Home Analysts Forrester DMP Wave Considers Which Data Platforms Can Keep Up With Changing Client Needs

Forrester DMP Wave Considers Which Data Platforms Can Keep Up With Changing Client Needs


Forrester’s latest evaluation of standalone data management platforms (DMPs), released Thursday, arrives one week after its assessment of demand-side platforms (DSPs).

While DMPs originated as audience segmentation tools to enhance media buying, the value prop of a standalone DMP is very different from one tied to a DSP, said Forrester’s senior analyst Susan Bidel.

Forrester reviewed DMPs from 11 participating vendors based on the capabilities of each product, the extent to which each DMP integrated with other advertising and marketing technologies and each vendor’s strategic outlook on how clients would use data in the future.

“We believe that marketers will use data far beyond media buying,” Bidel said. “They will extend the insights of a DMP to their other digital marketing channels and beyond.”

Category leaders include Salesforce DMP (née Krux), Adobe Audience Manager, MediaMath (more on that one later), Neustar (née Aggregate Knowledge) and Oracle DMP (née BlueKai).

Vendors in the strong performer category were Nielsen (née eXelate), Lotame, KBM Group, Adform and Turn. The European upstart ADEX listed in the contender category.

The standalone DMPs assessed in Forrester report were used by both publishers and marketers, had more than 150 clients actively using the technology and added more than 50 new clients in 2016.

The DMP category leaders all had integrations with other technologies, and the biggest points of criticism from their clients revolved around user interface issues or a need for better analytics or audience insights.

Compared to the other leaders, MediaMath is really an outlier here, given Forrester’s criteria. It originated as a DMP-DSP hybrid and only recently spun its DMP into a standalone product. And Bidel doesn’t think MediaMath has any ambitions to become an intelligence hub for an entire organization. “I think their revenue is solidly based on the DSP-DMP combination,” she said.

But MediaMath has other things going for it, including unique data from the Akamai data co-op it bought in 2013, “open interoperability with data, media and technology providers” and “omnichannel integrations.”

MediaMath said it integrates with mar tech from IBM, Oracle, Adobe and Marketo.

However, Turn – another vendor that initially offered a DSP-DMP combo before selling its DMP a la carte – was ranked a tier below in the “strong performers” category.


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“Where Turn did not fare well was their lack of integrations with other mar tech or ad tech components,” Bidel said.

To be fair, Turn said it integrates with IBM, Adobe, Marketo, SAP, Maxymizer, Monetate and Optimizely.

Bidel mentioned that Forrester’s evaluation considered not just quantity, but also “quality” of integrations – as reported by clients.

DMP Rankings For Neustar, Oracle And Nielsen

Neustar, which went private last year thanks to Golden Gate Capital, was solidly a category leader again, as was Oracle. Though Oracle’s position was more tenuous due to the lower scoring of its current product offering. And Nielsen ranked as a strong performer – it had a good product, but Forrester wasn’t sold on its strategic outlook.

Bidel was “impressed with the robustness of Neustar’s offering,” but its product offering ranking fell below Adobe, Salesforce, Nielsen, MediaMath, KBM Group, Lotame and Adform.

However, Neustar’s strategy landed the vendor in the leader category. Since the private equity buy-out, it “has re-dedicated itself to identity management,” Bidel said.

The Forrester report specifically calls out Neustar’s onboarding capabilities and its access to offline personally identifiable information: “This lies at the heart of the company’s identity capabilities and its vision of a connected world impelled by data-driven intelligence.”

Oracle also surprised. Its strategy placed it in the leader category, but its current offering ranked even lower than Neustar’s.

“There are challenges when companies try to integrate all the new components to their organization,” Bidel said. “Oracle has made really significant investments, and I have every faith that Oracle will overcome any challenges that customers might see. It’s a robust offering, and they keep adding to their capability.”

It should be noted, however, that many of Oracle’s recent investments have benefited its Data Cloud – whereas the DMP sits in the Marketing Cloud. Separately, clients have wondered whether Oracle is still committed to its marketing stack.

And then there’s Nielsen’s DMP, which is favored by CPG clients that don’t have a lot of first-party data, and can use Nielsen’s data assets to compensate. But the platform’s future seems limited to media buying executions. Bidel said Nielsen did not express any desire to go beyond that functionality.

The Takeaways

DMPs aren’t new technologies, and yet the market is still maturing. A previous DMP report, from Advertiser Perceptions, also struggled to evaluate different offerings in a shifting competitive landscape.

Which is to say that these rankings will likely change over the next year and years. After all, many of the DMPs in the Forrester report – Turn, Nielsen, Oracle, Neustar and Salesforce – are going through tremendous upheaval, mostly due to acquisition. Their value prop, aspirations and ability to execute as communication channels fragment will all likely change.

So here’s a breakdown of how Forrester aligned each DMP to specific business needs. But even in even the near future, this assessment is likely to change.

Buy ADEX if: You’re European and only need a basic DMP.

Buy Turn if: You want a lot of reporting options, particularly around the customer journey.

Buy Adform if: You want great support working with the platform.

Buy KBM Group if: You want a budget DMP.

Buy Lotame if: You want an independent DMP provider that works closely with you.

Buy Nielsen if: You need services to compensate for your lack of first-party data.

Buy Oracle if: You want access to a full-on data cloud.

Buy Neustar if: You prioritize identity resolution.

Buy MediaMath if: You want to sharpen your media buying.

Buy Adobe if: You want a DMP that operates across mar tech channels.

Buy Salesforce if: You’re tired of the biases of algorithms and want to use machine learning to improve insights.

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