Key Points

  • Data Management Platforms are uniquely sophisticated pieces of ad technology that require a human element for effective utilization.
  • Ultimately, a DMP is meant to help publishers better understand their audience and make more revenue through advertising.
  • Due to the associated technology, resources, and costs, it is highly recommended that publishers partner with a DMP vendor rather than architecting one themselves.

A Data Management Platform (DMP) is essential to understanding the users, visitors, or customers that come to a publisher's site and how to serve them with the most positive, and in a lot of ways, beneficial user experience. Thus, the information collected, stored, and analyzed by a DMP ultimately serves two significant but vastly unique purposes when it comes to publishers.

The Purpose of a DMP

The first purpose of a DMP is to identify what is working and what is not working, what type of content your visitors are engaging with, and what device they are typically using when engaging with your content. Having this knowledge, among other even more granular details, will help you serve your users with the best content based on the unconscious actions they take on your site or app.

The second purpose that a DMP serves is to use the same pools of data to help draw more advertiser demand to your site. By offering valuable data sets to advertisers, your site could become a feeding frenzy for top-tier brands looking to reach very specific audiences with their campaigns.

Both purposes lead to more revenue, but of course, to make money, you often need to spend it first. According to Digital Uncovered, "On average, a DMP can cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $6,000 per month." That means, on only a DMP, you could end up spending approximately $72,000 a year. 

With talk of that much money on the table, you should want all the information available on DMPs in front of you before making any rash decisions about what DMP you want to integrate with your current tools.

In this article, we break down the architecture of a DMP to give you a clearer picture of what building your own might look like, including the challenges associated with doing so, in comparison to integrating a DMP solution with your existing ad tech stack. Read on to learn more!

A DMP is a highly sophisticated piece of technology that requires quite a bit of human touch. If you're not interested in taking on that beast, consider partnering with Playwire. Gain access to our built-in DMP as well as a plethora of other simple yet scalable ad tech tools that you'll need along your ad monetization journey. Contact us today!

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


DMP Architecture

For most publishers, building your own DMP will not be in the scope of your knowledge or resources. The technology, time, and technical expertise required to do so are extensive. But truth be told, integrating a DMP into your ad tech stack is in no way a simple task either.

Let's just say, for argument's sake, that you are currently considering architecting your own DMP versus integrating with a third-party DMP. Here's generally what that would look like:


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Keep reading below for more information on each individual step.

Build it Yourself: Implementation and Integration

If you are choosing to build your own DMP, the very first building block of a DMP's architecture is implementation. This step is just as important in the very beginning stages of building your own or integrating with a DMP as it is in the final stages (when your DMP finally begins to turn data into dollars).


Data Collection

There are a few different routes that a DMP can take to collect data including ad tags, server-to-server integration, and/or an Application Programming Interface (API). Each works as well as the next but requires different technical expertise from the initial set-up to the day-to-day assurance that the involved systems are constantly collecting real, up-to-date metrics.

Without proper implementation on the back end of your website or mobile app, typically inside your Software Development Kit (SDK), the necessary signals that tell each source to send their raw data into your DMP will not fire.


DMP to Server Integration

An early piece of the puzzle that you won't actually see the function of until later in the process is integrating your DMP with your chosen ad server technology as well as any other pieces of your ad tech stack such as a Consent Management Platform (CMP) to assure you're data collection procedures are compliant. 

Once your data has been collected, stored, organized, and segmented, your DMP should pass audience data up the chain to either your internal or third-party ad server, GAM, or Prebid, which is dependent on a number of variables such as the size of your site, monthly page views, and technical expertise. Through this already established connection (refer to "Build it Yourself: Implementation vs. Integration), your data will be passed along to demand- and supply-side platforms for bidding on your available inventory.


Technical Support

If you are going with the DIY approach and attempting to build your own DMP, you will need a team, or at least one technical solutions expert, to handle the implementation process in an ongoing capacity to manage issues and/or integrate new or different sources of data.

If you choose to integrate with a third-party DMP solution, there is still a bit of technical lift required on your end to get set up, but you will have an outsourced team of experts simplifying and streamlining the process for you as well as managing ongoing maintenance.

DMP Analytics: Audience Insights and Data Enrichment

Now that you have your DMP integrated with all your current systems, whether it be your own or with a third-party vendor, and it is collecting and storing various sources of data, you may think the difficult part is done. Wrong. You've only just begun.

The next building block of a DMP's structure is where you begin to analyze your stored data and prepare it for segmentation. You have mountains and mountains of analytics about your users, their online behavior, and actions. Before segmenting your data into pre-defined groups, you'll want your third-party or in-house DMP to first have the ability to eliminate any useless or duplicate data.

