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Understanding the Need for a Data Management Platform

October 18, 2017

Understanding the Need for Data Management Platform

Data is the New Currency

In the world of digital advertising and programmatic marketing, data has grown exponentially in both volume and importance. The use of large data sets in predicting outcomes, understanding audiences and breaking down media silos is more widespread now than ever before. We have entered an era of data-driven marketing campaigns focused on audience engagement and one-to-one brand experiences.

At the heart of this data revolution sits the data management platform (DMP) a new breed of technology, focused on collecting, managing and activating data. DMPs give clients the ability to centralize and manage their customers’ databases, analyze their marketing efforts, inform content management systems, and power advertising platforms.

As specialists in media execution, advertising agencies are increasingly finding themselves consulting with marketers on their use and utilization of DMP technology, and are being relied upon more and more to plan, activate and optimize audience campaigns on behalf of their customers.

This playbook is a step-by-step guide to deploying DMP technology, reviewing the core functions of the DMP, and the common use cases for a data management platform.

What is a DMP?

A data management platform (DMP) is a unified and centralized technology platform used for collecting, organizing, and activating large sets of data from disparate sources. Data management platforms have risen to the forefront of media and advertising on both the buy- and sell-side, as a result of an increasing focus on the analysis and targeting of audiences across multiple platforms, devices and media channels.

The Core Pillars of A DMP

The DMP is built on five interconnected pillars: collection, unification, organization, activation and analytics.

1. Collection
Through the use of a DMP, data can be collected from various disparate sources, including:

  • Digital Properties: Digital properties can include websites, microsites, campaign landing pages, mobile web properties, and mobile apps.
  • Offline Properties: The DMP is capable of collecting a variety of offline records, whether that be CRM data, Set-Top Box data, email data or CMS data.
  • Media Properties: Data can be ingested through a range of advertising channels including display, search, social, and video. This data can be stored at an impression level to offer in-depth and granular collection.

2. Unification
A core competency of the Data Management Platform is the ability to unify consumer data across multiple channels, platforms, and devices. This unification of data within a central system of record enables agencies to generate a holistic and 360-degree understanding of your existing and potential audiences across CRM, Search, Social, Display, and Analytics.

ID management and cross-device profile management are fundamental to data management and activation, allowing not only for global insights across the breadth of your media and marketing, but also for 100% data portability and agnostic activation of audience data within any activation channel or platform.

As well as unifying profile information across devices and platforms, a DMP should unify all data types within one platform. The three data types are first-, second-, and third-party, which are each explained below.

  • First-Party Data: First-party data refers to the brand or agency’s own data that they have collected from their own consumers and brand advocates. This can include data from a website, CRM, social, search, display, analytics, or any other source of data you own.
  • Second-Party Data: Leading DMPs also allow second-party data sharing among selected partners, which are unique and bespoke data assets derived directly from an external source, including a publisher, a separate entity within your own business or an independent partner. Second-party data is someone else’s first-party data that you are accessing directly from the source rather than via an exchange.
  • Third-Party Data: Directly inside the DMP there should be direct access to a range of third-party data providers and prepackaged data segments. Clients can use this data to build new, larger audiences and to understand what actions and behaviors consumers are exhibiting across the wider internet, for an even more holistic view of their target customer.

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3. Organization
Most DMPs offer flexible and customizable organization, which include parent/child account structures. This structure allows agencies to create multiple accounts under a single network. The “parent” has a global view of all data and can section off individual data sets into specific “child” accounts. The parent maintains the ability to access data across the network, but the child only has permission to see data relating to that particular account.

>> Parent/Child Account Structure
The parent/child account structure is well suited to agency deployment, with several individual brands using the DMP, each needing separate data storage as well as a completely independent view of their data.

>> Custom Taxonomy
During implementation of your DMP, you will have the opportunity to create data taxonomies closely aligned to your structure and your client’s business models.

Data can be categorized and structured in a variety of ways to meet your business objectives. Setting out a clear “data tree” for your organization at the beginning of implementation can be useful in informing the overarching DMP strategy.

4. Activation
The DMP is capable of advanced data portability and offers you the ability to activate your data seamlessly with the majority of technology partners in the marketplace, including ad servers, DSPs, search, social, CMS and creative optimization platforms. Integrations are completed predominantly through server-to-server connections (or API) allowing for automated data flow.

5. Analytics & Reporting
Once data has been collected and organized inside the DMP, there are a variety of tools to generate customer insights to understand who the “ideal” customers are, and how to better reach and engage them.

Any audience built within the DMP can be defined and analyzed using audience profile and composition reporting, which provides audience analysis demonstrating key demographic skews (age, gender, income, family status), interests, and online behaviors the audience is exhibiting. These analytics reports provide a 360° view of an audience, allowing clients to better contextualize the who, what, where, why and how of their target audiences or customer segments. Audience analytics offer powerful consumer insights and should inform the overarching planning process.

>> Pre-Campaign Analysis
The DMP is able to reveal key insights as to the demographic and behavioral composition of an audience in order to inform the overall media planning and audience activation strategy. Key outputs include:

  • Demographic Insight: Highlight the key demographic skews within an audience in order to inform consumer insights, including gender, age, income, education and geographic brackets.
  • Online Behaviors: Identify the key content verticals consumed by the audience across hundreds of classifications from Arts, Culture & Literature to Government and Politics. This can be used to identify key inventory opportunities and contextual-based buys.
  • First-Party Affiliates: Establish overlaps against first-party properties in order to understand frequent user paths, common interests, and cross-sell opportunities. For instance, for an audience purchasing a specific product, we are able to identify what other products they have also viewed or added to cart.

>> Mid-Flight Analysis
A DMP should facilitate real-time campaign tracking and reporting, providing insights and allowing clients to understand how particular audiences and behaviors are delivering against any number of pre-defined campaign KPIs.

As well as understanding audience performance, DMP insights should provide granular behavior-level reporting, in order for you to understand how individual data providers within an audience are performing.

Mid-flight analysis forms the basis for campaign optimization, and should be used to provide directional insight as to which audiences or behaviors should be more aggressively targeted, and those which should be excluded within the activation channel. Tracking media campaigns also provides clients with the ability to review the performance of 3rd party data sets, and to evaluate their use of 3rd party data vendors, making optimizations based on real campaign insight and performance data.

Campaign tracking also provides a basis for audience discovery, using audience insights gleaned from campaign activation in order to create new target audiences based on actual data on campaign interactions, engagement etc.

>> Post-Campaign Analysis
Post-campaign reports should be generated for all campaigns tracked through the DMP. These reports provide insight into campaign delivery metrics (across devices and platforms) as well as audience profile data based on those users that were exposed to the campaign and those that took action and completed the KPI.

The main components of the post-campaign report include:

  • Global Campaign Metrics: A report of showing global reach and frequency of a campaign across multiple devices and activation platforms.
  • Profile Analysis: A snapshot of the key demographic, interest and behavioral skews associated to a particular user group, based on their campaign engagement and their path through the conversion funnel.
  • Campaign Drivers & Detractors: The best and weakest performing audiences and datasets to inform future targeting and optimization.

 

Download our full playbooks for the remaining chapters!