Over the last decade, the worlds of digital advertising, marketing, commerce and media have nearly drowned—in an alphabet soup of acronyms.
RTB. DSP. DCO. PPC. PII. SSP. CMS—and more. They’re the lingua franca of the evolving information age; the terms that describe the technologies, processes and other innovations driving the growth of the commercial Internet. But their shelf lives, not surprisingly, rarely exceed more than just a few years—reflecting the rapid pace of change (as well as the many failed experiments) that have marked the evolution of digital technology.
One of the newest ingredients in the alphabet soup, though, shows signs of substantially greater staying power. The data management platform—or DMP—emerged just a few years ago as an ad hoc response to a base-level need: Publishers and marketers are aggregating more data, from more sources, than ever before. And in order to realize the full value of that information, they require a technology-driven solution—a central hub—to seamlessly (and rapidly) collect, integrate, manage and activate those large volumes of data.
Today’s DMP solutions, developed both “in-house” and by a burgeoning field of third-party suppliers, are evolving fast to fulfill an even broader enterprise mission. But even as the buzz grows around their impact and true value proposition, perspectives still vary as to the most appropriate role for DMPs in the data ecosystem. Some see them as representing an advanced, automated approach to integrating data for use in ad targeting. To others, a DMP is a tool for managing custom insights in support of customer experience management. And yet others see the technology as an enabler of media efficiencies, complementing demand-side platforms (DSPs), supply-side platforms (SSPs) and trading desks.
All of those foundational views hold water. But the DMP’s potential is fundamentally more significant, driven by an increasingly actionable array of use cases, and validated by the success that users on both sides of the advertising ecosystem have enjoyed through their deployment of what remains a relatively immature approach to process and technology. Perhaps the best way to capture the role and potential of the DMP, then, is thus: The embodiment of a “Big Data” solution for multichannel advertising, marketing, media and audience activation.
As one panelist put it: The DMP “will ultimately be a one-stop shop for all of a marketers’ data needs.”
Not surprisingly, interest in DMP technology and process solutions is surging. Among our panel of knowledgeable senior-level executives across all sectors of the data ecosystem:
92 percent said their organization’s (or clients’) interest in DMPs has increased over the past year
77 percent said DMPs will play either a “critical” or “major supporting” role in expanding the performance of long-term advertising and marketing efforts; and
62 percent said their company has already implemented a DMP, or has plans to do so within the next 12 months.
This white paper—produced in partnership with the Interactive Advertising Bureau—will explore the mission and likely evolution of DMP technology, as well as the broad landscape of users and third-party developers that have propelled its growth. Based on an intensive, focused primary research effort, it will identify a series of six use cases that may be supported by DMPs, and describe another half-dozen major dynamics that we expect will define the evolution of such solutions over the next 12 to 18 months. Specifically, we believe:
DMPs will expand in scope to support the aggregation and activation of more types of data, as well as the execution of a broader suite of data-centric advertising, marketing, media and customer experience functions
Analytics tools and support services will grow more central to the DMP offering, driving an expanded value proposition • Solutions will grow more specialized as unique user needs—varying across vertical markets, addressable use cases and user profiles—demand focused tools that may not readily be supported by a “one-size-fits-all” approach
Third-party DMP platforms will grow increasingly agnostic with respect to both data and media as they fulfill a more central role in integrating and optimizing both inputs (as well as analyzing the downstream impact of both)
A new wave of consolidation—driven by financial investors looking to aggregate platforms, plus large technology and marketing service suppliers seeking to build foundational “stacks” for multichannel data support—will reshape the DMP developer landscape, transforming the traditional and digital marketing services industries in the process; and
Marketers, publishers and other data users will initiate a series of large-scale organizational realignments to capitalize on the potential of their enterprise information assets (with a focus on leveraging the DMP as a central engine for the reinvented, datadriven organization).