DMP is no magic bullet, but marketers must get a grip on data

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 2 July 2018
Evgeny Popov

This is part of a wider data feature that first appeared in the July issue of AdNews Magazine 

It’s no secret that digital advertising buyers, such as advertisers, agencies and publishers, are increasingly striving for greater cut-through with customers and audiences - particularly as studies prove that behaviourally-targeted advertising is far more effective than non-targeted advertising.

This desire to offer improved personalisation of ads across websites, emails and apps has never been more sought after, especially with the rise of adblocking software used by consumers, due in part to irrelevant or irksome ad experiences.

However, ramping up on targeting with enhanced precision, as well as at scale across online advertising programs, requires getting your data house in order, which many have done by using a data management platform (DMP).

DMPs have become hot property in recent years, sparking acquisitions such as Oracle buying BlueKai in 2014 and Salesforce buying Krux in 2016, but US-founded DMP Lotame remains independent.

Globally, with about 150 staff, its clients include IBM, the BBC and Bloomberg, as well as local clients in Australia such as Seven West Media, Ticketek, Seek, DBS Bank and KPEX.

AdNews caught up with Lotame’s vice president data solutions APAC, Evgeny Popov, to find out where the market is on its DMP journey, what the key is to ensuring the long-term strategic success of a DMP and ask, who really needs a DMP?

Are you still explaining what a DMP is to clients?

The DMP market is still relatively young, but some of our users are very sophisticated. They understand the importance of data and have moved beyond the “what is a DMP” question. Instead, they are focused on identifying the best offering, plus best practices to maximise their DMP’s value. As new guidelines like GDPR hit, education within ad tech and martech is more important than ever.

Put simply how do you explain what DMP is?

A DMP is the backbone of data-driven marketing and serves as a unifying platform to collect, organise and activate your first and third-party audience data from any source, including online, offline or mobile. Essentially, it is the data warehouse where the data is not just collected but facilitated and orchestrated for future activation.

What is the DMP actually giving me?

DMPs not only collect and store your data, but also organise that data to help you understand it. From there you can use it to inform your data-driven marketing campaigns. DMPs also offer analytics about the data that it collects that can be fed into future marketing efforts.

Who runs it? Do you need to hire data scientists?

Every organisation has a dedicated person or a team who owns the DMP internally. If there aren’t any resources within the organisation, it is recommended to hire someone who is both tech-savvy and client-facing. Your DMP provider would work closely with its clients to understand their data strategies. As an example, there’d be a ‘client success’ team that acts as an extension of the client’s team to help leverage the most out of the DMP to deliver upon ROI.

Who needs a DMP and how do you work out if you need one?

We largely work with enterprise businesses that need to collect and analyse larger datasets. However, DMP use depends on campaign sophistication, not necessarily company size. Do you find yourself wanting to target campaigns to improve response and conversion rates, in a more timely and productive way? Do you want to control your advertising costs, while also improving overall ROI? Would you like to target a niche audience, but at a large scale? If yes, a DMP makes sense for your business.

What's involved in getting a DMP?

Typically, it’s a multi-year plus data journey. The pricing is composed of a licensing fee for the usage of the platform added with options to cover the activation of specific functionalities and the use of data from our exchange. Payment is made up front and later activations are invoiced pro rata the remaining of the period of the contract.

What if you later want to swap DMPs down the track? Is this easy?

Any ad tech platform is an investment and requires an onboarding period. When clients partner with a DMP provider, like ourselves, they are seeking a long-term relationship. The investment to switch DMPs is substantial and should be avoided when possible. However, if companies are not seeing success with their current DMP, they should consider switching to a DMP who will help them meet their data strategies and exceed KPIs. Data portability is the key, make sure your DMP vendor supports data extraction and unlocks your data if required.

All DMPs tout slick-looking user interfaces and have flashy demos, but what are the core features that you need to look for?

  • Data collection: Seamless collection methodologies
  • Unification of first, second and third-party data. Included in this, the availability to purchase second and third-party data through the DMP
  • Organisation: Advanced categorisation, audience building and parent-child options
  • Activation: Do they allow you to take your data anywhere? 
  • Analytics and reporting: Pre-campaign, mid-flight and post-campaign analysis

What’s the key to ensuring the long-term strategic success of a DMP?

For DMP to be successful, organisations need to have very hands on, motivated implementation process. To ensure successful execution of DMP within your business, you need to:

  • Set clear objectives and goals that’re specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound.
  • Assign a DMP owner, outline strategies for your DMP team and maintain full transparency.
  • Post-implementation relentlessly monitors and reviews progress against the set goals.

And the biggest DMP 'don't’ is?

Don’t look at the DMP as a magic bullet. It can help you organise, contextualise and otherwise understand the data, but, in the end, it’s up to a customer and their team to implement the strategy. That team needs to understand the importance of good data and good analytics, so they can unlock the rich information provided by the DMP and implement it in the most effective conceivable way.

Biggest challenge for you as a DMP business?

With audience data importance continuing to grow for buyers and sellers alike, anxiety over third-party data quality has increased in parallel. As such, the industry is demanding more transparency and accuracy from data partners. The biggest challenge is to deliver high quality audience segments that can measurably hit or exceed industry benchmarks.

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