People often ask me what the most popular news topics are on VentureBeat. Some answers might not surprise you: Google vs. Apple, Facebook vs. Twitter, or Microsoft vs. everyone. These are classic tech industry stories: Godzilla vs. King Kong-type battles over platforms and markets that affect everyone.

But one answer often surprises people — stories about marketing tech have, over the past year, turned into some of the most surprisingly popular posts on VentureBeat.

A few examples: Alpine Data Labs’ Bruno Aziza’s post on “Why marketing isn’t marketing any more“; VB author John Koetsier’s post on Google’s fading fortunes in mobile game monetization; Koetsier’s post — based on an analysis by Datanyze of 11 million websites — on the marketshare of marketing-automation companies like Hubspot, Eloqua, and Marketo.

And then, just today, there’s this post on how Networked Insights is helping Samsung beat Apple.

We’ve also published hard-hitting coverage of shenanigans in the mobile advertising industry, with Richard Reilly’s posts on Supercell terminating its relationship with ad partner Appia, Reilly’s coverage of the FTC’s increasingly hard line on marketing to children online, and Koetsier’s stories on click fraud on Facebook.

These stories are taking off because the market is taking off. In fact, we’re seeing a significant increase in the quantity and variety of technologies available to help companies improve their marketing. At last count, 947 companies were offering marketing-tech products of various kinds, in 43 different categories.

Be they data collection and analysis tools (a big topic of discussions today at our DataBeat conference); marketing automation tools that help companies increase the quality and quantity of their sales leads; or advertising analytics and real-time-bidding systems that help optimize your ad spending — all of these technologies, and many more, are sprouting up and trying to solve marketers’ problems for them.

And no wonder. Marketing used to be more art than science, focused on the creative aspects of branding and advertising, with results measured in squishy terms: awareness, interest, desire, action. No more: Marketing now is a highly data-driven project, as online ads and consumers generate torrents of data that companies can capture to analyze ad performance, optimize their sales pipelines, and measure how effectively they are reaching their target customers.

As we are learning at DataBeat, marketing tech — wisely deployed — can deliver real, concrete results to a company’s bottom line. Increasing revenue or opening up new customer markets translates into cash, making it possible to apply real return-on-investment calculations on this kind of tech.

And that’s why marketing tech has taken off as a popular topic on VentureBeat: Lots of our readers want to know about it, because it can make a real difference to the life and health of their companies.

As a result, we’ve created a new channel devoted specifically to marketing technologies. We’re happy to have the support of Bizo, whose ads appear on this channel, in making this launch happen.

Of course, with so many different companies, the market is also quite complicated — and probably ripe for consolidation. That means the next few years are going to be interesting, as billions of dollars change hands and whole markets get captured — or lost.

I’m looking forward to watching this market grow and evolve. There are a lot of stories to be told. I hope you’ll join in and follow along as we tell them.

Read more: Marketing technology on VentureBeat