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Most of us are aware of the huge evolution from traditional mass media advertising to digital advertising. However, what few of us realise is that, even within the digital advertising landscape, there have been some drastic shifts.


Traditional model

However, the rapid digitalisation of advertising as a whole has resulted in the formation of numerous different companies, each one offering a unique product or service that adds value to the link between the publisher and advertiser. Hence, the digital advertising ecosystem has had to evolve significantly from the much simpler model of days gone by, in order to take into account the new players in the ecosystem. This has meant that a much more complex model.


According to the IAB, “The digital environment that connects websites that live on the Internet together, and with people, is done with such precision that to map it out for people makes it look like something bright, blinking and living, and straight out of a sci-fi movie.”


To make things simpler, here is our own simplified diagram to help you.


Today’s model



These are some simple definitions to help you understand each player in the ecosystem.


Media buyers

Media buyers negotiate, purchase and monitor advertising space and airtime on behalf of their clients.


Trading Desks

A Trading Desk, as we’ve mentioned before, is a service committed to helping advertisers and agencies buy online advertising. This is done through real-time bidding (RTB), enhanced with data. An example of this is The Media Trader.  


Ad Networks

An online advertising service provider often with proprietary technology, that helps marketers run display advertising campaigns across various sources of online inventory, for example Google, Yahoo.


Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs)

A DSP is a tech platform that enables buyers to evaluate and bid for online media using RTB, for example MediaMath, Turn, Data XU.


Data Management Platforms or DMPs, as we’ve already mentioned, are platforms that allow marketers to manage and understand the vast amounts of data that is constantly being generated by consumers, who are digitalising at a ridiculous pace, for example Krux.


Ad Exchanges

Ad Exchanges are online auction marketplaces that facilitate the buying and selling of inventory across multiple ad networks and demand-side platforms (DSPs), for example Doubleclick (by Google, Right Media, Facebook Exchange, OpenX).


Supply-Side Platform (SSP)

SSPs are tech platforms that help publishers to maximise ad revenues when managing and selling inventory on ad exchanges and networks, for example Rubicon and PubMatic.


It is important to note that, although the lines that separate the various functions appear to be clearly drawn, in reality this might actually be far from the case. This blurring of the lines is largely due to the ongoing consolidation in the AdTech industry, a trend that experts like Ciaran O’Kane have identified.


First of all, there is a rise in the number of market makers, who work for both the buy-side and the sell-side. Krux is an example of such a company, working with publishers, marketers, agencies, DMPs, as well as SSPs. Additionally, many companies are starting to offer their clients an integrated solution. For example, Rocket Fuel has a Programmatic Marketing Platform, providing its clients with both a DMP and a DSP.


The Media Trader is an independent trading desk and we are specialised in programmatic buying, using RTB and enhanced with data. We know the digital advertising system may seem like a complex place, but we are here to simplify this for our clients. We thrive in the ecosystem and can help clients to navigate it as it evolves.  


7 days to Web Summit! See you there!








We have said this time and again: data plays a crucial role in our increasingly digital world. Hence, it should be no surprise that data and its quality are considered the main source of competitive advantage in the AdTech industry.


This is exemplified by the trend of companies acquiring DMPs to help them carry out their work more efficiently, as well as to enable them to offer a more integrated solution to their clients. Examples include Oracle’s acquisition of BlueKai (Feb 2014), Rocket Fuel’s acquisition of [x+1] (Aug 2014) and Nielsen’s acquisition of eXelate (March 2015).


According to Mark Zagorski, CEO of eXelate,

8-10% of Fortune 100 companies currently use a DMP, and the majority of companies will be using a DMP in some capacity within 2 years or so.

But what exactly is a DMP?

Plainly speaking, a Data Management Platform is a platform that allows marketers to manage and understand the vast amounts of data that is constantly being generated by consumers, who are digitilising at a ridiculous pace.

What exactly does a DMP do?

A DMP does 1 (or a combination) of 3 things.

1.     Collects Data

2.     Stores Data

3.     Manages the output of the data

As Millenials, we are extremely well-connected, with most of us being connected on at least 1 device, and an increasing number of us being connected across almost all devices (i.e. smart phones, desktops, tablets, wearable technology, etc.). You can therefore imagine the amount of data that is being generated at any point in time. DMPs that collect data therefore collate first, second and third party data across devices. Google Analytics is an example of such a DMP (but only for first party data).




With so much data being generated, it would cost a fortune to store it. Therefore, it makes sense that the second thing DMPs provide is a cost-efficient storage solution.

Finally, some DMPs focus more on the output of the data. These DMPs neither collect nor store data. Instead, they play much more of a managerial role, by tapping into the pool of data, and helping clients manage and use it more effectively. An example of such a DMP is Krux, which uses sophisticated algorithms to “unlock the value of first-party data”.

So that is what DMPs can do. But what value does a DMP bring to the table? Why are so many companies acquiring dedicated DMPs?

Firstly, DMPs provide an unprecedented level of depth and breadth to the data. This is difficult to achieve if you just have recourse to data from one source, e.g. the data you collect from your own website. DMPs, on the other hand, are aggregating data from millions of people, across millions of devices, whatever the support.

Secondly, through managing the output of data, DMPs are able to suggest new groups of people to target. In yesterday’s post, we had explained the concept of data modeling. This is one such way that DMPs can add value for their clients.

Another way that DMPs can do this is through segmentation, which is the generation of labels to describe groups of people within one’s audience. Examples of segments include age, gender, geographic, or socio-economic groups. This enables much more precise targeting. With methods like data modeling and segmentation, DMPs are therefore able to give their clients a return on their data.  

Following from all of this, there is the final benefit of scale.

According to Mark Zagorski, “scale breeds accuracy”. The more data you can collect and access, the more times you can look for anomalies between data sets. Evidently, with so much data available, sorting through it and making sense of it is bound to be difficult. In order to make the most of lookalike modelling, and to ensure it works, one needs to constantly assess and look for anomalies within the data.

Here at the Media Trader, we pride ourselves on being ahead of the curve. We know the crucial role DMPs play in the AdTech industry, and have a strong partnership with Skylads, a digital advertising software company with a dedicated DMP. Therefore, we are confident that we can manage all forms of data, no matter how complex, to generate the best possible results for our clients.

P.S.: 20 days to go until the Web summit, Dublin. See you there!