As we were saying, the mighty DMP — Data Management Platform — is much beloved of digital marketers and advertisers. It’s a “nexus system,” lying at the crux of so much that is groovy; and it’s a bridge from your own information to the world of advertising and even content personalization.

Yet like Elon Musk or the Ginsu 2000, the DMP does so much — and is so little understood. For a series of a few posts, I’m going to get into some detail about how the DMP actually works. If you’re an ace DMP’er, please go take a maze run. For the rest of us, center.

Now, recall what a DMP does. Four things:

  1. Takes data in — from you (the user), other companies, and data it collects itself
  2. Groups it — into segments, mainly, which DMPs insist on calling “audiences” because they are obsessed with pretending they work in television
  3. Sends instructions — to place ads (usually via its wingman, the Demand-Side Platform [DSP]), change the content on a web page or email, etc.
  4. Measures the impact; improves the instructions

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