A data management platform (DMP) is a data analytics tool used by many companies to aggregate, store, and analyze data from multiple sources. These many sources include a company’s own systems and third-parties. Most digital management platforms have features that complement data analytics software as key tools to help organize audiences into specific segments.
While all DMPs offer these core features, there is a lot of variation in how they function.
Some data management platforms act like data warehouse tools for marketing data. They collect data from multiple sources and integrate it into many different applications. These data management platforms are essentially the “pipes” connecting a diverse set of data tools.
Other DMPs are integrated with demand-side platforms or DSPs. DSPs automate media buying across digital platforms, helping organizations find the most cost-effective way to reach their target audiences. These DMPs function as add-ons, providing more value to the core DSP.
Lots of other DMPs fall outside these two broad categories. They integrate with CRM systems or they might be part of a media outlet’s tools, which they use to court advertisers. Moving forward, data management platforms will increasingly incorporate machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Because data management platforms come in so many different varieties, shopping for the best vendor can be complex.
How to Select a Data Management Platform
The following tips can help you find the best DMP for your organization:
- Consider your needs before researching products. Do you want a full-featured media-buying platform or just basic data management capabilities? If you don’t understand your needs in advance, you can easily end up investigating products that don’t have the features you need or that offer unnecessary features for which you don’t need to pay.
- Make sure you are comparing similar products. The disparity of product features makes it difficult to compare pricing. Compounding the problem, none of the vendors featured in this list offer up-front pricing. Be prepared to sit through a lot of demos and do a lot of homework if you want to find the best value. And that could be important, because a lot of DMP customers, from many vendors, complain that their product is priced too high.
- Examine the data and application integrations carefully. A good DMP will be able to integrate data from a lot of different sources. It should also integrate with (or replace) the other marketing and advertising tools that you are using.
- Evaluate the analytics features carefully. Many DMPs claim to include AI capabilities, but those AI capabilities are not all equally advanced. Make sure you have seen a platform’s analytics in action and are satisfied with its performance before purchasing.
- Don’t forget about customer service. Data management is complicated. You are likely to need support getting your tool up and running, as well as on an ongoing basis. Check the reviews to see how other customers feel about the customer service they received from the vendors you are considering.
With those tips in mind, here are ten data management platform vendors you might want to consider:
- Adobe Audience Manager
- Google Marketing Platform
- Mapp Cloud
- MediaMath Terminal One
- Nielsen Marketing Cloud
- Oracle CX Marketing
- Salesforce Audience Studio
- The Trade Desk
Best Data Management Platforms
Adobe Audience Manager
Although best known for its design software and other tools for creative professionals, Adobe also offers a range of tools for marketing and commerce, as well as other business solutions. Founded in San Jose, California, in 1986, Adobe has grown to an $11.7 billion company with more than 22,000 employees worldwide. Its stock is traded on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol ADBE.
Audience Manager is part of Adobe’s Experience Cloud for marketers. It allows organizations to collect data from a wide variety of sources, build new audience segment models, and uncover new insights. Well-known users include Hyatt, Virgin Holidays, National Bank of Canada, Sky and others. Forrester named it a leader in its Forrester Wave report for Data Management Platforms.
- The Audience Manager integrates closely with other Adobe products, especially other Experience Cloud software.
- The cloud-based model makes the software easy to access.
- It ingests both structured and unstructured data from a wide variety of sources.
- Many customers complain that it takes a long time to load data into the tool.
- The software can be difficult to learn.
- Some customers say that the product’s pricing is too high.
Geared as an independent advertising platform, Amobee offers end-to-end campaign and portfolio management that includes DMP capabilities. Founded in 2005 in Foster City, California, the company was acquired by Singapore-based Singtel for $321 million in 2012, but it continues to do business under the Amobee name. It has won numerous awards as a great place to work, and it has offices throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.
The Discover tool within the Amobee platform includes many data management capabilities, such as audience intelligence, segment creation, sentiment and trends, data onboarding and more. It also integrates with the rest of the Amobee platform for media planning, execution, optimization and analysis. Its users include Pringles, Kia, the NBA, Evian, Spotify, Airbnb, Fiat and many others.
- As part of a complete media platform, Amobee offers many features that other DMPs do not.
- It integrates all of an organization’s media activities and simplifies advertising management.
- The company’s sales and support representatives get top marks from customers.
- Amobee fees can be high, especially compared with DMP tools that have fewer features.
- The interface is not as user-friendly as some other options.
- Amobee offers a lot of features that may not be necessary for organizations looking only for a data management platform.
Google Marketing Platform
Similar to Amobee, Google offers a unified Marketing Platform that combines data management with advertising and analytics. Google, of course, is one of the most popular places to purchase advertising, bringing in $37.1 billion in revenue in the third quarter of 2020. Headquartered in Mountain View, California, it is a subsidiary of Alphabet.
