Not All DMPs are Created Equal: What Every Smart Marketer Should Know


ADOTAS — As the ad-tech ecosystem has evolved over the past two to three years, I hear a lot of major brands, agencies and networks/marketplaces asking about data management platforms (DMPs).  Some have called the DMP “the gateway to the next step in the evolution of digital marketing” or the “layer of technology that will literally touch and enhance every part of your business.” I agree that DMPs have a long-lasting place in the industry versus being just a shiny new object, but to truly add as much value as possible, a DMP needs to incorporate:

  • Data Management: The pipes for data collection, normalization, moving data around and preparation for analysis. This includes the ability to link offline data (CRM and other first-, second-, and third-party) and online data (impressions, clicks, conversions) to help marketers better understand purchase intent, relevant messaging, and focus on targeting those ready to convert.
  • Predictive Analytics: A way to truly drive insights out of the “big data” advertisers have collected in their DMP.  They need to be able to answer questions like:
  1. Is the data I have good or bad?
  2. How much data is there and which data should I care about?
  3. How does my data overlay on various inventory sources?
  4. How does my data intersect with campaigns?
  5. Are the “males” I am targeting also the “females”?
  6. How much duplication do I have in my media buys?
  7. What do right prospects look like? How do I find more of them?
  • Attribution Modeling. A way to truly keep score across the entire marketing funnel not just the last touch before a customer buys.  Understanding how brand advertising in the upper portion of the funnel effects performance at the bottom portion of the funnel is essential in helping determine who are your best partners both for brand and direct response advertising.  The interplay between each is essential to valuing the money spent.

In my mind, when looking to choose a DMP vendor there are three things to consider:

  • Technology Stack: Is the solution you are looking at a standalone solution? Is this all they do or is this an “add on” to what they do day in and day out? Was the solution built in such a way that it can scale with you and your business over time?
  • Neutral Platform and Integration Layer: Can the solution assemble all your media and audience data to provide a pure cross-channel view of your entire media spend? Can the provider get access to and handle the implementation to ensure you are integrating all of your siloed solutions and are capturing the right information from day one to take action?
  • Predictive Analytics: Wouldn’t it be great to know what would happen ahead of time if you moved your media buy from one inventory provider to another or if you targeted one specific audience versus another? The ability to do “what if” analysis across your entire media budget is core to reducing the inefficiencies that exist in all media plans.  In order to find those inefficiencies and decide where to reinvest you need to be able to leverage first/second/third party data to ensure your audience and media are aligned.

What many companies do not realize is the value in a DMP partner comes when the partner has the ability to get access to all their consumer touch points and enables them to see cross-channel/inventory provider and drive actionable insights from the data.   If you only get insights into audiences bought from one specific data partner or only get analytics on your buys from one particular data/media partner you will not be able to deliver the holistic insights to reduce inefficiencies, increase reach, and drive new sales.

The bottom line: It is the intelligence layer that goes with a DMP that will take marketers from just investing in digital media to leveraging digital media to effectively drive brand awareness, retargeting efforts, website efficiency, and conversions.  Any one feature set falls short without the other two.


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