Cory Treffiletti, SVP Marketing, BlueKai
In a January 23, 2014 article AdExchanger summarized a panel featuring the CEO’s of BlueKai, Acxiom, Turn and [x+1] by referring to the session as “The Great DMP Debate”. The session was an excellent one, full of insightful POVs from the various companies involved, but the debate lacks merit when you face two simple facts.
- A DMP has to be separate from any one-execution system, such as a DSP, site optimizer, SEM or ad network. The goal of a DMP is to be the neutral common thread of data across all of a marketer’s dozens of competing execution platforms.
- When you use the right DMP, the argument around data drop-off doesn’t stand up because DMP scale and capabilities can directly affect drop-off (and DSP’s have more issues with drop-off than they ever let on).
UNBUNDLED DMP’s PROVIDE SCALE
A DMP’s purpose is not solely to push audiences into a DSP for programmatic display. A DMP should be positioned to inform every targeting or personalization decision a marketer is making across all channels including programmatic display, but also paid/owned media, native, mobile, video, search, your own website, etc. If you operate in a restricted silo of media execution, you are naturally limiting the impact your audience data can have on your marketing efforts. Finally, the reason a DMP needs to be execution system agnostic is the execution platforms are extremely competitive with each other. If you have 18 execution platforms and choose one of them to also be your DMP – what about the other 17? It is true you’ll get some integration benefit for that single execution partner – however, you inevitably will sacrifice flexibility with the other 17. The goal of the execution platform is to bundle as much as possible to make it hard for marketers to leave them. The goal of the DMP platform is precisely to un-bundle data from execution to provide consistency and flexibility.
TAG MANAGEMENT CAN COMBAT DATA DROP-OFF
Tag management is a core part of any DMP, and is not a core part of a DSP. Tag Management can be configured to fire the DSP tag on every page. If the marketer does this, there’s no drop off in data. The reason there’s sometimes a drop-off is some marketers don’t want a DSP’s tag on every page because of poor page load and data privacy issues. If a marketer doesn’t find a particular DSP or ad network important enough to get its tag fired on every page, then you can’t blame the DMP for those issues. That being said, some Marketers prefer data synching to occur off-site. DMP’s that offer this capability need very high match scale to make this work.
SCALE CAN ALSO COMBAT DATA DROP-OFF
Network scale can be an issue, which impacts data drop-off. If you want scale, you want to partner with a DMP like BlueKai who has access to a massive network (where network size is defined as the percentage of the overall Internet population reached in a given month). For example, BlueKai directly reaches more than 90% of the Internet as a result of distributed tags that set anonymous 1st and 3rd party cookies as well as cookie-less identifiers. That means more users and more scale than any DSP, which is likely accessing inventory through an ad exchange, and thus, does not have direct reach or access to users. In other words, DMPs built on DSP solutions can have smaller networks, and thus, if they try to pass data to other execution platforms they may see even larger drop-off than any stand-alone DMP, much less one with more than 90% direct reach.
RISK VS. REWARD
There is an inherent risk and lack of flexibility imposed on a marketer when they chain their success to a single DMP/DSP combo. The DSP bundled into that combo may not prove to always be the most effective means of generating overall reach or performance from an ROI standpoint. Each DSP in the market executes media buys in a different manner to drive different levels of effectiveness; this is one of the core differentiators posited by any DSP. Chaining the success of your marketing efforts to the success of a single DMPs execution strategy for the long haul is a risky and unnecessary move. Simply look at the marketplace and count how many DSP’s are in the marketplace, then harken back to the days of the ad network and note how many ad networks existed in 2004 and how many exist now. Can you guarantee the DSP you chain your success to will stand the test of time? Will your data, tied to a single DSP, stand the test of time as well? For a marketer to engage their customers and prospects, they need the true freedom and flexibility to test and measure performance and then react to changes in the market by constantly employing best-of-class media execution platforms, and no single DMP/DSP combo will every provide such freedom.
FLEXIBILITY TO OPTIMIZE AND DO MORE WITH DATA
Most major marketers/advertisers will regularly test out new DSP’s to ensure they’re always using the best-of-class DSP and that breeds competition. Your data needs to be as flexible as your media plans. Additionally, most major marketers will want to execute heavily in other channels such as social, search, video, mobile, etc. in addition to the display channel. Don’t you want your data to drive value for you across all of those interactions as well? Why not, when the opportunity is available to you to do so at no incremental cost via an independent DMP?
Furthermore, beyond direct targeting, there are many applications of data within the marketing space. To name a few, consider data modeling, attribution, forecasting, etc. A DMP that’s not coupled with a DSP will do a better job of integrating and delivering data to those other applications, enabling those applications through integrations into the vast adtech ecosystem that exists today and will continue to evolve and expand into the future.
More marketers are selecting to work with stand-alone DMP’s and more DSP’s are looking to find ways to uncouple their technology from being purely focused on display. Yet in this latter effort, DMP/DSP combos run into conflicts of interest with other media execution platforms in other marketing channels such as search and social who are competing for the same ad dollars, and this inherently hinders their ability to form truly agnostic and mutually beneficial integrations with the rest of the digital advertising ecosystem. This in turn limits a marketer’s ability to do their job and find value in their data across all marketing channels.
Just ask the Fortune 500 marketers who work with BlueKai, and know that BlueKai works with more Fortune 500 marketers than any other data platform or reach out to email@example.com.