If you’re working in digital advertising today and not losing sleep over your data management strategy (or lack thereof), climb out from under your rock and join the rest of us trying to figure out how to leverage the mountain of consumer intent and behavior collecting on the doorstep each day. From both the marketer and publisher perspective, data isn’t the problem, access is the problem. Each party has access to vast amounts of data, either directly or through 3rd party channels, but centralizing, organizing, analyzing, and segmenting are very difficult for all but the largest companies. Unless you have a pedigreed team that speaks SAS and Oracle, understands how to use an IBM supercomputer, or has a team of PhDs on the payroll, building your own solution to this problem just isn’t realistic. It just doesn’t exist in the DNA of most advertising companies today, at least not yet.
But that doesn’t mean a solution doesn’t exist. Enter the Data Management Platform, or DMP, a very smart, very fast cookie warehouse with analytical firepower to crunch, de-duplicate, and integrate your data with any technology platform you desire. Data management platforms are designed to help both marketers and publishers make the data they have actionable, and are the fundamental tool for any data strategy beyond the elementary level. Pretty much anyone that can set a cookie can do some level of data collection and then repurpose that cookie for an ad campaign, but DMPs offer intelligence that goes beyond just the cookie or even just the data. They offer technology can can find trends, help you scale and understand your audience, segment and target your audience in complex ways based on user attributes, consumption habits, recency, and more. At the core, this analysis is what DMPs offer that other cookie-based solutions cannot.
A data management platform might let you understand what your site analytics tool says about users that open your newsletters. They can let you know how many users that bought a big screen TV also searched for high end digital cameras in the past week. You could even overlay 1st party information with 3rd party sources to tell you what the average buyer’s credit score and household income was. In fact, you could use a DMPs to help you figure out which users are most likely to buy a big screen TV next week. It all comes down to how much data you can provide the system, and how deep you want to go into the data.
Data Management Platform Companies
Like most aspects of ad tech, this is a crowded space right now, with plenty of companies offering a solution. Demdex (now owned by Adobe), Core Audience, and Krux are what I would consider pure-plays, while Lotame, Collective, and Turn offer similar services but with another (potentially conflicting) core competency. All have various levels of service and complexity that you’ll have to look at yourself to determine the right way forward for your business. The purpose of this series is to review what DMPs do, how they do it, and key features to look for as you evaluate potential partners.
Read More: Centralize and Synchronize Your User Data