Choosing the Right Data Platform: CDP vs DMP


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In the realm of customer data management, two powerful platforms, Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and Data Management Platforms (DMPs), play distinct roles. While both platforms collect, store and utilise customer data, they have fundamental differences. In an ironic twist, it is their similarities that often lead to confusion. 

What is a CDP? 

A Customer Data Platform (CDP) is a software solution that enables organisations to consolidate and unify customer data from diverse sources, including online and offline interactions, websites, mobile apps, CRM systems, and more. By integrating data from various touchpoints, CDPs enable the creation of a comprehensive and unified customer profile that encompasses known and anonymous customer data. This unified profile provides marketers with a holistic view of their audience, facilitating personalised and targeted marketing efforts. With CDPs, organisations can optimise their customer data management, enhance customer experiences and drive business growth through actionable insights. 

What is a DMP? 

A Data Management Platform (DMP) is a technology used primarily by advertisers and publishers to manage and activate third-party data for targeted advertising campaigns. DMPs play a crucial role in aggregating and organising data from various sources, encompassing online publishers, ad networks, and data providers. The primary purpose of a DMP is to facilitate audience targeting and data-driven advertising by creating distinct segments based on demographic, behavioural or contextual information. With DMPs, advertisers and publishers can optimise their advertising strategies, enhance audience engagement and drive impactful results through highly focused and personalised campaigns. 

What sets a CDP apart? 

CDPs differentiate themselves by focusing on building a comprehensive and unified customer profile that incorporates known and unknown customer data, providing marketers with deeper audience insights. They leverage aggregated first-party customer data from multiple touchpoints to enable personalised marketing and customer experiences. In contrast, DMPs primarily aggregate third-party data for audience targeting in advertising campaigns, without processing Personally Identifiable Information (PII).  

CDPs are capable of handling various types of PII, such as names, emails, transaction data and social media interactions, while DMPs rely on unknown data from third-party sources. CDPs store individual-level customer data persistently, maintaining historical records and updates for comprehensive, long-term customer profiles, while DMPs focus on temporary audience segmentation for immediate ad targeting.  

CDPs prioritise data privacy and compliance by adhering to regulations like GDPR and CCPA, offering features like user consent management and deletion capabilities. Furthermore, CDPs enable real-time data processing, facilitating timely and personalised marketing actions, whereas DMPs may employ delayed or batch-oriented data processing approaches. 

What sets Zeotap CDP apart from the competition? 

With a growing global emphasis on consumer privacy, the future of CDPs is promising. New regulations and data governance guidelines give individuals more control over their data, prompting companies to prioritise compliance and transparency. At Zeotap CDP, privacy and compliance with stringent regulations hold the utmost importance. We differentiate ourselves from both DMPs and other CDPs in the market through our exceptional handling of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), our unwavering focus on data privacy and security,  our ability to stitch unknown to known identifiers along with our unparalleled data persistence and persistent identifiers 

  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII): CDPs excel in processing diverse forms of personally identifiable information (PII), encompassing names, emails, transaction data and social media interactions. Conversely, DMPs focus on anonymised data from third-party sources. Zeotap CDP stands out by accommodating both hashed and Raw PII, providing enhanced security through encryption for storing and utilising sensitive PII data across multiple activation channels. By eliminating the need for multiple data versions, Zeotap enables broader customer acquisition. Raw PII from various sources is seamlessly managed, configured and activated with utmost security. 
  • Data privacy and security at Zeotap: Zeotap CDP prioritises data privacy and compliance and ensures adherence to privacy frameworks such as CCPA and GDPR, while also enabling effective marketing activation. Throughout the data lifecycle, Zeotap places a strong emphasis on secure processing, encrypting flagged PII data using the RSA Encryption Algorithm and then using it for activation. Authorised downstream systems access this data only when necessary for activation, and selective sharing of identifiers and raw data ensures information is shared solely where required and confirmed by the brand. The platform also offers consent orchestration automating compliance processes and efficiently manages data subject requests, including bulk deletion and comprehensive logging for auditing purposes 
  • Stitching unknown-to-known user interactions: The core functionality of Zeotap CDP lies in its ability to create a comprehensive view of the customer by combining data from various touchpoints. While CDPs from specific domains excel in either known or unknown user scenarios, advanced ID stitching capabilities are crucial in the omnichannel world to unify customer journeys across different channels. Zeotap, with its extensive data management capabilities, stands out by seamlessly merging user records based on defined merge controls, enabling identity stitching and unification. Notably, Zeotap excels in stitching unknown user interactions to known ones, ensuring the accuracy of profiles created using high-fidelity IDs. 
  • Data persistence and persistent identifiers: CDPs excel at persistently storing individual-level customer data, ensuring comprehensive, long-term customer profiles that retain historical records and updates. In contrast, DMPs prioritise real-time data processing and temporary audience segment creation for immediate ad targeting, resulting in shorter data retention periods. Zeotap CDP offers a key feature of Persistent Identifiers, which unify user data across devices, environments and platforms, providing a consistent view of customers. This enables accurate, scalable, and privacy-compliant identity linkages, creating persistent and addressable individual profiles.  
  • Server-to-server data activation on Adtech channels: Zeotap CDP also enables server-to-server data activation on Adtech channels like Facebook Conversions API. This allows more reliable tracking of events than just client-side implementation that could be subjected to things like ad blocking and cookie restrictions. Zeotap CDP further provides the necessary capabilities to activate and utilise data effectively, ensuring smooth communication and optimal performance in your advertising campaigns. 

CDPs addressing the nightmare of DMPs - Match Rate 

Match rates, the percentage of successful matches between datasets or identifiers, can be a nightmare for DMP users. Discrepancies arise when segment sizes in the DMP don't align with those reported by DSPs, leaving marketers perplexed. Low match rates between the DMP and DSPs can lead to frustration and inefficiencies. Fortunately, CDPs come to the rescue by employing strategies to address these match rate challenges faced by DMPs.  

Zeotap CDP integrates data directly from customer channels, resulting in higher match rates than relying solely on third-party sources. We use advanced techniques to match and link data, eliminating duplicates and improving data quality. Zeotap CDP also incorporates third-party data sources to enrich match rates with additional data points aligned with DSP targeting capabilities. With the capability of audience expansion and look-alike modelling, it becomes easier to reach a larger audience with similar attributes and behaviours, increasing match rates. 

What lies ahead in the Cookie-less future? 

In the Adtech and Martech landscape, persistent and non-persistent identifiers play a crucial role in enabling endpoints like Publishers, Advertisers and Platforms to reach their target audience. The increasing limitations on third-party cookies present challenges in tracking users across the web, impacting advertisers' ability to engage their target audiences effectively. Publishers need to explore alternative solutions to address user addressability in the Adtech ecosystem, and this is where using a CDP over a DMP can be advantageous.  

With a CDP like Zeotap, Publishers gain enhanced accuracy, personalisation and precise targeting capabilities, replacing the reliance on third-party data with their first-party data. Publishers can navigate the cookieless future successfully, optimise ad strategies and deliver superior user experiences based on accurate and personalised insights shared directly with the brand.