Introduction to SSP DSP & Ad Exchange

DSP – Demand Side Platform

A demand-side platform concept originated in Europe is a software used to purchase advertising in an automated fashion. DSPs are mostly used by the advertisers and agencies which enables them to buy display, video, mobile and search ads.
Demand side platforms facilitates buyers with direct Real Time Bidding access across multiple sources of inventory.DSPs are directed at advertisers.It enables the buyers to get access to more publishers and then choose the best as per their requirement.
Earlier the common practice in advertising involved digital ads being bought and sold by human ad buyers and salespeople, which were costly and unreliable. DSPs made the process cheaper and more efficient by making it automated and reduced the needs of human intervention. Even there wasn’t need of negotiation of ad rates as the process became automated.

DSPs enables advertisers to purchase impressions across a range of publisher sites, but targeted to specific users based on information such as their location and their previous browsing behavior.
Now, there has to be a medium through which Ad Impressions from publishers could be made avaliable to the buyers. Here comes the role of Ad Exchange. Publishers make their ad impressions available through marketplaces called ad exchanges and then DSPs automatically decides which of those impressions would be best suited for the advertiser to buy.

The price of each impression gets decided thorugh real-time auction , a process also known real time bidding. This means there’s no need for the sales person to manually negotiate prices with buyers because the impressions get simply auctioned off to the highest bidder.

SSP – Supply Side Platform

A supply-side platform is the publisher’s equivalent of a DSP. Where DSPs are used by marketers to buy ad impressions from exchanges as cheaply and as efficiently as possible, SSPs are designed by publishers to do the opposite: to maximize the prices their impressions sell at. Similar technology powers both SSPs and DSPs.

SSPs allow publishers to connect their inventory to multiple ad exchanges, DSPs, and networks at once. This in turn allows a huge range of potential buyers to purchase ad space — and for publishers to get the highest possible rates. When an SSP throws impressions into ad exchanges, DSPs analyze and purchase them on behalf of marketers depending on certain attributes such as where they’re served, and which specific users they’re being served to. The idea is that by opening up impressions to as many potential buyers as possible — often through real-time auctions — publishers can maximize the revenues they receive for their inventory.

Ad Exchange

An ad exchange is a big pool of ad impressions. Publishers put their Ad impressions into the pool hoping someone will buy them. Buyers then pick which impressions they wish to purchase using technologies like demand-side platforms. Those decisions are often made in real time based on information such as the previous behavior of the user an ad is being served to, time of day, device type, ad position and more.

Ad exchanges is a digital marketplace that enables advertisers and publishers to buy and sell advertising space, often through real-time auctions. They’re most often used to sell display, video and mobile ad inventory.
Few major Ad Exchanges includes Right Media which is owned by Yahoo and DoubleClick Ad Exchange which is owned by DoubleClick.

10 thoughts on “Introduction to SSP DSP & Ad Exchange

  1. If ad networks, ad exchanges and DSPs are all different, would you please describe what each is in “for dummies” terms?

    A demand-side platform is a software used to purchase advertising in an automated fashion. DSPs are mostly used by the advertisers and agencies which enables them to buy display, video, mobile and search ads .A supply-side platform is the publisher’s e…

  2. Ira

    …and DoubleClick Ad Exchange, which is owned by Google.

  3. Shab

    what is header bidding? How exactly it will perform?

    • Hey,

      Header bidding is an inventory pre-bidding concept that requires publishers to add a JavaScript code in the header (hence the names ‘header’ bidding). It’s an advanced programmatic technique in which the same inventory is offered to multiple ad exchanges, which then bid for the ad slot. Whichever one offers to pay the most wins the bid. This method increases publishers’ earnings and saves them the cost of ad serving fees for remnant inventory.
      The demand source competition always takes place before the ad server has received the request or seen the impression. This allows the publisher to preset the bid, leading to higher earnings. Integration can be done with ad exchanges, SSP, or programmatic networks.
      The idea is based on the concept of supply and demand. When demand increases the price goes up, leading to higher earnings.


  4. Claudia

    When building an dsp, do u also need to build a ssp as well? Same question for ad exchange. Many thanks!!!

    • Hi Claudia,

      No, all three units are different. They do come under one ecosystem but doesn’t rely on running


  5. Klaud

    Are there ready DSP solutions?

    Thank you for helping

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