Google divides its Marketing Platform into two different flavors: small business and enterprise. In the enterprise category, it offers Analytics 360, which incorporates DMP capabilities. Its features include analytics intelligence, reporting, segmentation, visualization and predictive analytics.
- The Google Marketing Platform is an excellent option for organizations that do a lot of advertising on Google.
- It incorporates web data and analytics along with advertising audience data and analytics.
- The platform offers advanced predictive analytics capabilities that can help organizations plan their marketing strategy.
- The Google tools can ingest data from some third-party sources, but they aren’t as good as some other tools at integrating with external data sources.
- Users in developing countries sometimes complain about limited support for their local markets.
- It also lacks some channel management capabilities found on other platforms.
Founded in 2006, Lotame is focused on offering a leading unstacked data solution. Its clients include CBC, IBM, Omnicom Media Group, McClatchy and many other marketers, publishers, media firms and agencies. Headquartered in New York City and Columbia, Maryland, it also has offices in Argentina, London, Mumbai, Singapore and Sydney. Privately held, it has raised an estimated $61.7 million in venture capital.
The Lotame DMP consists of four integrated products: Lotame Lab for building, segmenting and scaling audiences; Lotame Connect for ingesting audience data; Lotame analytics for analyzing audience and behavioral data; and Lotame Data Exchange for purchasing audience data. The company takes pride in the fact that its platform is unbundled, so that customers don’t have to purchase any technology or services they don’t need. It’s also media-agnostic so that users can ingest data from virtually any source.
- Lotame’s unbundled model lets customers buy only the services and technology they need.
- The company’s award-winning customer service receives rave reviews.
- The platform is very flexible, giving users the ability to import and export data to and from a wide variety of sources.
- Lotame lacks some automation features that customers would like to see.
- Some customers complain that the pricing is too high and that the company has too many incidental charges.
- The platform offers a lot of features, and the possibilities can be overwhelming until users learn how it all functions.
Formerly known as Mapp Digital, Mapp was founded in 1998 as a digital marketing technology company. Its customers include CBS Interactive, Lamborghini, Lloyds Banking group, Pepsico, Unilever and others. Privately held, the company has offices in San Diego, California, and in several European countries.
The company’s platform, Mapp Cloud, includes four distinct pieces: Mapp Acquire for customer acquisition, Mapp Engage for customer engagement, Mapp Intelligence for analytics and Mapp Connect for APIs to connect with other tools and partners. Its DMP capabilities include centralized data collection, unified customer profiling, segmentation and more. It also offers email marketing capabilities.
- Mapp Cloud offers solutions tailored for retail, financial services, media and agencies.
- It allows organizations to create a 360-degree view of their customers to improve marketing and boost sales.
- It incorporates email marketing and integrates with other tools to execute other types of campaigns.
- Some customers complain that Mapp Cloud’s interface isn’t as user-friendly as it could be.
- In addition, some people wish its social media capabilities were better.
MediaMath Terminal One
Founded in 2007, MediaMath offers a demand-side platform (DSP) with data management capabilities. It boasts more than 3,500 active advertisers, including Coca-Cola, IBM, eBay, SAS and others. It is headquartered in New York City and has more than 500 employees.
Media Math’s Terminal One platform offers a range of media buying and audience management capabilities, including campaign management, media management, creative management, targeting, identity management and consumer segmentation. Its segmentation tool can incorporate third-party data, and it coordinates campaigns across display, mobile, connected TV, video, audio, digital out of home and native channels.
- With Terminal One, you can integrate your data management with your media-buying activities.
- Customers give it high marks for its easy-to-use interface.
- It also receives high praise for its customer service.
- MediaMath does not offer an option to purchase data management without the full platform that includes media buying and other capabilities.
- Some customers complain about the high price, although others say it is cheaper than using an agency.
- Some also say that they wish the reporting allowed more flexibility.
Nielsen Marketing Cloud
Long known as the company behind television ratings, Nielsen has branched out to offer other media-related products and services. Headquartered in New York City, it has been in business since 1923 and has operations in more than 100 countries. In 2019, it reported $6.5 billion in revenue. It is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NLSN, and it is a component of the S&P 500.
The company’s DMP, known as Nielsen Marketing Cloud, connects to Nielsen audience data and also incorporates analytics and AI capabilities. Its features include media planning, profiling, segmentation, orchestration, in-flight analytics, message sequencing, reach and frequency, frequency capping and more. It also integrates with many third-party applications.
- The ability to use Nielsen data directly sets this data management platform apart from many others.
- Nielsen’s platform also incorporates advanced artificial intelligence features that give it exceptional analytics capabilities.
- It has received several awards for being among the best DMPs available.
- Some customers complain about feeling locked into Nielsen’s contracts.
- For less experienced users, the platform can be difficult to use at first.
- A few customers expressed that the company didn’t always do a good job communicating about changes to the product.
