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Why publishers need both a data management platform (DMP) and a data clean room (DCR)

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Two similar but different doors reflecting the similar but different nature of DMPs and DCRs
Written by
Erin Lutenski
Published on
June 6, 2024

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It’s no secret that third-party cookie deprecation is quickly making advertising bought through open web auctions less and less effective. For this reason, there is an increase in demand from brands for direct deals to run ads with premium publishers. As well-established and respected publications, these publishers can offer brand safety, increased credibility, and a balanced ad load vs. content ratio.

But brands advertising with premium publishers expect the level of personalization in their ads that the publishers were able to offer when the publishers used third-party cookies to power audience enrichment via data management platforms (DMPs). And that time is quickly coming to an end.

To continue being able to provide this to their advertisers, publishers will have to find another way to enrich their target audiences. But relying on only their DMPs to do so is likely to create disappointing results.

In this article, we outline where DMPs fall short when it comes to filling the cookieless gap, how publishers can use data clean rooms to fill this gap, and how using both of these technologies together enables publishers to make ads even more effective in the cookieless future.

A data clean room is quickly becoming the missing piece in many publishers' ad targeting strategies

DMPs before and after cookies

DMPs have had — and will continue to have — features essential to publishers’ adtech stacks:

  1. Audience curation

DMPs curate a publisher’s first-party audiences based on web and mobile user visits.

  1. Audience enrichment

DMPs have traditionally enriched these first-party publisher audiences by using third-party cookies. This component is already suffering under the current deprecation in third-party data quality and will continue to do so as the phase-out moves forward. 

  1. Audience extension with lookalikes

Publishers can use their DMPs to generate lookalike audiences using their first-party data. These lookalike audiences won’t be affected by third-party cookie deprecation, but they aren’t as precise as they could be, since DMPs don’t have the capabilities to match with brands’ first-party data in a privacy-preserving way.

The good news is that publishers can still continue to get value from their DMPs as they head into the cookieless future — when combined with data clean rooms. We’ll dive into how clean rooms can supplement DMPs in the next section.

How data clean rooms fill DMPs’ post-cookie gaps

Since data clean rooms only rely on first- (not third-) party data, they are a perfect plugin for the audience enrichment component of DMPs. And since data clean rooms can also onboard first-party CRM data from advertising brands, they can enable the generation of more accurate lookalike audiences than with publisher data alone as the lookalike can be built off the data of the brand's most valuable customers.

Decentriq’s data clean rooms ensure the highest standard of privacy. This means no one involved in any collaboration on first-party data can see the raw data of any other party — not the brand, not the publisher, and not us as the operators of the clean room.

…But don’t some DMPs already have data clean rooms?

In the lead-up to third-party cookie deprecation, many DMPs recognized that they would need to change course when it came to their audience enrichment capabilities. For that reason, many DMP providers tried to offer clean room capabilities integrated within their platforms.

The result of these attempts was that many DMP providers quickly realized they aren’t the best fit to create or host clean rooms, as they didn’t equip publishers to provide the tight security guarantees needed by brands that their data would be fully secure and inaccessible during a collaboration.

So what can publishers do to continue offering personalized ads (that meet privacy standards)?

Publishers should view data clean rooms as an additional tool that will replace the audience enrichment capabilities of their DMP. By choosing a provider that specializes in privacy-preserving data clean rooms, they can ensure that they are following the necessary privacy regulations. 

What will happen if publishers don’t adopt data clean rooms as a complement to their DMPs?

There are a few possibilities here:

  • Publishers will lose the ability to create rich audiences for targeting - without any enrichment options, they will revert to selling first-party data segments and be unable to meet the growing demand for personalized advertising.

  • Publishers can only generate lookalikes audiences using their own first-party data — without the ability to onboard advertiser data and calibrate these audiences for each advertiser.

Hybrid is the way forward

The coming cookieless era will require publishers and brands alike to adopt a Swiss Army Knife-like approach to advertising, relying on several tools that each do their job in a maximally effective way as opposed to a one-size-fits-all solution. 

This means the symbiotic relationship between DMPs and data clean rooms is indispensable for premium publishers as they evolve to meet the demands of cookieless marketing.

Get in touch with us to learn more about how their complementary strengths can position you to offer what your advertisers are looking for.


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Post-cookie prospecting playbook

Our playbook breaks down the current options available to brands for targeting audiences on the open web — and how they stack up when it comes to reaching net new customers.

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