Data management platforms (DMPs) are commonly used in Europe, but adopters are yet to make the most of them.

That’s the upshot from a survey of 360 digital marketing professionals across the globe by ExchangeWire and Weborama, revealing that over two thirds (68%) of European brands, agencies and publishers now use a DMP, and by 2018 this figure will reach 92%.

Despite their growing popularity and a high level of satisfaction with the technology, there still is a sense that users are not realising its potential.

Positive feedback

A quarter (24%) of users reported the highest level of satisfaction with their platforms’ performance and almost the same proportion (23%) stated that they had “no limitations.” The majority of publishers and trading desks (76% and 75% respectively) use DMPs to create new revenue streams from data. Over half of the respondents (55%) say they have calculated positive ROI from their DMPs, with three in ten (29%) admitting it was too early to tell.

Despite such positive feedback, users show a tendency to view DMPs as a “plug and play” service, preventing them from realising their full potential.

Not a one-size-fits-all solution

Almost half of respondents highlighted disparate data sets, siloed teams and a lack of skills in house (48%, 46% and 41% respectively) as their limitations to the implementation of DMPs. A lack of the right operational system combined with a limited knowledge of how the technology should be used – a barrier for 45% of users – are also making adoption difficult.

The challenge might also lie in the approach.

Weborama’s global business development director, Mathieu Roche, highlighted that “it is vital” users in each organisation implement DMPs in a customised manner to realise their full potential.

Learning curve

DMPs represented a learning curve for their early adopters, whose needs have changed over time. Long-term users want to use the platforms to facilitate better media buying and marketing engagement strategies. If with continued usage came a better understanding of the technology, the report declared that marketers would see their full potential.

“We’ve used a DMP for a number of years and ‘learning through doing’ has certainly changed our view of how we use it and what we want and don’t want from a DMP,” said Julian Brewer, head of TSB digital commerce.

The next big challenge

One of the biggest frustrations regarding DMPs, highlighted particularly in the UK, is insufficient data insights. This means that customer intelligence may be the next big challenge for the platform vendors. It may also explain why further integration with their existing technology stack is a priority for 21% of all survey respondents.

DMPs are now an integral element of the marketing mix and the research suggests it will be essential for publishers, brands and agencies to develop their understanding of the technology and how it should be used effectively to ensure they are prepared for an increasingly data-driven digital landscape.