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7 Best Data Management Platforms (DMPs) in 2022

Fact checked by Vahe Arabian
Vahe Arabian

Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing. My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and promote their efforts, my passion is to uncover talent and… Read more

Edited by Andrew Kemp
Andrew Kemp

Andrew joined the State of Digital Publishing team in 2021, bringing with him more than a decade and a half of editorial experience in B2B publishing. His career has spanned the technology, natural resources, financ…Read more

Table Tool Summary

1

adobe

Adobe Audience Manager

2

Lotame

Lotame

3

LiveRamp

LiveRamp

4

Permutive

Permutive

5

MediaMath

MediaMath

6

Oracle BlueKai

Oracle BlueKai

7

The Trade Desk

The Trade Desk

It’s not enough for digital publishers to sign up to an ad network and call it day. Maximizing ad revenue requires a top down view and a willingness to explore software options.

In the era of programmatic advertising, data management platforms (DMPs) are an essential tool for digital publishers, serving as data ecosystems that help shape digital ad campaigns.

Essentially, the more first party data a publisher feeds a DMP, the more audience insight on that website an advertiser has when developing their marketing budgets 

With marketing budgets on the rise once more after 2021’s dip, now’s the time for publishers to consider either signing up to their first DMP or possibly switching providers. That being said, with dozens of DMPs on the market it can be tricky selecting the right DMP.

Determining whether a DMP is the best fit comes down to both its feature set as well as the prospective client’s needs. Publishers need to factor in the cost, the accessibility of the user interface (UI), and the system performance among other parameters.

They can also include how comprehensive the audience segmentation is, adaptability for video and whether a DMP serves the needs of publishers or advertisers better.  Join us, as we narrow the list down to the seven best DMPs for digital publishers.

What Are Data Management Platforms?

A DMP is software that stores first, second and third-party user data and leverages that data to help build audience segments that advertisers can use in their audience targeting.

As part of the real-time bidding (RTB) process, advertisers will generally leverage DMP data in the form of constructed audience segments to instruct a demand-side platform (DSP) on which users to target with ads.

Publishers and advertisers upload their first-party data into the DMP, which can then be enriched by second-party data gathered from business partnerships and third-party data. DMPs collect third-party audience data — such as customer purchases — from users by leaving third-party cookies on browsers as well as through other sources.

This third-party data collection has proved invaluable for customer insights, although the push to remove third-party cookies from browsers has complicated this. As third-party cookies are phased out, the best positioned DMPs will be the ones embracing alternatives.

How Does a Data Management Platform Work?

DMPs work by synching their collected information with data vendors — organizations that distribute data for third parties — to find relevant audiences to show ads. They do this by using first-party data and audience segments to find high-value users.

DMP features such as “lookalike modeling”, which searches for similar audience segments, are used to help expand the original target audience.

These functions boost the performance of the programmatic advertising ecosystem. The right ad in front of the right set of eyes means a higher click-through rate (CTR) which, in turn, means higher advertising income for publishers.

Data Management Platforms vs Customer Data Platforms

While a DMP and a customer data platform (CDP) both store and analyze data collected about users, the differences lie in the way they use that data. 

While DMPs leverage their collected first, second and third-party data to help in both audience acquisition and retargeting, CDPs typically rely on first-party data to influence their pre-existing customer base with targeted ad campaigns or to tailor the customer experience.

CDPs build a complete view of a customer, similar to a customer relationship management (CRM), completely removing any user anonymity.

What Are Data Management Platforms’ Benefits?

DMPs solve the issue of data siloing, where publisher and advertiser user data is segmented across many different platforms and is often locked out of clients’ hands. DMPs provide a single accessible and interoperable data storage solution. 

DMPs provide reduced costs of advertising, improved reach of relevant segments, more detailed analysis of audience trends, and better data indexing of current customer data. 

In 2016, data services provider MediaMath helped Coca-Cola reorganize its budget around effective programmatic advertising, thereby reducing both their cost per completed video views (CPCV) by 70-85% and their effective cost per mille (eCPMs) by 30-70%. 

In 2022, data services provider Lotame helped Dr Martens boost its click-through rates (CTRs) ninefold with a non-third-party cookie solution.

Although efficient growth is a key component of these case studies, DMPs have additional draws for both publishers and advertisers.

The Benefits for Publishers

There are two major benefits publishers can derive from DMPs. 

Firstly, they provide a birds-eye view of an audience and can furnish rich insights into user data. Publishers can use a DMP to action data gathered from their user base and use this data to create more accurately tailored content for those audiences. 

Secondly, publishers can also use a DMP to boost their ad revenue. DMPs can ensure that more relevant ads appear on a publisher’s site leading to a higher CTR. 

The Benefits for Advertisers

DMPs are essential tools for advertisers seeking to reach a designated audience. DMPs can use data enriched through partnerships and third-party data in lookalike modeling so that advertisers can build new audience segments similar to the ones they have already constructed.

Having a well-constructed audience segment enhances several key elements of an ad campaign. It boosts the effectiveness of ad impressions — the same marketing messages are delivered to people who are more likely to engage with a product — resulting in better use of ad budgets.

7 Best Data Management Platforms

Below are the seven best data management platforms (DMPs) for digital publishing. While the list has been created with digital publishers in mind, each DMP also works well with advertisers.

The impending “death of the third party cookie” has affected the future of DMPs, leading each of the options below to seek out alternatives to third-party data collection.