Secondly, you will want your DMP to have the ability to enrich your existing data with additional, more granular user attributes such as geolocation, through the use of first-, second-, and third-party data sources. This enrichment stage will allow you to grow the quantity of your data and the overall quality of your audience insights before segmenting them into more specific groupings.

This step is all about staying ahead of the digital curve, which is so much more than just reviewing your audience insights once a week and making decisions based on your findings. 

Staying ahead of the curve and effectively utilizing your audience insights means constant monitoring, analysis, and optimization, and making real-time adjustments to your strategy based on the data you see come in every single day. Over time, these day-to-day insights will help you build a larger, long-term data-driven strategy.

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Data Management Platform Resource Center

The Complete Data Management Platform Resource Center

DMP Audiences: Building Audience Segments

Stay with us as we are almost to the part where your DMP has turned your raw data, like magic, into more demand, higher CPMs, and more revenue in your pocket. The DMP architecture is nearly complete. 

All you have to do is take the data you have collected, stored, enriched, and analyzed and break it down into actionable audience segments. By actionable, we mean segments that can be used to make strategic decisions about your site or app, and presented to brands looking to advertise to targeted audiences.

An audience segment is essentially a group of individuals who share a variety of commonalities, which can be used by publishers, marketers, and advertisers to drive their digital strategy. Thus, the more specific your audience segments are, which is entirely based on all the previous steps that your chosen or built DMP should have taken by this point, the more precise your short-term and long-term strategy can be. 

Did we mention that a DMP doesn't just do this on its own? A DMP is only a piece of technology after all, which requires a human on the outside telling the technology exactly what to do or, in this case, what user attributes to target and pull into manually pre-defined audience segments. 

Architecting your own DMP solution would mean internally handling this massive manual overtaking while integrating with the right DMP for your business would free up your valuable internal resources so you can focus on creating great content while your DMP provider focuses on managing every aspect of your DMP.

DMP Integration: Generating Demand for Your Data

The final piece of a DMP's architecture is integration. You have collected and analyzed the insights that your DMP has made available to you. You, or your DMP vendor, have created audience segments that now house actionable, yet more digestible bits of information that can be used to grow your site and draw in more premium advertisers. 

How do you actually get this data into the hands of the right buyers? There are a number of ways to do so but one of the most prominent is by providing your audience cohorts, through an ad server, to Demand-Side Platforms (DSP) and Supply-Side Platforms (SSP) for auction.



Integration is such a crucial piece of this architectural puzzle because without it, all the data your DMP and you, or your DMP provider, have worked so hard to collect and segment would be virtually useless. Integrating with an ad server is a tricky process that takes long-term time and resources, but it's necessary to get your data onto the proper platforms.
Through these platforms, your data is made available and the bidding process begins for your available inventory, which ultimately matches targeted ads to the specific audiences that your data indicates can be found on your site or app. Thus, this is a can't skip step. The more platforms that you integrate with, the more demand that is generated for your available inventory.


Direct Sales

There is another option, of course, in which the data collected by your DMP is presented directly to top-tier brands through direct sales IOs and programmatic advertising, matching you with brands that are basically tailor-made to exist among your existing content.

Click here to learn more about what integrating or syncing a direct sales team with a quality DMP may look like and how it can help increase demand and boost CPM rates for your inventory.

Additional Challenges

In addition to all that has been laid out above, there are a number of potential challenges that you need to consider whether you plan to architect your own DMP or integrate with an existing DMP.

  • Technical Integration: What is the simplest yet most effective way to integrate your DMP technology with the other existing platforms you are already using? Do you have the technical expertise to handle the integration internally?
  • Cross-device data collection: How do you assure that you are able to seamlessly collect data across every device(desktop app, mobile app, and web)?
  • Scalability: As you grow your website or app, will your audience data be able to grow at the same pace? Will your DMP have the ability to scale with your business? Do you have the human manpower required to grow with your DMP?
  • Customization: What are your capabilities for customization? Are you able to access the type of data that you need precisely when you need it?

Let Playwire do the Heavy Lifting for you

Architecting your own DMP is no easy task, but integrating your current ad tech stack with a third-party DMP solution can be just as difficult if you pick the wrong partner. 

A DMP is about as complicated and sophisticated a piece of advertising technology as you will find due to all the associated intricacies and manual work required to make it a truly effective tool. Working with Playwire will take not only the heavy lifting of building your own DMP off your plate but your overall data management and data-driven strategy. 


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Playwire's DMP is built right into our greater RAMP platform, which is backed by Revenue Intelligence {RI}. A combination of machine learning and AI, our Revenue Intelligence algorithm alongside our complete ad tech stack for both web and app publishers will help take your ad monetization to the next level without breaking the bank.

Contact our team today to learn more about how Playwire makes ad tech simpler and smarter for our partners.

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