Tag management systems and DMPs — a match made in heaven?

Brand marketers these days demand tools that can build a holistic customer profile. Contributor Erik Bratt argues that combining data management platforms (DMPs) with tag management is the key to achieving that goal.


If you’ve been in marketing long enough, you’re probably familiar with John Wanamaker’s famous quote: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

Many marketers would say that statement holds just as true today as it did in 1874. But the digital ecosystem offers up challenges Wanamaker, considered the father of modern marketing, could not have dreamed of in his time.

Banner ubiquity, click-through rates, viewability issues, data quality and fraud all pose unique obstacles to gaining value from advertising investment. That’s why the combination of enterprise tag management systems and data management platforms (DMPs) is becoming increasingly critical.

Tag management systems and the DMP are changing the way modern marketers take action. These technologies are foundational to what we now call data-driven marketing. Even more, together they make it possible to gain more control and transparency in advertising. AdTech exchanges may “stack the house” because they can control where the advertising money gets spent (targeting), and then tell you how effective it was (performance).

DMPs and enterprise tag management in combination give you the tools to pull back the curtain on ad performance, to protect your investment and to see if a revenue lift actually occurs. If you don’t have that transparency of data, you will be at the mercy of vendors in the space.

Cutting waste, gaining value

For the publisher and advertiser, reducing waste in digital advertising poses some key challenges. The ubiquity of banners has created a kind of “banner blindness.” We no longer notice them because they are so numerous.

Google provided benchmark data revealing that click rates average 0.07 percent, or one click in 1,428 impressions. And after all that, you may not know whether it was a human click or a “bot.”

Viewability is also a big hurdle detracting from value. Google published data showing that, on average, half of all ads go unviewed. Banner ads may fall below the fold or be scrolled out of view. Some sites fraudulently fire the banner code, but the banner isn’t visible. Issues surrounding ad viewability have given rise to an industry standard, supported by Google, intended to ensure that 50 percent of an ad is viewable for at least one second, and two seconds for video.

What’s more, bot fraud (views based on non-human traffic) has been forecast at $7.2 billion for 2016 for both direct and programmatic buys, with programmatic being somewhat higher, according to research by White Ops and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

The quality of third-party data used to target advertising segments also comes into question. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the media-buying agency Mediasmith conducted a study based on buying demographic data from 11 vendors in the US and the UK, then using it to target digital ads for a pro bono client.

Mediasmith reported that performance among these vendors was mixed, with data from four vendors no better than targeting users at random. Besides the issue of poor data quality, there’s also the matter of its cost — which may run higher than the actual media costs.

The whole is greater…

Enter enterprise tag management and the DMP. But first a little history before looking at their contemporary virtues. Before DMPs were introduced, advertisers targeted websites, sometimes dozens of them, on the presumption they would reach the right audiences.

Now DMP technology enables marketers to buy advertising based on targeted audiences. You want to reach consumers with an interest in sports? It’s better to target audiences with certain attributes based on first-party and third-party data than to target everyone going to the ESPN site.

DMPs are made for just that purpose — to help the advertiser control the audience-buying process and switch vendors in and out based on measured performance. They can also layer in capabilities like those of demand-side platforms (DSPs) for automated bidding across ad exchanges.

Looking past the bells and whistles, it’s clear that data is foundational. Quality data enables marketers to conduct more accurate targeting and measure ad performance.

That’s where enterprise tag management comes in. This type of system enables the data to be organized in a uniform taxonomy to reduce waste and improve advertising effectiveness. The enterprise tag management system collects, integrates and applies security and privacy standards to rich first-party data and profiles, while also pulling in offline and offsite data.

What tag management does for DMPs

Marketers need to reach new audiences. Advertising is essential. And there are no silver bullets to maximize value from your digital ads. But data properly used to interrogate your campaigns and validate their performance is vitally important. Indeed, the advertiser’s first defense is data.

Consider what enterprise tag management supports in deploying and operationalizing DMPs:

  • Accelerates time to value. Tagging produces faster DMP deployments and offers a point-and-click approach to building audience taxonomies. It can also include the mobile realm with a no-software-development approach to native mobile apps.
  • Gain agility with proof of concepts. Rather than go through lengthy RFP processes, you can quickly test and evaluate before choosing a platform.
  • Operationalize your DMP. Enterprise tag management collects and unifies first-party customer data from on-site, offsite and offline sources, a key to better DMP audience-building strategies. This is simple, straightforward and powerful.
  • Prevent data leakage. You can control tag deployments, quickly seeing which tags are running on which sites, then manage and remove tags to reduce data leakage risk.
  • Control access to agencies. Tag management provides a way to manage access to the right data and workflows with your trusted partners.
  • Maximize digital advertising ROI. Marketing can extend the value of the DMP investment by supporting a data management strategy that optimizes media performance. The enterprise needs to understand media data and how it interacts with the rest of the user journey.

DMPs are brilliantly built to maximize audience monetization. Enterprise tag management gives you the data to put to work on behalf of transparency and improved ad performance. That may not be a marriage made in heaven, but it’s close.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)


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