Home The Sell Sider For Publishers, The CDP Forges A New Path For Opportunity

For Publishers, The CDP Forges A New Path For Opportunity


The Sell Sider” is a column written for the sell side of the digital media community.

Today’s column is written by Ameet Shah, senior director of global technology, publisher and data strategy at Prohaska Consulting.

For the last 10 years, publishers have been using programmatic media technology to drive greater scale and revenue.

Real-time bidding was thought to be a publisher panacea but programmatic has been more advantageous overall for advertisers, considering most of digital spend today still takes place in open auction.

Now the key for publishers is to extend their influence through data. Publishers need infrastructure that creates competitive advantages and maximizes audience value. The customer data platform (CDP) may just fit the bill.


CDPs are not yet mainstream, let alone fully understood. Many existing ad tech and mar tech solutions are pivoting into the CDP category.

There are several underlying principles that define the CDP:

  1. Unification of all online and offline data
  2. Management of data against first-party IDs
  3. Automation of optimization processes
  4. Connections to all ecosystem components

CDPs can help capture and translate all user interactions (data) based on first-party IDs. The CDP aggregates from both online and offline sources to produce actionable insights.

These platforms are capable of ingesting all data sources at a log-file level to understand customer relationships based on publisher-specific, first-party identifiers. Machine learning is used to analyze information against KPIs and clone success.

Aren’t CDPs a marketer’s solution?


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Just like data management platforms (DMPs) were used mostly by buyers versus sellers eight-plus years ago, CDPs are initially being leveraged by brands because the CDP seems natural at improving prospect conversions and customer affinity.

But publishers share these same needs. For example, publishers wear the marketing hat for their own efforts, including native advertising and audience development and extensions. CDPs enable publishers to enhance customer relationships, ad targeting, content personalization and attribution.

These collections and insights create a significant revenue opportunity for publishers to capture the true value of their audience.

Is a CDP needed if a DMP exists?

Publisher’s often leverage a DMP as their data solution. That is still a viable and perfect solution,

A CDP and DMP solve different issues. Establishing a CDP does not necessarily replace a DMP. A DMP is usually single channel (web) and is not good at handling enterprise marketing data. DMPs are used for data collection and activation within the ad tech landscape. However, they don’t fix the breakage between advertising (branding) and marketing (CRM/prospecting).

The CDP brings together any and every touch point that exists. There are no audience portability issues when switching between platforms so publishers won’t lose any historical information. The audience correlation and advanced segmentation are executed via the CDP and can be activated with the DMP.

While a DMP may or may not be required, it can be a helpful component of the tech stack.

Building a data-centric segment factory

Publishers generate a considerable amount of data. While invaluable, this data is much more complicated to capitalize upon without the right framework. Adding a CDP to the mix can address this challenge.

Publishers now have the ability to manage their own proprietary audience IDs versus those of third parties. They are no longer reliant on external systems but instead take ownership of their data and how it’s shared. Data now becomes a proprietary, though still shareable, advantage.

Log-level files can be ingested from all data sources, including from supply-side platforms, DSPs, ad servers, CRM, subscribers, verification vendors, email, analytics and purchases. This helps publishers understand their audiences via attribution and by developing previously unidentifiable correlations, segments and personas.

These gains are possible because previously unrealized opportunities and connections can now easily converge. Imagine connecting an audience’s first-party observed behaviors with all interactions across the enterprise, including all online and offline platforms. The CDP makes this possible.

Imagine aligning personally identifiable information with anonymous data to maintain privacy. This also becomes a reality. The CDP can ingest device header information, understand locations, determine what time of day users interact with certain content, identify all ads exposed to a user, correlate all user actions, understand all marketing offers seen, align audiences with third-party verification systems and more.

The CDP can help publishers expand revenue opportunities by using data externally to extend targeting and measurement – truly partnering with brands as segment factories.

Are publishers ready for a CDP?

Publishers that have an established first-party data presence, rely on data-targeted solutions and are eager to expand their data-focused capabilities are ideal candidates. A quick reference checklist is below.

CDPs are a transformational and revenue-producing solution that publishers should consider. Publishers want to own their customer relationships and their data. They want to provide value to their advertisers and continue to innovate.

A CDP is a foundational technology that will help them stand out from the competition and deliver against those goals. Now that we have finally entered the post-GDPR deadline, pre-California-bill world, the most advanced and smartest publishers are focused on how to go back on offense and appropriately leverage their audiences across paid, earned and owned.

Follow Prohaska Consulting (@TeamProhaska) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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