The presentations on DMPs (data management platforms)—and all they can do for publishers—at last Thursday’s Connectiv Digital Media Council meeting by Kerel Cooper (pictured), VP, platform development for LiveIntent, and ONEcount President Joanne Persico were so thorough that one participant asked the obvious question: How much staff will we need to add?
“Publishers are telling me that they are using existing staff to do this,” said Persico. “ 'We already have editors going into Google Analytics, we already have people going into our newsletter vendor and looking at analytics there. We already have our ad ops people pre-flighting ads to DMPs.' So this was just a shift, an educational shift. To know that there’s now a tool that consolidates everything in one place needed education and redefinition. How do you just change the mindset?”
So many advancements today require a mindset change. But some are easier than others. The one surrounding DMPs sounds less daunting. “A DMP is a platform/software that collects and houses information,” Cooper simply stated. “So any information on the web, CRM data, any offline data, a DMP is responsible for collecting and storing that data. A DMP also allows you to organize that data in a manner that can be useful. It’s one thing to collect it [but] you have to turn that data into actionable segments you can use for targeting or reporting.
“A DMP also gives you deeper insights into who those customers are,” Cooper said. “And then you can use those insights to make smart decisions.”
The idea is to be able to target known customers in a more efficient manner. A publisher will use a tag that is specific to them to place throughout an entire website. It will collect every single action that a user takes there. How often a customer is consuming content, sharing posts to Twitter or Facebook, searching on site, her purchase behavior, her registrations. A DMP will help make that information actionable.
“It can write rules that will automate certain behaviors going into certain buckets,” Cooper said, “like a sports bucket, a travel bucket or B2B bucket. But there are manual aspects to it as well. It has to be a company-wide initiative. There needs to be a group that is helping to create audiences.”
Cooper went over the different sets of data involved: the first party that publishers own, the second party that someone is sharing—he said this is becoming more popular now—and the third-party where you might collect data from any number of places. Through these, you’re creating high-level audiences.
He gave an example of a high school sports section he used to work with. “Before there was a DMP, we only could market to those users in that content-specific section. But then we created that high school sports audience—anyone who visited that section more than three times—and that started to generate page views in other sections.” A sales strategy followed with much more cross-section selling.
“We would not have been able to understand our high school sports section audience,” Cooper said. “They were consuming other parts of the site; it showed us what else they were interested in—travel, looking for homes. A DMP can help you with those insights.”
Among the lessons he learned, Cooper said they became much smarter about utilizing as much data as possible to make decisions—about campaigns, content, where to place ads on pages. He reiterated that it has to be a company-wide initiative. It will make content teams smarter about the audiences on site.
“But it is not a set it and forget it tool,” he added. “You should have dedicated managing resources and always look to innovate.” This is not a cookie-based system anymore. There’s so much more information and insights to be learned—through age, interests and topics. You can now layer audiences into any campaigns you’re running.
Persico (pictured) went over the stages of a successful DMP implementation. First you want to identify your audience. Next is the discovery stage where you want to discover more about that audience, their behavior. Next comes engagement—when people are signing on to a publisher site. “The whole point is to have that single customer view,” Persico said. With the single sign-on, you can even append social identities back to a customer’s record.
The fourth stage is targeting—serving relevant content and ads to your audience. And the fifth stage is insight. What do you do with all this data? Are you tracing the customer journey? How is your audience interacting with your brand?
“Advertisers want identity-based advertising,” Persico said. “They want to know they’re reaching the right person. For editorial [it means] you’re personalizing relevant content and site experience. See what articles they’re reading,” focusing on what they want. Then it’s about creating new events based on behaviors and actions they’re taking.
All of this information allows you to create personas—and have unification through your platform. “I will have a new story to go to my advertisers with,” she said. “…But you have to educate advertisers and internal staff on DMP data.” And despite what she said about existing staff handling DMP chores, a data scientist or two won’t hurt the cause.
The benefits, she said, include:
- segmentation by demographics and engagement thus reducing list fatigue and better pinpointing your message.
- hyper targeted premium advertising.
- identity and behavioral tracking. She spoke of a successful newsletter specifically targeting Zika.
- the personas which give you better content and ad targeting.
- and the insights and unified dashboards—having it all in one place—that proves value to advertisers.
You can access the full DMC meeting here.
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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…