A Crash Course in DMPs


study_smallADOTAS – DMP: What is it? Why does it matter? And why should you care?

There has been a lot of ink spilled about Data Management Platforms (DMP) this year, mostly coming from the technology and vendor perspective. Coming from a digital agency to the wild world of data and audience targeting, I have a unique perspective on how our industry is currently leveraging first-party data in the marketplace and how a DMP can change this for the better.

At its core, a DMP is the backbone of all online advertising operations for an economy that has increasingly become digital and data-centric. It provides marketers and agencies with a centralized view of all their audience and campaign data while helping them manage and analyze that data to create, target and optimize campaigns that can reach the right people at the right time with the right message.

Simply put, DMPs can help achieve enhanced retargeting and prospecting – both at scale, site optimization, audience & media intelligence and ROI.

So while a DMP can help drive and improve ROI for marketers on a particular media spend, it can also benefit digital agencies who continue to face a myriad of challenges in a highly complex and competitive landscape. Agencies are under enormous pressure these days to deliver high-impact campaigns for their clients and a DMP can help alleviate that strain by giving them the tools to make better media-buying decisions and optimize programs based on real-time campaign and audience analytics.

During my career, I’ve had the opportunity to work across a number of verticals, partnering with some of the world’s largest finance, CPG, entertainment and travel brands. Each certainly had its own share of challenges, but a few themes remained consistent: retargeting was always successful but limited; little was known about the true audience makeup; and analytics was manual and slow.

As such, the idea of a DMP immediately appealed to me. I could define all my audience data points and move from a world with vague categorizations to something that very closely mimicked the actual content on the site. And on top of all that, I could analyze my campaign and audience data in one place to find more of what worked.

In its simplest form, a DMP sounds like an incredible retargeting solution where users can segment once and target everywhere with less waste and more scale. And with a DMP, agencies can empower themselves to run campaigns at their peak optimization capacity while gaining an intuitive and granular understanding of their audiences where they can mix and match or segment according to niche targeting scenarios.

A DMP can also help agencies stop talking about audiences and campaigns in isolation. An audience is only going to be as successful as a client’s campaign so the two must work together to achieve certain goals and benchmarks. A DMP can dashboard these elements together. We’ve all wasted too many days trying to mash Excel sheets together. At the end of the day, even the most innovative Excel solution doesn’t beat having data ingested from all sources and visualized in real time.

By collecting audience data and campaign data into one place, agencies stand to benefit from the ultimate insight or the Audience Response Rate. This metric can be measured either explicitly or implicitly.

Agencies can explicitly target a specific audience in a campaign to find out how it’s performing. Or it can implicitly run a campaign to find out how untargeted audiences responded to a brand message for future prospecting. A DMP that has scale across 3rd party data intelligence can provide these larger insights into what’s working and where there’s opportunity for more scale.

DMPs remove the hassle while elevating the sophistication of your audience targeting techniques. Understand the full potential of your audience and empower your agency to speak to them. When an agency has a fine-grained audience at their fingertips and a data ingestion tool with powerful dashboarding and analytics they can do some real magic for both your media and your brand.


  1. Agreed. With all the buzz about DSP’s, Exchanges, DMP’s, 3rd party data & privacy concerns, I believe the one trend with the largest implication is the increasing need for large advertisers with large 1st party data pools. 1st party data requires technology and services to leverage it more. I think from this perspective, the DMP is surely at an advantage over a DSP that merely positioned itself primarily as an RTB solution. I think this is only the beginning and 1st party data will dictate more and more.


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