A Data management platform (DMP) is a complex piece of software used to collect, store, classify, analyze, and distribute large quantities of data. It is a cornerstone technology for larger organizations when it comes to advertising data management, with rapidly increasing adoption. Data collection is a core capability of every data management platform. Being able to pull data from various disparate sources into one place may unlock enormous value. Typically, DMPs can ingest first-party data, second-party data from contracted partners, as well as third-party data from external providers.What differentiates various DMPs is the range of available data sources and integrations out of the box, data collection implementation, and speed of data transfer. The best DMPs have a large number of reliable (ideally lossless) and fast data integrations with other technology and data vendors. In addition, they offer an easy implementation with customization options.
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First-party data ingestion
First-party data is collected directly from DMP client’s own users. Usually, this data is collected from client websites, ad campaigns, mobile apps, CRM systems, search campaigns, social media, email communication, or offline sources. With the wide array of data sources falling under the first-party category umbrella, together with the diverse capabilities and designs of data management platforms, there is no universal method of collecting this data.
Website data is usually gathered by placing a DMP tag on each page, which sends structured data into the DMP when the page is loaded. This data is tied to a user identifier (e.g. cookie ID or a hashed login), so that the DMP can file it correctly. Website data might include for example page URL, title, referrer, search keyword (used to get to the site, or in an on-site search), page keywords, or custom data points. The DMP tag can also send technical data, such as browser type, operating system, browser language, or geo location.
Mobile app data is collected using a DMP-specific software development kit (SDK), commonly offered for iOS and Android. Offline data from a structured database, such as a CRM system, is often ingested by uploading a file formatted to the DMP specifications (in a process called data onboarding). Ad Campaign data, including impressions, clicks, and other events, is typically captured by inserting a piece of code (also called a “pixel”) into campaign creatives. This code then sends campaign data into the DMP. Alternatively, the DMP can ingest a log file from the ad server used to deliver a campaign.
These are just some examples of how a DMP might go about ingesting first-party data from the most common sources. More advanced DMPs provide APIs to simplify data collection and transfer. The exact implementation will depend on the particular DMP design and partner integrations, as well as client data ingestion requirements. As each client has a different technology stack, it is important to make sure the DMP can integrate well with the critical data sources – ideally, the DMP and data source/vendor should have a ready-made integration available which can be easily customized and deployed.
Second-party data ingestion
Second-party data is obtained through partnerships with other entities, and is essentially their first-party data. This is often facilitated via data exchanges, built directly into the data management platform. An integrated data exchange lets a DMP client easily set up data deals with selected partners, without having to worry about data transfer, contracts, or billing. These data exchanges usually allow some degree of flexibility as to how deals are structured – variables can include pricing model (flat fee or CPM), usage (modeling/targeting/analytics), or privacy (public vs. private deal). To take advantage of an integrated data exchange to share second-party data, both the buyer and the seller typically need to be clients of the same DMP.