Your data is worthless.
Perhaps that is an overstatement, but there is some truth to it. Unless you connect your data management platform (DMP) to a demand-side platform (DSP) or other programmatic media, you are not realizing the full potential of your data or your programmatic media and DSPs.
Learn to Walk Before You Run
The following five strategies will help you capitalize on your DMP by connecting it to programmatic media and DSPs. However, it is worth noting that taking a crawl-walk-run approach is always ideal when it comes to integrating these tools.
The first step is to ingest and organize your data within the DMP. Many organizations stop there, but this is really just the crawling stage of the process. Once you have your data collected and organized, you must act on it.
The walking stage is where things really come to life and where you start pushing those audience profiles out to the actual targeting platforms that are the endpoints of the conversations with the consumers.
The final stage of this growth is the running stage. This is where you combine the data set from your DSP, the first-party data set from your DMP, and any other analytics you may be capturing (with tools such as Adobe Analytics) to make real-time media-buying decisions. Now, let’s move on to five strategies and examples for connecting your DMP to programmatic media.
- Start Simple
Back to this idea of crawl-walk-run, I think it is important to start simple and get more sophisticated with your data and data application over time. Start with building traits in your DMP that are based on your first-party site behavior. Then, you can graduate to onboarding other data and data sources — such as your customer-relationship management (CRM) into your DMP like Adobe Audience Manager — in an ongoing fashion. Keep stoking the fire of your DMP, but be sure to start with building confidence by identifying a few use cases from which you can gain some key insights. Then, for targeting purposes, you can push data out onto the spokes of your marketing wheel and ingest data back in to enhance user profiles.
- Your DMP Is Your Single Source of Truth
A great example of this is how Adobe approached our student audience. The student audience is very important to us, but it is also very hard to identify students digitally. Therefore, we considered users’ behavioral activities on our web properties, as well as attributes within our CRM database, to build a master list represent our student segment. Then, within our single source of truth (Audience Manager) for defining our student segment, we pushed that segment out to Adobe Target for targeting on Adobe.com. We also pushed the same segment out both to our display-marketing channel and to paid search. For a period of time, we were messaging to the same audience across all marketing channels in the same fashion and with the same message. So, after leaving the site, a user who qualified for the student segment would receive a student banner; then the user might perform a search query and receive student ad copy because Audience Manager told the search channel that person was a student; and then, upon coming back to the website, that user would experience Adobe.com’s student homepage, a student version of the homepage.
- Integrate Your CRM Attributes
What I mean by this is that you must tap into users you would not normally be able to with just your DMP information. For example, users who were once only reachable through email can be integrated into your DMP to give them an online ID that will allow you to not only targeting them across other channels, but also allowing you to enhance their profile with what they do behaviorally — not just their email activities. You can start saying the same thing to them in the display channel, across search, and onsite as well — all of which leads to the fourth strategy.
- Leverage Data Relationships
First-party data is king, but some marketers do not have enough first-party data to be impactful. With the right data partnerships and DMP, you can leverage your DMP to activate rich data and expand your reachable audiences beyond your first-party data. Marketers with a highly visted web property like Adobe have an obvious opportunity to customize their site-side targeting. To expand your addressable audience beyond your own first party data, 3rd party data can be a good solution. Doing so can help you expand the reach of who you can identify to serve them the most appropriate version of your content when they visit your site.
- Give Your DMP the Attention it Deserves
As with anything else in an organization, our tools are only as good as the team we put behind them. To that end, build a team around your DMP. You do not necessarily need many resources, because a DMP actually helps to reduce resources needed to do things the old way; however, at a minimum, you need someone to manage the credentials for and access to the DMP and the audience definitions as well as someone familiar with your first-party data structure and the location of that data within your organization. All of this will ensure that you are able to leverage the real-time nature and programmatic powerhouse that a DMP can really be.
Put Your Data to Work
I hope that you can use at least one of these strategies to make the most of your ad spend and get the best results possible from your DMP. Remember, your data is only as good as the results it delivers. By connecting to your DSPs and other programmatic media, you will maximize your returns and learn more about your audience so you can continuously evolve your strategies.