What Are Data Management Platforms and Why They Matter
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A Detailed Guide to Data Management Platforms (DMPs)

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In today’s growingly digital world, where internet marketing has become the go-to choice for most businesses, audience data collection and management are becoming essential to building a brand. 

Unfortunately, managing customer data at scale is challenging and expensive. Most businesses are already aware of that. That is why many are turning toward various data management services that offer a cost-effective way to streamline the entire process! 

According to a survey by Infogroup, 62% of marketers are already investing in data management solutions, while 26% believe they will do the same within the next few years

So who do these brands and agencies turn to for these services? The answer is simple — data management platforms

But what role do data management platforms play in digital marketing, what are they, and why should you use them? These are just some of the questions we’re going to answer in this article.

Now let’s jump right in and learn everything there is to know about data management platforms!

What Is a Data Management Platform (DMP)

A data management platform (DMP) is a platform that stores and manages first-, second-, and third-party customer information collected from various online and offline sources. In other words, DMPs help brands segment and organize raw data to make it more presentable and dissectable. Without them, assessing collected audience data and adjusting your campaigns on the fly would be near impossible!

Aside from the above, data management platforms play an essential role in online advertising since they offer invaluable targeting data like:

  • GEO Location
  • Behavioral Data
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Interests
  • And more…

Since DMPs store and organize all this data, they’re an invaluable part of the programmatic advertising ecosystem. 

Data management platforms’ role is to share all collected information with supply-side platforms, demand-side platforms, and ad exchanges, who use the data to help advertisers serve their ads only to the most relevant consumers. These highly personalized ads lead to a better user experience and ensure marketers can spend their advertising budgets more optimally.

How Data Management Platforms Work

Data management platforms collect audience data from various sources, including but not limited to the following:

an image illustrating which sources data management platforms collect information from
Data management platforms collect audience data from various sources

After collecting that information, DMPs group users with matching or similar data into multiple audience segments that they later optimize using lookalike audiences. This term refers to potential customers whose characteristics match your brand’s ideal customers.

Data management platforms unify this information and continually collect and update audience segments with new data, allowing marketers to tweak their campaigns in real time to achieve the best ROI.

What DMPs Do

With everything we’ve said so far, it should be clear how DMPs operate and their primary purpose. However, let’s do a quick recap. Here are the primary functions of data management platforms:

  • Data Collection — DMPs collect audience data from various online and offline sources.
  • Data Classification — One of the primary roles of DMPs is to structure and organize the collected information to later use it for targeting purposes.
  • Integrations With Various Third-Party Vendors — Integrating DMPs with different media buying platforms (e.g., ad networks, ad exchanges, DSPs, etc.) lets advertisers optimize their ad serving process and helps them reach their ideal customers.
  • Centralized Reporting & Analytics — DMPs give advertisers access to all the data needed to track and optimize their campaigns’ performance. In-depth analytics coupled with automated reporting features makes DMPs an integral element of any large-scale advertising campaign.

What DMPs Don’t Do

As integral as DMPs are to online advertisers nowadays, they have their limitations that are worth mentioning. Although DMPs do similar things as other pieces of marketing tech, there are two critical differences.

  • DMPs only assess data from digital channels, so they cannot match the analytical breadth and depth of standalone analytics platforms.
  • Data management platforms cannot manage ad campaigns on their own and are dependant on other parts of a much large advertising ecosystem. Marketers need to integrate DMPs with other marketing or advertising platforms to make use of them.

Regardless of their dependency on third-party platforms to generate revenue, DMPs are an integral tool for all brands looking to optimize their customers’ buyer journey and scale their business through online advertising.

Benefits of Data Management Platforms

Few advertisers can picture an advertising campaign without using a DMP nowadays, and for a good reason! Why? Because there are too many benefits to using a data management platform to ignore. Here are some of the most notable ones:

  • DMPs Help Unify Customer Data — Data management platforms compile all your customer data in a single place, helping streamline data analysis and campaign management. 
  • They Help Brands Zero In on Their Target Audience — DMPs help marketers segment their audiences into categories using various modelling techniques or by creating custom audience groups.
  • They Streamline the Data Management Process — Integrating DMPs with various media buying platforms means advertisers can automate their targeting efforts without sacrificing quality.
  • DMPs Generate Continuous Results — Data management platforms are reliable solutions suitable for long-term strategies as they constantly revise and update the data they analyze. That makes them ideal for brands looking to achieve sustainable and scalable growth.

Who Benefits From Data Management Platforms?

Anyone looking to scale their business through online advertising can benefit from a DMP. That means nearly all professionals from the IT to video content marketing industries can use data management platforms to come to more informed decisions regarding their marketing campaigns. 

