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Taking on a DMP: What You Need to Know

Published: December 15, 2016

Author: Feliks Malts

In our last blog, “Leveraging DMPs for next level customer engagement,” we discussed the key insights a DMP can provide for your customer segments, enabling you to make strategic improvements on the way you target those segments. However, as you’ve probably guessed, it’s not as simple hitting the “on” switch and having your DMP output a list of changes to make. With any powerful analytics tool, there will be a reasonable level of complexity in implementation and overall use. However, with the right pieces in place, you can overcome most of the challenges associated with DMPs, and start gaining the insights you need.

During my time working with DMPs, I’ve come up with some best practices for use and implementation. To increase your chance of success, I’ve listed some of the most common questions I’ve received:

For a successful DMP implementation, what do we need in place?

It may seem obvious, but it’s important to pre-plan the implementation and have a good understanding of what kind of data you want to collect.
Technology: If you have a tag management platform, leverage it for the implementation. You can get the majority of the tech-intensive work done through it. If you don’t, I highly recommend implementing one before moving forward. Additionally, make sure you have all needed components in place to get up and running. If you have offline data, partner with an onboarding solution or ensure your DMP provider is aware and can help. Alternatively, you can with a partner like 3Q that has experience and knows what they are doing to get you up and running successfully.
People: You’re also going to need expertise and bandwidth, and I don’t just mean technology. A developer who knows Javascript, HTML, and CSS is a must during the implementation period, which usually spans a few weeks. Once you are up and running, you also need people who know what to do with the data, can analyze it, and with statistical confidence, use it to decide who else your brand should be targeting and talking to. From a view to the perfect targeting of your users, there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done. Leveraging people with prior DMP experience will help you avoid some of the pitfalls that come from believing you can just plug in a DMP, put a time on your site, and have it do magic for you.

If we don’t already have a tag management system, how long does it take to implement one?

This will vary based on the resources your team has available. It could take just a few days; it could take four months. If your organization can’t prioritize it, or has a lot of development-intensive initiatives, it could push implementation way out. If you are held to a priority queue and a release cycle where your organization is only releasing code builds every few weeks, the process could slow down considerably. However, with the right focus, it’s possible to get a tag management system up fairly quickly.

What is the typical culprit when a DMP implementation goes wrong?

I’ve seen examples of implementations going wrong because the process is owned by the wrong department in a company, it doesn’t have the right stakeholders, or the team doesn’t have the technical expertise and doesn’t seek help. Unfortunately, because of these reasons, I’ve seen companies license a DMP that never sees the light of day. If you aren’t confident about your DMP implementation, I’d highly recommend seeking help. Spending a little more upfront to do it right will be much more worthwhile in the end.

Do I need a certain amount of traffic to be successful with a DMP?

With a DMP, it’s less about traffic and more about the volume of signals or conversion events. Most DMPs will want to see ~1k events, or have the tag called 1k times before it surfaces up in the platform for use. For obvious reasons, it wouldn’t make sense to pass in information on ten users, for example, because your results won’t be statistically significant.

What are the main benefits of working with 3Q as opposed to implementing on our own?

Cost: As mentioned in our blog “The mighty DMP: nine misconceptions”, DMPs can be extremely expensive, with set up fees as high as $50k before you even factor in the monthly cost. 3Q’s partnership with Lotame, which gives our clients access to a pay-for-what-you-eat cost structure, makes the cost much more manageable. Additionally, because we handle the implementation ourselves, we are able to reduce the set up fees to practically nothing.
Quicker implementation: The recommended lead time for DMP implementation is 6-8 weeks. Because we have a deep understanding of our clients, our average implementation time is typically between 4-14 days. A big piece of the implementation is setting up a tag manager if you don’t already have one or if it’s not set up properly. If this is the case, we will write the tags for our clients knowing what information we are looking to pull once the DMP is up and running. We’ve successfully completed enough DMP implementations that we know the pitfalls already, and we know how to fix for issues that could arise later.
Proven expertise in data interpretation: At 3Q we’ve pulled together a vast amount of industry knowledge to create our own proprietary process for interpreting the information a DMP provides. From implementation to audience discovery, audience segmentation, and audience exclusion, we know how to help you get the most out of your data. When it comes to gaining key insights from a DMP, the work doesn’t end with implementation. Our process allows our clients to reap the full benefits of the data a DMP provides and use it to hit their KPIs.
Direct ties for media buying: Part of our implementation process is to take account IDs from media channels and have Lotame set up the pipes for every client to push audiences to their channels whether that’s Facebook, Google Adwords, etc. Our process allows for end-to-end optimization for your customer segments.  
In summary, if you don’t have all of these pieces in place, you should seek help before moving forward. You want to begin realizing the benefits of your DMP as soon as possible, and failing to provide the necessary support will stall this process. There are major benefits to working with a partner. Utilizing one like 3Q Digital will help you speed up the implementation, obtain the deepest insights from your data, receive discounted pricing, and avoid costly mistakes. I have helped numerous companies of varying sizes through their implementations and can confidently say that even if you have the people and technology you need, it’s always good to consult counsel to ensure the process is as smooth as possible.
If you still aren’t sure if a DMP is right for your organization, you can read more in our Ultimate Guide to DMPs. Although taking on a DMP might seem challenging, I can confidently say that the insights a DMP offers can and will take your segmentation and targeting to the next level. If you have additional questions about DMPs or how 3Q can help, contact us today.

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