3 Ways DMPs Can Save The Sample Industry

March 6, 2017 Author: Mario X. Carrasco

Data Management Platforms have the potential to deliver better targeting and access to hard to reach audiences

The market research industry is debating the impact of big data. Forward-thinking firms are looking to disruptive new technologies to keep pace with the changing landscape as the reach of big data continues to expand. The online panel industry has an opportunity to bring significant changes to the approach and methodology of the recruitment of sample by taking advantage of tools used in related fields like digital advertising. One such tool is Data Management Platforms.

Can Data Management Platforms save the day?

Data Management Platforms (DMPs) are becoming ubiquitous among advertisers and media buyers. Sample providers have an opportunity to tap into this AdTech data revolution and potentially save the sample industry from burnout.

DMPs may be unfamiliar to some in the sample industry. Let’s look to the experts at Digiday for a definition:

What is a data management platform?
In simple terms, a data management platform is a data warehouse. It’s a piece of software that sucks up, sorts and houses information, and spits it out in a way that’s useful for marketers, publishers, and other businesses.

This sounds like a database. Is it more?
In theory, DMPs can be used to house and manage any form of information, but for marketers, they’re most often used to manage cookie IDs and to generate audience segments, which are subsequently used to target specific users with online ads.

In a nutshell, a DMP houses first and third party data for marketers to better target specific online users with ads. Now where it gets really interesting for the online sample industry is thinking of ways we can leverage DMPs via APIs since many of the larger DMPs allow API access by third parties.

Three ways DMPS provide alternative solutions for the sample industry.

Here are the top three ways I think DMPs can help save the sample industry:

  1. Profiling / Targeting: We’ve all been there. You answer ten demographic questions at the beginning of a survey then find out that you don’t qualify. You’re then routed to another survey you might qualify for. And lo and behold…you have to answer the same ten demographic questions again! Imagine a world where survey respondents would never have to answer any demo questions and go straight to the survey? Imagine a world where targeting was so precise that incidence rates would be a thing of the past since everyone you sent it to would qualify?
    DMPs can make that world possible. As more data is collected by DMPs and targeting algorithms become more sophisticated, basic demo questions such as gender and household income will be a thing of the past. The online sample industry could tap into DMPs and target respondents without asking the demo questions, solving another problem that has plagued the survey industry, survey length.
  2. Hard-to-reach audiences: This is an issue I’m passionate about as our company is dedicated to helping companies reach multicultural audiences online. I know from first-hand experience how difficult it can be to target, for example, Spanish-dominant Hispanics online for research purposes. DMPs can be leveraged to reach hard-to-reach audiences by combining ethnicity proxy data (i.e. websites visited, browser language settings, search language behavior, etc.) with the existing profiling data the sample industry has.
    The data exchange doesn’t have to go one way. As an industry, we are sitting on tons of data that can be fed back to a DMP and combined with existing data to help target a multitude of respondents, including hard-to-reach.
  3. Reliable River Sample: I’ve always believed in the potential of river sample. But, unfortunately, many companies purchasing sample do not and are still wary of including river sample into their studies. DMPs may hold the key to finally making river sample mainstream. With the potential to target more accurately through the sharing of data, intercepting the right respondents and the right time may be the key to increasing the acceptability of this methodology.
    It gets even more interesting when you think of the possibility of being able to take a 30-minute survey and break it up into six, five-minute surveys that you serve to the same respondent over the course of a week while they customarily browse the internet. This enables you to target the respondents you want and have them take a survey in a way that is not intrusive, while keeping all the questions in the long surveys that our clients want.


The three ideas above only scratch the surface of what is possible if the online sample industry starts to play nice with DMPs and the AdTech world. Both of our industries are sitting on a wealth of data that are complementary to each other. DMPs have the what, the online sample industry has the why. Let’s start putting them together. We just need someone to figure out how.