About this Series

You’re reading an entry in the Ad Tech Build vs. Buy Series, the blog series in which Playwire calls upon our team of experts to provide in-depth knowledge, guidance and insights on various parts of publishers’ ad tech stacks.

In today’s article, we present the perspective of Playwire Chief Technology Officer Nick Branstator. For more than eight years, Nick has led Playwire’s engineering and product teams. With more than two decades of experience in the web and tech sectors, he brings a balanced and razor-sharp perspective on data management platforms (DMPs). Read on!

Check out all the blogs in this series.

-- Article Continues Below --

The Publisher's Guide to Data Management PlatformsThe Publisher's Guide to Data Management Platforms


The Essential Publisher Task of Data Management

If you have data, you need to manage it. Otherwise, all that lovely user data is doing nothing for your bottom line. Publishers simply can’t afford to let the value of their data die on the vine, and most understand that at this point. 

The real problem comes down to actually managing the data in a sustainable, useful way. Like almost everything else in ad tech, there’s a platform for that. In fact, there are dozens of data management platforms. But are they right for your unique needs? That’s exactly what we explore in this post. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know.

Playwire has built a DMP that blends data from a huge network of publisher sites to drive maximum revenue for publishers like you. Interested? Contact us.

Data Management Platform: Defined

The definition of DMP is relatively simple: it’s a platform that gathers data about users on publishers’ websites or apps in a way that’s compliant with privacy legislation. It’s what the DMP does that’s somewhat complicated. A good data management platform will let you build audience segments, track users, assign users to existing audience segments and, in some cases, monetize those audience segments with advertisers.

That last bit is where the value comes in for publishers. If you’re a relatively large publisher, you’re sitting on a gold mine of user data. The right DMP will help you unearth that gold and use it to boost your cost per mille (CPM) rates.

‘Build’ isn’t Really an Option with DMPs

Here’s the thing: this is the “build vs. buy” series, but building your own DMP isn’t really an option. Sure, in the sense that anything can happen and someone has done it before, it’s possible. But it’s certainly not probable for most publishers.

The sheer tech involved and the functionality required — not to mention the cost — create a barrier to building your own DMP that makes the Great Wall of China look like a speed bump.

To give just one example: consider the death of the third-party cookie. It’s coming, and it has created enormous challenges for this entire industry. Anybody who wants to build a DMP that can withstand the slow death of the third-party cookie has to figure out the tech that will permit that. That’s the kind of product people build companies around.

Even before the cookie was on the decline, many companies were building DMPs as their sole product. That’s how big and complicated these things are. Think of it this way: Playwire has to handle thousands of requests for audience information per second in order to make our DMP work. That’s a lot of scale — are you up for that kind of challenge?

In other words, unless you’re The New York Times or a similarly large publisher, you’re not going to build your own DMP. Your remaining option is to use an existing DMP to monetize user data from your website or app.

-- Article Continues Below --

Data Management Platform Resource CenterThe Complete Data Management Platform Resource Center

Your Data Management Platform Options

There are dozens of data management platforms, so you have plenty of options. Here’s what most of them look like: you spend money to use someone else’s DMP to create your own audience segments and track your users. You have to make sure you’re not improperly using the DMP in a way that would get you into legal trouble based on your country’s privacy legislation.

If you have some money to spend, a ton of users and a good handle on how to use a DMP effectively, then great. You can go with Oracle BlueKai, Salesforce Audience Studio or a similar platform. Just make sure the DMP you choose is ready for a future without cookies. As an important FYI, most are not ready and are scrambling right now to find a solution. 

But even if the DMP you choose appears to be prepared for a cookieless future, you may run into another potential problem: you may not have enough reach on your individual site or sites to establish effective audience segments — the kind buyers actually want to pay premium prices for. 

There are certainly people on your site who have valuable interests outside of your niche, but if you have too little content related to that subject area and not enough users, you won’t be able to drill down far enough to create a monetizable audience segment. 

Where does that leave you? With an expensive DMP and with money on the table because you can’t effectively monetize your audience data. But there’s a solution.

Playwire’s Turnkey DMP vs. Everybody Else

Playwire has built a DMP that solves the problem of too little reach. How? By creating cross-site audiences from our massive network of publishers. We pool audiences across entire networks to get enough data to build highly attractive audience segments for publishers like you. The result? Your CPMs go up — way up.


Even if you have enough data to make one of the other data management platforms work for you as you build audience segments, you still have to figure out the monetization bit. Your audience doesn’t get shared with buyers automatically. You have to do it — that is, unless you work with Playwire. We maintain a global direct sales team that knows how to sell the audience segment information you have in a way that gets you maximum CPMs every time. 

In all likelihood, you won’t be able to do all of this on your own even with the help of an established DMP. But with Playwire, you get our world-class DMP and a team to manage it for you as part of our revenue-amplification package deal.

The DMP Built for Busy Publishers

Publishers are, by definition, busy. Most are stressed, and most don’t have the time truly needed to build a data management platform. Leaving your data to gather dust isn’t an option either, so you’re left with the option of buying a DMP. But do you go with a turnkey solution or one you’ll have to pay dearly for, implement and manage yourself?

To us, the answer is clear. And we suspect that, by this point in this post, it’s clear to you, too. Playwire gives you access to our DMP that is custom-made for publishers like you. And we manage every aspect of it for free as part of our industry-transforming revenue amplification platform. 

Sound like something that might work for you? We’re ready to get to work for you. Simply contact Playwire online to get started.

Ad Tech Stack Pillar