SSPs vs DSPs | What On Earth Is the Difference?

Ad tech terminology is confusing.

Add in the seemingly endless number of ad tech acronyms, and it gets even more confusing.

In this article, we hope to make things a little easier for you by explaining the differences between SSPs and DSPs.

Both technologies are crucial elements of the programmatic advertising industry, but they serve two very different purposes.

Let’s dive in.

What is an SSP?

A supply-side platform (SSP) is a programmatic advertising platform that helps publishers streamline the process of selling, managing, and optimizing ad inventory.

In simpler terms, an SSP is a tool that allows publishers to sell their ad space to multiple advertisers through real-time auctions, automating a process that was previously manual and time-consuming.

SSPs revolutionized the industry by enabling publishers to sell their ad space on a much larger scale to a wide range of premium advertisers.

This has allowed publishers to maximize their revenue streams and focus on creating high-quality content, rather than managing their ad inventory.

Examples of SSPs

What is a DSP?

A demand-side platform (DSP) is a technology platform that simplifies the process of buying and managing online advertising space for advertisers.

DSPs utilize programmatic technology to access ad inventories from various ad exchanges and networks and use real-time bidding to bid on ad inventory.

DSPs offer advertisers advanced targeting options, such as demographics, location, interests, and behavior, enabling them to reach their target audience more effectively.

They also provide the ability to optimize campaigns using machine learning algorithms, resulting in better performance and return on investment.

Examples of DSPs

Differences between SSPs and DSPs

If you only remember one thing from this article, let it be this: SSPs help publishers sell their inventory, while DSPs help advertisers buy inventory.

The following chart outlines the main differences between SSPs and DSPs:

SSPs vs DPS chart

SSPs are designed to benefit publishers by providing them with a platform to sell their inventory at the highest possible price. In contrast, DSPs are designed to benefit advertisers by providing them with a platform to reach their target audience at the lowest possible cost.

SSPs allow publishers to manage multiple demand sources, which can increase competition for inventory and drive up prices. On the other hand, DSPs allow advertisers to access a vast pool of inventory from multiple supply sources, allowing them to reach their target audience at scale.

Both platforms offer real-time reporting, allowing publishers and advertisers to make data-driven decisions to optimize their revenue streams and return on investment.

The Role of Ad Exchanges in SSPs and DSPs

Ad exchanges play an important role in the functions of both SSPs and DSPs.

Think of ad exchanges as the broker, or the middle man.

On the one side, you have an SSP. On the other side, you have a DSP.

An ad exchange connects between the two platforms and enables the selling and buying process to occur.

Without an ad exchange, SSPs and DSPs would have no way to engage in the programmatic selling/buying process.

A popular example of an ad exchange is Google AdX.

Bottom Line

SSPS and DSPs are both integral parts of the programmatic advertising process.

Each has its own unique functions and purpose, with SSPs serving publishers.

At this point, you might be asking yourself which SSP is the best for you? The answer is all of them.

With header bidding, you can access multiple SSPs simultaneously and leverage increased competition over your ad inventory, increasing revenue.

Adnimation, a Google Certified Publishing Partner (GCPP) and Google AdX Partner, has years of experience leverage multiple SSPs for higher prices.

To learn more, feel free to reach out to us today.

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