Role of SSPs In The Digital Eco System

The use of technology platforms on both the Buy-Side and Sell-Side to automate the buying and selling of digital advertising space is commonly referred to as ‘Programmatic’ by the Digital industry.

Within this loosely defined term there are multiple ad tech sources and service providers that feed into Programmatic, which enable advertisers to achieve better performing campaigns and media owners to effectively monetise their display ad inventory.

These sources include but are not limited to Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs), Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs), Data Management Platforms (DMPs), Ad Exchanges, Ad Networks, and Search Retargeters.

The Role of SSPs in the Digital Eco System is to help media owners optimise advertising sales yield across all display inventory that has been enabled through the SSP platform.

The SSP automates the sale of the allocated inventory in the platform by serving as a gateway in screening thousands of real-time advertiser bids coming from multiple DSPs, allowing the highest bid to win the ad placement.

This gives back some control to the media owner to achieve the highest effective Cost Per Thousand Ad Impressions (eCPM) possible across their display ad inventory that is sold via the SSP.

SSPs include OpenX SSP, The Rubicon Project and PubMatic.

DSPs normally partner with various SSPs to ensure that they have as much audience reach as possible between the various SSP platforms.

Similarly SSPs look to partner with multiple DSPs to ensure that programmatic advertising spend comes from as many DSP platform sources as possible to mitigate the risk of losing potential ad campaign budgets that might be coming from one DSP versus another that may not have access to certain brand budgets.

Display ad inventory in today’s Digital Eco System is accessible via multiple digital devices including:

  • Desktop computers
  • Tablets
  • Laptops
  • Smartphones
  • Smart TVs

Programmatic advertising is advancing at a rapid pace, with technologies evolving towards a unified approach of being able to target and reach audiences regardless of the digital device, or combination of devices that they choose to consume media through.

It could be via desktop computer, smartphone, tablet, laptop or any other IP connected digital device that has the potential to deliver digital advertising.

In the future this could well include Minority Report style virtual advertising where physical screens are no longer required.

This will present further challenges for the Digital Industry related to the tracking and targeting of these audiences as they engage with new forms of emerging media.

Virtual Advertising: Minority Report
MINORITY REPORT (Steven Spielberg 2002)

My guess is that companies like Google are already on the case here and no doubt Google Glass is just a stepping stone in this journey.

While remaining on the topic of emerging trends, the other consideration for Programmatic is that of the inclusion of innovative display ad formats and choice of Supply Side platform.

The latest trends in Programmatic include the ability to ad serve Rich Media formats including IAB Rising Star formats, which are split into the following categories:

  • Display
  • Mobile
  • Video

Following this path, niche video SSP platforms are carving-out a decent share of programmatic ad spend and by doing so, are helping to drive healthy competition between all SSPs in the mix.

Video SSPs worthy of a mention here are LiveRail and Videoplaza.

In my next article, ‘Programmatic: The Art of Supply‘, I look at some of the challenges faced by SSPs related to Supply that are inherent in Programmatic and the opportunity this presents in delivering better performing campaigns for the Buy-Side.