However, the three parties who benefit from DMPs the most are publishers, marketers, and ad agencies.

Media owners and publishers are people with large websites they wish to monetize. They can use data management platforms to gather their visitors’ data and run targeted ad campaigns on their sites. By leveraging that first-party data, they can sell their ad inventory at premium prices and achieve higher CPM through methods like programmatic direct. Direct sold inventory always goes for higher prices than using other traditional programmatic methods like real-time bidding.

Marketers and ad agencies use data management platforms daily to identify and group audiences to suit their digital campaigns. Whether they’re looking to improve their ad targeting capabilities or get a deeper understanding of their audiences, marketers and agencies can turn to DMPs. 

5 Best Data Management Platforms

Now that you’re aware of just how valuable DMPs can be, we’ve prepared a list of five data management platforms you can use to boost your advertising efforts. These providers are some of the best in the industry, so you can rest assured you’ll get a high-quality service whichever you pick.

1. Nielsen

nielsen banner

Nielsen Data Management Platform is a well-established name in the industry; it is currently one of the go-to analytics software companies for marketers worldwide. This platform is a fantastic tool for collecting, assessing, and managing audience data. Nielsen prides itself on its extensive audience segments, reach, and analytical capabilities. That makes this platform an excellent choice for publishers and agencies looking to take their audience insights to the next level.

Key Features:

  • Over 60,000 audience segments
  • Personalized ad delivery
  • Excellent reach
  • Customer journey analytics
  • Market dynamics insights

2. Mapp

mapp banner

Mapp Data Management Platform is a solution used by thousands of marketers worldwide who need to keep all of their customer data at hand. Aside from its user-friendly CMS and advanced real-time analytics, Mapp’s software allows users to seamlessly distribute their data across various marketing platforms. 

However, one downside of this DMP is that it isn’t particularly suitable for large teams due to its lack of multi-user capabilities. But if that single setback doesn’t prove too troublesome for you, you can rest assured Mapp is a data management platform that will not disappoint.

Key Features:

  • Real-time campaign monitoring
  • Advanced audience-matching tools
  • Customer behavior prediction tools
  • Interactive and personalized messages across multiple devices

3. Salesforce DMP

salesforce dmp banner

We’d be hard-pressed to find a marketer who hasn’t heard of the Salesforce CRM software. But did you know that the company also has a dedicated data management platform? 

Salesforce DMP is an excellent tool for businesses looking to compile customer data across multiple channels and reach their ideal customers. Salesforce’s data management platform is powered by advanced AI and machine learning technology, making it one of the best choices for brands looking to optimize their targeting. Coupled with Salesforce’s multi-channel support, these features make it a worthy DMP for small and large businesses alike.

Key Features:

  • AI-powered customer profile analysis
  • Multi-channel engagement
  • Extensive customer data profiles
  • Part of the Salesforce CRM software

4. Lotame

lotame banner

Lotame is another industry giant in the DMP software department, and for a good reason. This data management platform helps businesses collect, sort, and analyze customer information from various channels, including mobile apps, social media, blogs, email, and CRM tools. Besides its wide range of supported channels, Lotame offers access to multiple audience optimization tools. That is why this DMP is particularly useful to ad agencies and marketers.

The only major downside of this DMP is its lack of live reporting features, which might be a dealbreaker for some. But if this drawback doesn’t bother you, we’re positive you’re going to love Lotame.

Key Features:

  • Fully automated suite of optimization tools
  • Excellent ad optimization features
  • Advanced audience builder and optimization tools

5. OnAudience

onaudience banner

OnAudience is a data management platform most popular among advertisers due to its massive number of audience profiles. Aside from allowing marketers to narrow down their existing audiences with dozens of filters, this DMP also helps them find new customers in just a few clicks. OnAudience’s data-sharing features make it easy to share your audience info with your clients, making it an excellent choice for agencies working on multiple projects at a time.

Key Features:

  • Access to over 12 billion customer profiles
  • Diverse audience segmentation
  • Audience behavior insights

Closing Thoughts

All marketers nowadays are aware of the importance of building lasting relationships with their audiences. However, understanding their customers is one of the biggest challenges they’re still facing to date. With data management platforms, these struggles will become a thing of the past!

DMPs can help brands better understand their users and enable them to deliver their ads to the right people at the right time. That is why they’re an invaluable part of any advertiser’s arsenal and an integral part of the programmatic ecosystem. 

If you aren’t already using a data management platform to scale your advertising efforts, you’re leaving money on the table! So what are you waiting for? Any of the five choices we mentioned above should be a great place to start.

Best of luck to you!