5 Things to Know When Choosing a Demand-Side Platform

By Marianne Chrisos - Last Updated on January 6, 2020
Choosing a Demand-Side Platform

Sometimes it seems like in order to simplify a process – like digital marketing and buying ad space – we have to learn another complicated process – like the acronym-filled world of programmatic advertising.

The experts at HubSpot define programmatic advertising (and the why behind it) as, using automated systems (technology) and data to make media buying decisions without humans. It’s about efficiency, scale, and targeting. To sum it up in one sentence: Programmatic gives advertisers the ability to target users with relevant content based on user data and to buy one impression at a time to increase efficiency and effectiveness of the buy — all without the cost incurred by manual human tasks. The point is that humans cannot possibly work as fast as computers can at analyzing data, optimizing ads, matching user information, and making decisions based on all the information collected in a few milliseconds — which is how quickly real-time bidding and buying takes place.”

Choosing a demand-side platform is important to the success of your programmatic ad efforts

To understand the factors important in choosing a demand-side platform, you need to first understand what it is and how it relates to other parts of programmatic advertising.

Must-know marketing terms

#Data Management Platform (DMP)

This is the system that manages data for ad agencies, publishers, and brands, including data like cookie IDs, that help track customer behavior and activity. The first-part data (data gathered by businesses or website owners about their user activity, and includes company-owned data like subscription, social, and CRM data) is integrated with third-party data (data collected from other platforms) to help create a picture of user data that target the right users for segmented ad buys.

#Demand-Side Platform (DSP)

This is the platform that buyers use to automate the purchase of ads, including display, video, mobile, and search. It allows buyers to easily buy targeted views across publishers and platforms. The brand that wants to target mommy bloggers, for instance, will likely target users who identify as women and have a web history of visiting parenting sites and order child products. This might land ads on any number of websites that this target audience could frequent, such as Parent magazine website, or similar places where digital ad space is available.

#Supply-Side Platform (SSP)

This is the technology that allows brands and ad publishers to connect their inventory – the actual unit space on websites and social media platforms – with the ad exchanges and networks to sell the space and impressions to the highest bidder in real-time. An SSP provides buyers with access to many potential buyers based on the demographic info that brands provide and SSPs set a minimum price they will sell impressions for.

While there are many other parts of programmatic advertising, these are the three main parts involved in the buying and displaying of advertising units on websites and social media.

What to know when choosing a Demand-Side Platform

  • Reach: The first question to ask is “how many customers can I reach with this Demand-Side Platform?” Most have similar access to inventory and the main DSPs have relationships with all the major ad exchanges.
  • Efficient of Demand-Side Platform: Some marketers who have experience with PPC and digital marketing tools like Google AdWords and are used to the efficiency of the Google Display Network platform have noted disappointment with another real-time bidding DSPs. Some platforms are investing tools and features that enable them to compete with Google and create greater efficiencies for your brand campaign managers.
  • Support options: The level of support your brand or marketing team will need with Demand-Side Platform setup, execution, and troubleshooting will vary. New advertisers or startups may need more guidance in setting up a campaign, while more experienced brands may just need the option of technical assistance as needed.
  • Price: The cost of using a software platform is always an important consideration. Most platforms have fees associated with them, as well as the cost of impressions, established y the automated bidding process. Some DSPs also require a manual annual or monthly spend to formalize an agreement. Understanding the total cost of using the platform and running campaigns is important when deciding on your Demand-Side Platform vendor.
  • Data: Since the quality of data is essential to successful programmatic advertising, this is a crucial consideration. Search Engine Watch notes, “Advertisers understand which third party data providers are already aligned with their short-list of DSPs and identify how likely these providers are to have data partnerships which will suit the campaigns’ needs….DSPs will highlight the number of audience segments is available for purchase within their platform.” The question brands must ask themselves is if the access matches the kind of customers or audiences who will convert for them.

Using programmatic advertising in your digital marketing can help to simplify and automate your marketing efforts more effectively, helping you communicate better with potential audiences. To learn more about the effect of programmatic advertising on digital marketing, download the whitepaper.

Marianne Chrisos | Born in Salem, Massachusetts, growing up outside of Chicago, Illinois, and currently living near Dallas, Texas, Marianne is a content writer at a company near Dallas and contributing writer around the internet. She earned her master's degree in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University in Chicago and has worked in publishing, advertising, digital marketing, and content strategy.

Marianne Chrisos | Born in Salem, Massachusetts, growing up outside of Chicago, Illinois, and currently living near Dallas, Texas, Marianne is a content writer at a c...

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