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5 Steps to Publisher Success with a DMP

September 26, 2016

The appointment of a data management platform (DMP) is a significant first step in the journey to becoming a more data-focused publisher, but many DMP selection as the end point and not the beginning, and believe that by having a DMP they automatically have a data strategy. What really makes a publisher successful is not the appointment of a DMP, but the effective and continued implementation of a DMP as part of a holistic and long-term data strategy.

If you are looking to implement a data management platform in order to collect, organize, activate and analyze audience information across your properties, you need to establish a top-down, business-wide approach to data management, which involves the entire organization. Ensuring success with your DMP is simple, if you adhere to the following five-point plan:

1. Set Objectives

The first step is setting clear goals for your DMP. Like any business investment, the DMP commands an internal rate of return. When are you going to start generating revenue from the DMP? At what point do you break even? How many impressions need to be served to reach a positive rate of return? These are all important facts that need to be ascertained, and objectives that need to be set out before the DMP is implemented. Make sure when you are assigning goals to the DMP you make them specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART).

2. Put the right team in place

The DMP isn’t going to run itself, it will need to be operated either internally or externally, or with a combination of internal and external resource. If you are taking any internal responsibility for the output of the DMP, then it is important to set ownership and employ resource that is dedicated to the ongoing success of the DMP. The DMP owner needs to champion the solution internally, bring together different teams and departments, and work cross-functionally to ensure that the DMP is adopted successfully across the business, from ad ops to sales. It is important that the owner of the DMP feels accountable, and can be held to account if objectives are not hit. Too often when a DMP is not implemented successfully, there is no clear delineation of accountability and nobody takes responsibility.

3. Outline your sales and marketing strategy

To a publisher, the role of the DMP should be clear. Although there will be various methodologies and ways of implementing the DMP solution, it is at its simplest a sales tool. Therefore, the sales teams will be instrumental in its successful execution, and the sales strategy should inform the entire DMP implementation process.

The sales team will be able to inform you on which audiences are requested most often, which RFP’s you’re losing out on due to audiences, what your “out of the box” audiences should be, how you should price them, what the different routes to market are, what the new response to brief process should look like, what the marketing materials should include, and what training is required?

There is nothing worse than implementing the DMP and creating hundreds of audiences, only to sit down with the sales teams and learn that none of them are relevant.

4. Get implementation right first time

The implementation process is arguably the most intense and resource heavy part of any DMP execution. It should typically be around a 60 day period during which time all property tagging, platform activation, behavioral categorization, and rule creation is completed. It is a high touch event with daily calls, weekly meetings, and technical and strategic workshops.

As the DMP is often a self-service platform, implementation is critical, as it sets the pace for the DMP and the wider data strategy. Once implementation is complete, it may be months before you revisit this type of platform calibration again. So it is important to get it right first time, and to ensure that the entire business is feeding into the process.

Your DMP partner will do most of the heavy lifting through implementation, you just need to make sure steps 1-3 above are in place. In other words, you should have clear objectives, a clear team structure with definitive leadership, and a well-researched and well-defined sales and marketing strategy before beginning implementation. And be sure to have shared all of those objectives with your DMP partner before implementation begins, so that your goals are clearly defined and understood between both parties.

5. Review progress – relentlessly

Once the DMP is implemented, everybody breathes a sigh of relief and pats themselves on the back for a job well done. But really, the job has only just begun, and you are 60 days into what may be a 3-5 year plan to implement a data solution for your business. Don’t let all the hard work that’s been done to get to this point fall by the wayside. Relentlessly monitor and review the progress of the DMP to ensure it is hitting the objectives and goals assigned to it.

Hold weekly and monthly reviews, speak regularly to the DMP owner, call regular business reviews with the DMP vendor, stay on top of new product releases, seek out case study opportunities, and observe usage reports to discover power users within the organization. It is a truth universally acknowledged within the SaaS industry that the more you put in the more you get out, and if you can’t find the time or have better things to be doing, then the unavoidable fact is that the DMP will likely fail to deliver the value expected of it.


All of the above are vital steps in ensuring the DMP solution is adopted and not simply appointed. There is going to be a significant change in the way the DMP is sold over the next few years as vendors seek to reduce churn rates, increase long-term client retention and improve upsell opportunities. The spotlight is going to focus much more on the publisher and their ability to adopt the DMP and have success with it, rather than simply their willingness to put pen to paper and sign a contract.