Data Garage Sale Image

Facing the DMP Data Marketplace Yard Sale

So many choices, so many sellers and you never know if what you picked is any good…

Have you ever been to a neighborhood yard sale? Wandering aimlessly from house to house, wondering what enticing things await you as you pick through endless tables of the same old odds and ends.

You may be wondering what the heck a DMP data marketplace has in common with a neighborhood yard sale. The answer; countless “providers” to choose from, all offering the same thing, and no idea or assurance of which one(s) are going to give you the best data to meet your needs. Bottom line: confusion, inconsistency, no view to quality and wasted money on things (data) you don’t really need.

50.4% of Marketers Have a DMP¹

But, only 30% of marketers are satisfied with the results they are getting from their DMP1, and [tweet_dis]according to a Kantar Millward Brown study, only 37% of advertisers trust the data that comes from DMPs.[/tweet_dis]2

Let me make a quick disclaimer… this blog is NOT a bash on DMPs (we actually partner with most of them for activation). However, it is no secret that DMP data marketplaces are often highly complex, contain inconsistent data points and lack transparency or promise of any level of quality – or how often the data is updated. So why do we, as marketers, continue to place our trust in these data marketplaces to inform strategy, create segmentation and build targeted audiences when the end result can be irrelevant messaging, disengaged audiences and wasted media spend?

Let’s run through a little exercise…

Say you’ve identified your segmentation plan and are ready to build your target audience. In a data marketplace, you typically have the following data options: that of the DMP, demographic, geographic, interest, intent, past purchase, predictor, media, and device data, as well as pre-determined segments and the whole host of their branded 3rd party data partners (anywhere from 50-90 to choose from). Most of these 3rd party data providers offer the same data categories and verticals as the DMP, and conversely, of those that offer out-of-the-box segments, seldom are any two alike.

So, let’s start with a test on the basics – the simple demographic of U.S. adults 65+ years in age. When looking in one of the industry’s leading DMP data marketplaces, here are the audience sizes that came back from the 3rd party list providers (the very people helping you with your targeting):

Demographic: Age = 65+
U.S. Census Bureau – July 1, 2016 = 49,115,382
(Online U.S. Population 65+ = 32,909,3063)

Audience Size Branded Data Provider
19,427,100 Acxiom
86,826,000 Datalogix
38,920,200 Experian
15,226,200 Kantar Media TGI
129,206,100 Lotame
52,575,600 MediaSource
17,493,600 Neustar
221,989,800 Oracle
134,350,500 PlaceIQ
57,599,400 V12 Data

Since all but 4 of the 11 DMP data marketplace providers shown came back with audiences HIGHER than the reported number of U.S. adults over 65 by the U.S. Census Bureau or online U.S. 65+ population3, you have to wonder who all these other people are that you would be wasting your money on with irrelevant and unnecessary media!

Now let’s take a look at interest data from these folks for U.S. adults classified as interested in “healthy living”. Here are the results:

U.S. Adults Interested in Healthy Living

Audience Size Branded Data Provider Segment/Interest
35,758,200 AddThis Healthy & Fit
241,417,200 Datalogix Healthy & Fit
131,686,200 Experian Health & Fitness
236,179,500 Lotame Healthy Living
280,423,800 Oracle Healthy Living
996,000 VisualDNA Health & Wellbeing

According to the July 1, 2016 U.S. Census Bureau report, there were 245,576,910 U.S. adults over the age of 18 (and the total U.S. population was 323,127,513).

It is exciting that Datalogix, Lotame and Oracle identify (and help you target) that 96% to 114% of American adults are interested in being healthy and fit. That’s great news for the country… but something isn’t adding up here.

And, speaking of segments and intenders, let’s get to those crisp, rich insights that DMPs and their marketplace data partners provide…

Segment Insights (you gotta love some of these segment titles… we didn’t make these up!)

