Key Acronyms you should understand to survive in the Disruptive Digital Marketing arena: DMP


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Did you manage to find your way through the maze of acronyms inhabiting the Real Time Bidding (or, as one would expect, RTB) world? And did you get any ideas on how to implement this disruptive new trend for your company’s benefit? Congratulations, you are now ready for the next installment of our new series aimed at shedding light on the seemingly obscure Disruptive Digital Marketing arena.

This time around we are going to focus on the contemporary marketer’s extremely advisable companion – DMP.


A DMP, or Data Management Platform, as defined by Forrester Research is “a unified technology platform that intakes disparate first, second, and third-party data sets, provides normalization and segmentation on that data, and allows a user to push the resulting segmentation into live interactive channel environments.”

Let’s see what this means and, most crucially, what implications it has for the digital marketer’s day-to-day reality.


DMPs originated as a response to the complex contemporary marketplace where the number of advertisers and publishers is growing by leaps and bounds. It is now virtually impossible for human agents to manage such vast demand and supply of ad space, so this is where automated DMPs have their hour of triumph.


The key value of DMPs is its ability to orderly store vast amounts of information for precise targeting based on accurate audience segmentation.

Two important points here:

  1. Quantity. With marketers increasingly relying on Big Data collected by multiple platforms, it can get tricky to find a single space for its storage, classification and leveraging. This is where a DMP can lend a hand: they combine our own first-party data with acquired third-party material, both from a wide variety of online and offline sources, such as mobile web and app, web analytic tools, CRM, point of sale, social and online video, etc.
  2. Segmentation. Stored data is utilised by DMPs to create the most detailed and sophisticated audience segments to enable companies to serve highly personalised, appropriate and timely ads. This holistic portrayal of our customers is based on a complex combination of cookie-based data: webpages accessed, keywords employed and, most importantly, specific visitors details, such as clicks, average time on page, browsing patterns, downloads, and so on.

Primary Usage: Real Time Bidding

Given that the ad industry is becoming increasingly automated and real time, DMPs enter the Real Time Bidding cycle (explained in the previous post) to feed segmented audience data into a DSP (Demand-Side Platform) and subsequently an ad exchange. While the mechanisms of DMPs and DSPs might seem similar, which they indeed are, the first are mainly focused on data storage and analysis, while the latter leverage that data to set up the advertiser’s parameters and on their behalf bid on the ad space.

Alternatively, DMPs can be employed by publishers, by storing their audience data and thus providing a deeper understanding of the readers. This way DMP usage would increase the value of ad placements to advertisers and reward the publisher with higher CPM.

Alternative Usages

RTB, as mentioned, is the primary and most obvious example of DMPs’ utility, but not the only one. Accurately segmented audience data can be used to reach the target audience by any other means: email marketing, content marketing, offline campaigns, push notifications, and so on.

Bearing in mind these various ways to appeal to the public provided by DMPs, it may be convenient to outline their difference from traditional CRMs. While the latter require a previous transaction with the brand on behalf of the customer to be able to store their details, cookie-based DMPs grow their data repertoire by incorporating online behaviour patterns without prior customer identification. This enables the company to reach much wider audiences and thus acquire a wider network of potential leads.


While some vendors have started integrating DMPs and DSPs, there is still a big advantage in maintaining those as separate tools: flexibility. If unsatisfied with your DSP provider, migrating to a different one can be easily accomplished without losing any of the stored data.


According to the Forrester Wave DMP Q3 2013 report, the key DMP vendors are [X+1], Adobe, BluKai, Aggregate Knowledge, CoreAudience, Knotice and nPario. They all undoubtedly focus on display and cookie-based targeting, but are also starting to become aware of wider data usage opportunities for website and email optimisation. One common problem across the vendors is offline data integration, which often clashes with consumer privacy concerns.


Whether you are an advertiser, a publisher or an ad agency, DMPs are a definite must if you want to be on the crest of a wave in the disruptive digital marketing world. They allow you to store vast amounts of both structured and unstructured data and conveniently classify it into elaborate segments, to further assist your targeted ad campaigns planning.

What about you? Have you already started taking advantage of any of these key personalisation tools?

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Tania Asa

Marketing and Communications Executive, focused on content, Sweetspot Academy and inbound marketing. BA in English, University of Oviedo, Spain.

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