DSP (Demand-Side Platform)
DSPs are a type of software that are used to automate the purchasing of online advertising. The software is generally used by advertisers and media agencies to help them purchase different ad formats. The ad formats can include: display, mobile, search, or video ads. In essence a DSP is the marketer equivalent to an SSP.
DSPs make the process of buying and selling digital ads much cheaper and more efficient, by removing the human aspect of the process. Humans no longer need to negotiate ad rates or manually fix ad insertion orders.
DSPs allow advertisers to buy ad space or ‘impressions’ across multiple publishing sites, and this is done through an automated process. DSPs decide within milliseconds which impressions are most relevant to the advertiser, with the price determined in real-time through real-time bidding.
Publishers make their ad space available on an online marketplace called an ‘ad exchange’, which is where DSPs purchase this ad space. These publishing sites are chosen based on the advertisers targeting parameters such as user location or browsing behavior etc.
A few examples include: The Trade Desk, AppNexus, Media Math, and Amazon Advertising.
SSP (Supply-Side Platform)
SSPs are a type of software that are used to automate the selling of online advertising. The software is used by online publishers to help them sell different ad formats. The ad formats can include: display, mobile, search, or video ads. In essence, SSPs are the publisher equivalent to a DSP.
SSPs allow publishers to showcase their inventory on different ad exchanges, DSPs, and ad networks all at once. When SSPs throw ad space inventory into multiple ad networks, DSPs then analyze and purchase on behalf of advertisers. This allows for a huge range of potential buyers to purchase ad space online, and as a result publishers receive the best possible ad rates. By opening up impressions to many potential buyers through real-time auctions, publishers are able to maximize the revenue received from their ad space inventory.
To sum it up, SSPs matter as they help publishers more efficiently manage their relationships with multiple ad networks and ad buyers. It also automates the process of purchasing online ad impressions for advertisers.
A few examples include: PubMatic, Google, OpenX, and Rubicon Project.