When it comes to how buyers perceive the data management platform (DMP) market, it’s Oracle BlueKai’s game to lose, according to a new Advertiser Perceptions report.
The research firm's Programmatic Intelligence Report for Q1 2017 surveyed more than 1,000 decision-makers from agencies, advertisers, publishers and tech providers.
Oracle BlueKai led the pack in brand recognition: More than half the agencies and marketers polled recognized Oracle BlueKai by name. That might have to do with legacy, said Kevin Mannion, chief strategy officer of Advertiser Perceptions.
“BlueKai invented the space, to a large degree,” Mannion said.
That recognition translated to use. Of those familiar with Oracle BlueKai, 48% of marketers used it in the past year, as did 41% of agencies. Oracle BlueKai was the most-used DMP among marketers and second among agencies. Also placing it at the top: 40% of advertisers polled said it would be the top choice if they could select only one DMP to work with.
The DMP that gave Oracle BlueKai a run for its money was, strangely, Experian, which sells DMP-like capabilities, rather than an actual DMP product.
This is where the brand recognition component comes into play. Mannion believes Experian’s high ranking for DMP use and recognition has more to do with people using Experian for data and thinking that makes it a DMP.
Even though Advertiser Perceptions provided respondents with a DMP definition, Mannion found that they tended to impose their own notions when taking the survey.
This inconsistency shows that the DMP competitive landscape is still ill-defined.
Another example of this confusion is the key drivers that lead to purchasing a DMP. While ease of implementation and integration were certainly factors, the second-biggest driver among survey respondents was thought leadership. So there’s clearly need for further clarification on how DMPs can be applied.
Salesforce’s Krux did particularly well in this category, Mannion said. “Krux has done a really good job with the people who consider them or intend to work with them,” he explained. “They have gotten their message across in a big way.”
Krux’s issue is that it had relatively low recognition compared to its competitors. That being said, those who used it really liked it. Besides thought leadership, Krux also led its competitors in criteria that affect clients directly: It is easy to work with, and it’s responsive to client needs.
Given these strengths, Krux might have an opportunity to break Oracle BlueKai’s stranglehold, especially if it can leverage the massive brand recognition of its new parent company, Salesforce.
Another point of vulnerability for Oracle is that its Marketing Cloud – which comprises BlueKai – recently went through a change. BlueKai founder Omar Tawakol left in September and the new Marketing Cloud honcho, Laura Ipsen, who replaced longtime chief Kevin Akeroyd, repositioned Marketing Cloud as the “tip of the spear” for other Oracle enterprise products.
Changes in leadership and potential changes in product direction create opportunities for competitors – especially in categories where thought leadership is a major purchase factor.
Another DMP with a big opportunity: Nielsen’s eXelate, now part of Nielsen Marketing Cloud. While eXelate was below average in terms of brand recognition, its focus is audience analytics and reporting.
Audience analytics, more than thought leadership, is the biggest factor driving DMP purchasing decisions.
What About The DSP/DMP Hybrids?
Turn, MediaMath and Rocket Fuel are all known as buying platforms with built-in DMP capabilities, which can be extracted as a standalone product.
Looking at these companies strictly from a DMP standpoint, each had decent recognition among agencies. Interestingly, Turn’s DMP had the most recognition of DSP/DMP hybrids among agencies, yet it didn’t even rank in the top 10 for marketers.
Of the media buyers familiar with those platforms, 34% said they’d used MediaMath and 29% said they’d used Rocket Fuel in the past year. Both figures are above the category average.
Breaking that down a little more, 40% of agencies familiar with MediaMath had used it in the past year, versus 27% of marketers. For Rocket Fuel, those splits were 37% of agencies and 20% of marketers. And Turn’s splits were 23% of agencies and 18% of marketers.
While that looks good for MediaMath and bad for Turn, the situation flips when one looks at the DMPs clients intend to use in the next year.
In this category, Advertiser Perceptions had survey respondents rank each company’s offering from 1 (not likely to use) to 10 (very likely). Any score from 8-10 was considered high consideration, and Rocket Fuel and Turn were among the top five in this category, while MediaMath brought up the rear.
A Brief Word On AOL
While Advertiser Perceptions included AOL’s tech stack, One by AOL, its DMP really didn’t have a lot of brand consideration.
“Most advertisers don’t understand their core capabilities as a DMP or a DSP,” Mannion said. “They’re especially strong on the agency side and almost nonexistent on the advertiser side.”
This is likely due to the perception that AOL is primarily a publisher. If you’re buying media on AOL properties, you’ll likely have some familiarity with One by AOL. If you’re buying media elsewhere, then you likely won’t.
It’s unclear right now how the Verizon-owned company views its own technology. If AOL is interested in proliferating its DMP, it needs to go directly after advertisers.
“Marketer recognition is very low,” Mannion said. “And if you’re talking about a DMP, you need to call on the marketer.”