Demand-Side Platforms: The Essential Guide For Advertisers And Publishers

Demand-Side Platforms: The Essential Guide For Advertisers And Publishers

Ever heard about DSPs? Demand-Side Platforms can revolutionize buying and selling ads. Learn all about them and what they do.

Customer Data Platform

Tiago Youssef

Tiago Youssef

April 28, 2022

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Demand-side platforms make it simple and easy for publishers and advertisers to place ads. A demand-side platform brings together two participants: advertisers and publishers. This type of online advertising platform gives advertisers a single interface to find audience segments for their advertising campaigns. 

What Is A Demand Side Platform?

A demand-side platform is an advertising platform that helps advertisers find ad space for their needs. It is “demand-side” because the advertisers demand advertising inventory from hundreds of publishers (or more) for their goals at a reasonable cost. In contrast, a supply-side platform focuses on serving the needs of publishers who supply ad space.

The Different Types of DSPs

Advertisers seeking more digital properties with high-quality inventory tend to find a DSP platform helpful, but there are several types of DSPs. Each DSP will have a slightly different process of buying advertising space and a different range of publisher sites. Aside from these similarities, there are two general types of DSPs.

Self-Serve DSP

A self-serve DSP is a good fit for dedicating a smaller portion of its advertising budget to a platform. Navigating the digital ad inventories of a self-serve DSP takes time and expertise. To reach your campaign optimization goals, you will need to learn how the platform works and it the range of inventory offered is suitable for your marketing goals.

In some cases, the platform may have advanced advertising technology to help you focus your bidding strategies. With a self-serve DSP, there is usually no service fee. Instead, the self-serve DSP earns revenue by marking up the advertising price you pay.

Full-Serve DSPs

Full-service DSPs are the best choice for advertisers who need premium inventory and a sophisticated reporting dashboard. Full-service DSPs offer a guided experience where you can meet with an advertising expert to share your marketing goals. The full-service DSP staff will help you find the right audience. This type of DSP is ideal if you seek big-name publishers.

Full-service DSPs can have more complex pricing, including service fees and the advertising cost you pay for each ad placement.

Demand-Side Platform Examples

Some of the most popular demand-side platforms (DSP) in the market today used by advertising agencies and brands include the following:

To avoid putting all of your advertising eggs in the same basket, it might be helpful to sign up for several DSPs. Each DSP will have different advertising opportunities and pricing options, so it pays to use a variety of choices. By signing up for a DSP, advertisers can save time running their digital marketing campaigns. You might also have the chance to reduce your cost per click (CPC) by advertising on less well-known publishers.

Demand-Side Platform: How It Helps Advertisers

An advertiser decides that they want to reach affluent working women between 30 and 50 in the United States. There are countless websites and digital channels one could use to reach this audience. Instead of using dozens of websites, the advertiser logs into a demand-side platform. It’s like a supermarket of advertising opportunities where they can easily place their ads in many different places.

Using a demand-side platform is a powerful way to scale up advertising while reducing dependence on platforms like Facebook, Google, and Amazon. The value of diversification is evident when you look at the market share break of US digital advertising revenue according to; eMarketer.

  • Amazon, Google, and Facebook accounted for 64% of US digital advertising revenue in 2021.
  • Non-Big 3 Digital Advertising. Outside of the big three companies, this category accounted for 36% of the US digital advertising market in 2021.

Without demand-side platforms, it is relatively challenging to tap into the non-Big three digital advertising market. While smaller than the Big 3 companies, billions of dollars worth of advertising inventory are available.

DSP Key Features To Look For 

At their core, a DSP makes it easy to buy inventory for video ads, search ads, and other formats like ads on mobile apps. Most of these platforms use some form of real-time bidding and complex algorithms to set prices. Beyond those typical features, your decision-making process should explore a few other key features.

  • Types of Ad Creative Supported

Demand supply platforms vary in the types of ad creative. There are specialized video DSPs vs. display advertising DSPs. You may find it more effective to use a handful of different DSPs. Choose one DSP for video ads and another platform for mobile ad campaigns.

  • Analytics Platforms

Online advertisers are under pressure to report on campaign performance. Therefore, it is essential to use a DSP that integrates with your preferred analytics platform. If there is no integration, your staff may have manually export and import data to measure performance.

  • Blacklist of Publishers

Some advertisers have a policy to avoid certain publishers for brand, political or reputational reasons. The ability to set up a blacklist of publishers is crucial. Without this feature, the advertising solution may place your ads on questionable websites – a fundamental cause of headaches for advertising agencies. 

  • Access to Reports

Viewing and downloading accurate, real-time reports in the DSP user interface is vital for many advertisers. If a DSP provider makes you wait a long time for analytics reports, your advertising performance may suffer.

  • Wide Range of Publishers

Publishers are constantly entering and leaving DSP platforms as they find better advertising opportunities. Premium publishers have plenty of advertising options available. Ask questions about how the DSP platform retains publishers.

The Reason Why A CDP and DSP Go Together

To explain why publishers are increasingly relying on a customer data platform (CDP), put yourself in the shoes of an online advertiser.

Even if they have the seemingly infinite Fortune 500, an advertiser has to deliver results based on a specific budget. When an advertiser opens a DSP to seek out advertising space, data is critical in their decision-making process. One advertiser might be interested in your audience’s 20-29 male users, while another is interested in your 55+ demographic. Still, other advertisers might not care about age – they just want to reach people interested in sports.

A single publisher can earn revenue in all three of the scenarios outlined in the scenario mentioned above. A publisher can collect data about their audience quickly with a customer data platform. As a publisher collects better quality data, it becomes easier to sell advertising space through direct deals or a DSP.

To grow your digital advertising revenue, you need to have a CDP. Click here to find out how the Arena CDP can help you gain an edge in today’s marketing landscape.

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