  • King of the Wallet – Most active purchasers of men’s products from Alliant database. Top spending purchases of products related to men’s interests.
  • Affluent Men’s Shoppers – Most active purchasers of men’s products from Alliant database. Men’s shoppers with discretionary income making multiple purchases across product lines. (Note: both of the above segments are from Alliant. But from the insights provided, what’s the difference between the two?)
  • Fashionistas – This audience intersects country-specific IP info with users who share certain lifestyle attributes. These users are into the latest fashion.
  • Young, City Silos – Younger and middle-aged singles living active and energetic lifestyles in metropolitan areas.
  • Aspirational Fusion – Low-income singles and single parents living in urban locations striving to make a better life.
  • Birkenstocks & Beemers – Upper middle class established couples living leisurely lifestyles in small cities and towns. (This is my favorite as (a) what a great segment name, and (b) I did get rid of my husband’s Birkenstocks at a yard sale, but we live in a major metropolitan area.)

Intender Insights

  • Apparel – The Household Consumer Expenditure segment contains consumers who indicate a high propensity to purchase within a specific category. The segment takes into consideration the differences in purchase behavior for the various product categories.
  • Brokerages – This category contains people who are in-market for brokerages.
  • Mid-range Car Domestic – Sporty – Are likely to be shoppers for this type of car within the next 6 months. Vehicle examples in the Mid-Range Car Domestic Sporty category include: Pontiac G6, Pontiac G8, Pontiac Grand Prix, Pontiac Vibe, and Saturn Aura.
    • Like on most ecommerce sites, you also conveniently receive a list of “related lists” that may be applicable. Do these seem to be related to mid-range sporty domestic cars to you?
      • Related lists:
        • Full size vans
        • Small car – standard
        • SUV import – upper & basic
        • SUV domestic – large

As a sidebar, I am convinced that General Motors is in cahoots with this “mid-range sporty domestic car” data provider. Has anyone informed Ford, Dodge, Cadillac and Chevrolet that they don’t have and should offer mid-size sporty cars? It’s apparently a 31M intender market.

Is it Worth the Trade-Off?

If all of that left you scratching your head, you’re not alone.

“Confusion”, “complexity”, “inconsistency” and “inaccuracy” should all be words banned from the marketers’ internal vocabulary. DMP data marketplaces have the allure of multiple data providers and scale. However, unless you are in direct response, by trading accuracy for scale, you are wasting time and money targeting messages and media to the wrong people. And with relevancy being the new ROI according to Forrester, the cost and repercussions go well beyond wasted resources and media spend.

There Are DMP Alternatives

At Resonate, we don’t rely on 3rd party data providers. Our data is proprietary, using a combination of traditional and online contextual behavioral research which allows us to be transparent about our average of 87% data accuracy. [tweet_dis]The Kantar Millward Brown study revealed that 67% of marketers see a gap between traditional and digital research[/tweet_dis] and that marketers in the survey stated that it was difficult to “get the full picture…” of the consumer for accurate insights and measurement.  Well, with the largest understanding of the U.S. consumer at the individual level, we provide the most in-depth, unified view of your customers and prospects. Unlike a traditional DMP and their 3rd party data marketplace partners, we offer accurate data, rich real-time insights, completely custom segmentation and targeting based on your specific needs, audience activation at scale and measurement in a SaaS platform that’s super easy to use. Marketing is complex enough as it is. This part shouldn’t be.

Remember, DMP data marketplaces may offer the perception of “more”, but what is “more” and at what cost?

Good luck avoiding or navigating the neighborhood yard sale – or at least getting that wagon wheel table at a good price!


Haidee Hanna, Vice President of Marketing – Resonate

Our other Data Accuracy blogs:

Deloitte Study Reveals Consumer Marketing Data’s Dirty Little Secrets

Putting 3rd Party Data Providers to the Test

Contact us at or 855-855-4320 to find out how your customers map onto Resonate’s attributes and how our analytics platform can help you identify your customers, know what to say to them and find and engage more of them to win more business.

Source: AdAge/Neustar Study, February 2016

2 Source: Kantar Millward Brown study

3 Source: Pew Research, May 2017

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