How Nissan is wrangling its data in Europe

Advertisers’ struggles to set up their data management platforms are worth it. Without a DMP in place, Nissan doesn’t have an effective media strategy, said its top marketer in Europe, Jean-Pierre Diernaz.

Programmatic accounts for most of Nissan’s online spend, but if it’s ever going to take all of it and potentially all of its media spending, then Nissan must use its DMP for more than basic lookalike modeling and retargeting. Diernaz wants to get to a point where Nissan’s audiences are so refined that it’s only buying those that will respond to its messages, eliminating the risk of waste.

Looking ahead, Nissan will pump even more data into the DMP, specifically from sources that aren’t online such as beacons or purchase data. Any information that can be linked to a cookie or device ID can be used for profiling using first-, second- and third-party data, meaning the brand can start to design campaigns based on real-world interactions.

The real challenge for Nissan, however, is finding more people internally and at its agencies who are able to make sense of all that additional data within the DMP, said Diernaz.

“The way we buy media has changed from what it was three or four years ago to the point where we’re looking to deliver campaigns based on key buying actions, which means that I’m focused on metrics that are directly correlated with selling a car,” he said.

The more data in the DMP, the more risk that some of it could be unreliable. Like other advertisers, data transparency is a big issue for Nissan, particularly as it searches for more defined audience segments based on more data. Diernaz is sifting out some of that unreliable data when it compares third-party data with a set of its own data and discovers the two sets don’t match up.

Nissan’s marketers could, for example, find out that the data set they thought were all female browsers is actually less than half women. In those cases, Diernaz said his team can flag discrepancies quickly at a weekly meeting, where it can make a call on whether to continue working with the data broker in question. It means the advertiser can clean up its audiences weekly, ahead of a monthly gathering that’s reserved for more strategic discussions about how to boost the effectiveness and efficiency of campaigns directly from within the DMP.

Most global advertisers work with 4.3 DMPs, according to a study of 355 marketing and agency executives conducted by Advertiser Perceptions earlier this year. Nissan works with one DMP from Adobe. Working with more DMPs would compound what is already a complicated process. The advertisers that are most successful using DMPs are those with dedicated resources, clear use cases and plenty of data at their disposal, said Lloyd Greenfield, client partner at The Programmatic Advisory. The key, said Greenfield, is to “identify the use cases with the lowest barrier to entry with the highest potential return.”

Just Eat is on a similar path to Nissan with its own DMP. The fast-food delivery service is building out its own DMP as it looks to go after the two-thirds of the U.K.’s population that marketing director Ben Carter said has yet to register or purchase from Just Eat.

“We need to add a sophistication layer between the mass and niche targeting that we do,” Carter said. “I don’t think a DMP is for everyone, but for an advertiser such as us, which is targeting customers at mass scale nationally, then there’s an argument as to why we should be more targeted and more efficient in our approach.”

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