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Most Marketers Adjust Their Tech Stacks Once or Twice Per Year

DSPs and data aggregators are among vendors being culled

The marketing tech landscape is constantly shifting, but some marketers drag their feet in updating the services they use.

In a Walker Sands Communications survey of 300 US marketers conducted in Q1 2018, 53% of respondents said they adjust their tech stacks once or twice per year. Just over one-fifth reported adding new products to their tech stacks at least once per month. And one in 10 said they never implement new marketing tech products.

An adjustment that many marketers are making is reducing the number of programmatic platforms they use to buy inventory. Pathmatics analyzed the top 100 advertisers on its platform and found that two years ago, on average, advertisers ran at least 1% of their ad spend through about seven different demand-side platforms (DSPs) each month. But now they only use about four DSPs per month.

Due to Facebook’s ongoing data-sharing scandal with Cambridge Analytica and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)—which stipulates that user data can be used only if that individual gives a company explicit permission—industry insiders have speculated that marketers will also pull back on their usage of third-party data vendors. After Facebook announced it was shutting down its Partner Categories, which enables third-party data providers to offer their targeting directly on the platform, data aggregator Acxiom saw its stock drop 23% over the following week. (Acxiom seems to have rebounded fine and is getting acquired by ad agency holding company Interpublic Group for a reported $2.3 billion.)

One type of vendor that has benefited from advertisers’ data concerns is the customer data platform (CDP), which is used to store people’s data. CDPs deal exclusively with first-party data and have doubled in number year over year, according to MarTech Today’s industry landscape.

Over one-third of the marketers surveyed by Walker Sands said they have a formal methodology for reviewing their tech stacks. Among the roughly two-thirds that don’t have a formal process, most plan to implement one.

Interested in learning more about how advertisers are navigating the way they use vendors? Look for our upcoming report, "Making the Most of Marketing Data," which is slated to publish in early August.