1

Adobe Audience Manager

Adobe Audience Manager

Source: Adobe

Adobe Audience Manager is multimedia giant Adobe’s DMP. Its features include its Audience Marketplace, which allows advertisers and marketers to check increases in search terms. The tool also provides a comprehensive audience segment builder integrated with a complex AI called Adobe Sensei, which can suggest new traits to add to audience segments.

Audience Manager also contains built-in integration with Adobe Experience Cloud and Adobe Creative Cloud, meaning that it can be used in tandem with Adobe’s own CDP to maximize marketing and retargeting campaigns. This allows for a simpler, interconnected workflow between multiple systems.

Audience Manager’s UI is designed to be simple and easy to use with a surprising amount of depth. As its price is set at a per-visitor cost, the DMP can be more expensive than other options on this list, although integrations with other Adobe systems can make it more cost-effective when using multiple products.

2

Lotame

Lotame

Source: Lotame

Lotame’s Audience Management is a DMP made for digital publishers. Its suite of analytical tools and creative activations help publishers reach brand-new target audiences.

Lotame strongly focuses on both first and second-party data ensuring a privacy-built approach to data collection. For third-party data collection, Lotame created the “Lightning Tag”, which offers a panoramic view of target audiences with cross-device tracking.

Lotame also created the “Cartographer Identity Graph”, an identity resolution system that is an alternative to cookie synching.

Audience Management has a variable pricing scheme and comes cheaper than DMPs such as Adobe’s Audience Manager. Although the UI is simple and easy to use, it can be sluggish at times.

3

LiveRamp

LiveRamp

Source: LiveRamp

LiveRamp’s solution is an effective DMP, with the added capability of being able to analyze data and build audience segments specifically for TV and streaming platform ads. This makes LiveRamp a specialist in delivering data on return on investment (ROI) for one of the largest growing sections of online advertising: video ads.

LiveRamp’s collaboration with many internal and external partners means it has a large set of first and second-party data available for identity linking, reducing the risk of re-identification.

LiveRamp’s Authenticated Traffic Solutions is an encrypted, people-based identifier that ensures there is no reliance on third-party cookies or mobile identifiers.

LiveRamp’s identity linking process is one of the best in the industry as it boasts one of the largest deterministic graphs on the internet. However, the massive amount of first and second-party data slows the first-party data onboarding process.

4

Permutive

Source: Permutive

Permutive’s Audience Platform provides an innovative privacy-focused, third-party solution to analyzing and targeting audiences with its cohort targeting. Instead of tracking personally identifiable information, it collects demographic data of target groups of people with similar primary attributes.

With Permutive’s focus on cohorts, it offers a comprehensive insight into target audience segmentation. However, the complexity of its audience segmentation can make its UI a little confusing to use.

Permutive’s pricing scheme comes on a page-by-page basis, meaning that digital publishers with more pages will pay more to run the platform. Publishers may have to restrict their use of the platform to their biggest pages.

5

MediaMath

MediaMath

Source: MediaMath

MediaMath is an industry-leading DSP with integrated DMP tools for publishers and advertisers. As all the tools — such as customer segmentation, dynamic budget allocation and identity management — are available on the same platform, it allows for easy interplay between the DSP and DMP systems.

MediaMath also employs an award-winning service team to handle any issues that may arise in its system. Couple this with an easy-to-understand and use UI and the experience is simple, clean and unobtrusive.

It is worth noting, however, that because MediaMath is a DSP first, some of its DMP features lack the specificity of other data platforms. Its audience segmentation, for example, is not as in-depth as others on the market.

6

Oracle BlueKai

Oracle BlueKai

Source: Oracle

Oracle’s BlueKai is another all-purpose DMP with a particularly good set of partnerships and B2B opportunities. Bluekai’s taxonomy tools create category-level information and share it with its specified business partners. The DMP also has good audience segmentation and great data warehousing tools.

Where Oracle BlueKai excels is in its user-friendly UI. It’s easy to understand and use, and has extensive information about the inner workings of its systems through open tutorials on its website. 

However, Oracle has developed something of a reputation for its long response times to emails, suggesting the company needs to expand its service team to properly handle clients’ needs. Also — while they have been implemented now — the company has been late to certain technical innovations such as cross-device connectivity.

7

The Trade Desk

The Trade Desk

Source: The Trade Desk

The Trade Desk is an innovative DMP with many interwoven systems for marketers and advertisers.

The Trade Desk’s implementation of Unified ID 2.0 — a unique identifier created from first-party data such as phone numbers and email addresses — is a cross-device, identity linking and user onboarding process.

In 2021, The Trade Desk also announced an integrated DSP called Solimar, bolstering the company’s DMP with goal-focused and deliberate data-driven measuring tools.

The Trade Desk’s DMP user experience is exceptionally well designed — maneuvering around the platform is smooth and the data is easy to visualize. However, it comes at a higher price compared with other DMPs on this list.

Final Thoughts

Although each DMP on our list performs essentially the same function, each has a unique niche and area of specialization.

The key to finding the best DMP lies in looking for one that meets the publisher’s specific needs. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list and it might be that for some these might not be quite the right fit at the end of the day. 

Whichever DMP a company decides on, it should consider whether that platform still relies on third-party cookies or if it has found an effective alternative. While the programmatic advertising industry is continuously evolving, DMPs remain both a core component of the process as well as an essential tool for publishers.

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