies is the implementation and training of marketers in the use of marketing automation, which has grown in complexity, while firms have cited a lack of know-how as a barrier to implementation. Adswerve is one such agency, offering a licensed marketing automation platform as well as implementation and onboarding services.

As such firms do not directly compete with the services offered by startups in the marketing automation space, we have excluded them as incumbents.

AdTech
Marketing intelligence & management
Marketing campaign automation
Marketing data & analytics
Marketing cloud
In House Development
M&A
Partnership
Investment
Oracle
SAP
Microsoft
Salesforce
Google
Adobe
HubSpot
Sugar CRM
Zoho
Intuit
Sitecore
Epsilon
Tinuiti
Twillo
Snap
Bytedance (TikTok)

Notable Investors


No investor data is available

Funding data are powered by Crunchbase
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