Oracle CX Marketing
Although best known for its database software, Oracle offers a wide range of technology products and services. Headquartered in Redwood City, California, it has been in business since 1977. It is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ORCL, and it is a component of the S&P 500 and the S&P 100. In its fiscal 2020 filing, it reported $39.07 billion in revenue.
Part of Oracle’s lineup of cloud computing services, Oracle’s Customer Experience (CX) solution (also known as Oracle Fusion Cloud CX) integrates with Oracle’s database software, allowing organizations to tie their customer experience data with their financial data. It can handle both B2C and B2B, and it includes campaign management, segmentation, personalization, customer acquisition, customer intelligence, smart content, and other capabilities.
- Integration with Oracle’s database software makes this option a good choice for organizations that use other Oracle products.
- The CX solutions combines customer relationship management (CRM) capabilities with a DMP.
- The tool is very powerful but also offers an easy-to-use interface.
- This advanced solution can be complex to deploy, especially in comparison with similar data management platforms.
- The software is very full-featured, but may be overkill for organizations that don’t use other Oracle software or don’t want to tie their DMP to other parts of the business.
- As an enterprise leader, it can be very expensive.
Salesforce Audience Studio
Salesforce is the world’s leading provider of customer relationship management (CRM) software, and was one of the first companies to fully embrace cloud computing as its business model. It has also won numerous awards for being an admired company and a great place to work. Its headquarters is in San Francisco, California, and it is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CRM. In fiscal 2020, it reported $17.1 billion in annual revenue.
As you might expect, Audience Studio (formerly known as Salesforce DMP) integrates closely with the Salesforce CRM platform. It is part of the company’s Marketing Cloud portfolio and includes data capture, segmentation and analytics, as well as leveraging Salesforce’s Einstein AI technology. Audience Studio customers include Conagra, Farmers Insurance, PSA Peugeot Citroën and others.
- Organizations that use the Salesforce CRM will appreciate Audience Studio’s ability to integrate with Salesforce’s other solutions.
- The platform is highly customizable.
- Audience Studio has a lot of built-in compliance capabilities that can be especially helpful for organizations that do business internationally, or those in highly regulated industries.
- The platform can be buggy, and sometimes response times are slow, especially when loading data.
- While it integrates well with the Salesforce CRM, it doesn’t always integrate well with other marketing applications.
- Like some of the other options on this list, this DMP offers so many features that new users sometimes get overwhelmed.
The Trade Desk
Founded in 2009, The Trade Desk says that it aims to transform media for the benefit of humankind. It is primarily a demand-side platform but also offers a DMP and other media-related tools and services. The company is headquartered in Ventura, California. It is traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol TTD, and in 2019 it reported revenue of $661 million.
The Trade Desk’s DMP product includes audience segmentation, lookalike modeling, third-party audience data integration, and a data marketplace. It is part of the overall platform and not available as a separate product. Users include Anheuser-Busch, Safelite AutoGlass, Home Chef, Meineke and others.
- Companies interested in using The Trade Desk’s media-buying capabilities will appreciate that it has a built-in DMP.
- Research firms have named The Trade Desk as a leader in its market.
- The platform gets rave reviews from customers, especially for the availability of third-party data.
- You cannot buy its DMP as a standalone product.
- It is difficult to share data sets across accounts within the data management platform.
- Some users say that they wish the reporting were more customizable.
Data Management Platform Comparison Table
|Adobe Audience Manager||
· Integration with other Adobe tools
· Cloud-based model
· Ingests structured and unstructured data
· Long load times
· Difficult to learn
· Full-featured platform
· Simplifies advertising management
· Excellent customer support
· Not user-friendly
· Overwhelming features
|Google Marketing Platform||
· Integrates with Google
· Incorporates Web analytics
· Advanced predictive analytics
· Inadequate integration with other data sources
· Lack of support in developing countries
· Inadequate channel management
· Unbundled purchasing model
· Award-winning customer service
· Highly flexible
· Inadequate automation
· High prices
· Overwhelming features
· Tailored solutions for industry verticals
· 360-degree view of customers
· Incorporates email marketing
· Not user-friendly enough
· Poor social media capabilities
· Poor globalization capabilities
|MediaMath Terminal One||
· Integration with DSP
· Easy-to-use interface
· Excellent customer service
· No standalone DMP
· Not very flexible
|Nielsen Marketing Cloud||
· Incorporates Nielsen ratings data
· Advanced AI
· Multiple awards
· Difficult to use
· Inadequate communication about updates
|Oracle CX Marketing||
· Integration with Oracle DB
· Combines CRM and DMP
· Powerful features
· Difficult deployment
· Overwhelming features
|Salesforce Audience Studio||
· Integration with Salesforce CRM
· Highly customizable
· Compliance features
· Lack of integration with other applications
· Overwhelming feature set
|The Trade Desk||
· Integrated with a DSP
· Named a leader
· Good customer reviews
· No standalone DMP
· Difficult to share datasets
· Inadequate customization