The Role of Supply-Side Platforms in Programmatic Ads

By Marianne Chrisos - Published on April 15, 2019
The Role of Supply-Side Platforms in Programmatic Ads

Digital advertising has changed the way advertisers communicate with customers. It has given brands nearly limitless options for where marketing messaging can appear and how users can interact with it. Digital advertising, like banner ads and digital display ads, helps to more accurately target relevant audiences by using demographic information that brands have decided is important. The digital advertising process is often referred to as programmatic advertising.

What is programmatic advertising?

Publisher Digiday explains it very simply, saying, “Programmatic ad buying typically refers to the use of software to purchase digital advertising, as opposed to the traditional process that involves RFPs, human negotiations, and manual insertion orders. It’s using machines to buy ads, basically.”

This process has drastically improved the timeline in purchasing digital ads while also cutting down on costs, but it has certain technological features and software that are necessary to complete the process.

Ad networks are made up of a few parts of critical software that enables marketers to reach their audiences. One important piece is data management platforms, also known as DMPs. DMPs are the databases that collect, house and analyze the audience information. This is where customer demographic information is kept and allows marketers to target and segment the appropriate people with their messaging.

Do you know how supply-side platforms help your digital advertising?

A supply-side platform is what enables marketers to actually buy ad space and deliver the advertisements.

Clearcode, an ad and marketing technology software company, describes supply-side platforms by saying, “A supply-side platform is an advertising technology (AdTech) platform used by publishers to manage, sell and optimize available inventory (aka ad space) on their websites and mobile apps in an automated and efficient way. By using an SSP, publishers can show display, video and native ads to their visitors, and monetize their website and apps. Over the years, SSPs have expanded their functionalities, with many now including ad-exchange mechanisms, allowing publishers to connect to DSPs directly rather than connecting via other ad exchanges.”

What’s the role of supply-side platforms in your digital marketing?

Supply-Side Platform (SSP) capabilities make it possible for websites to display digital ads that appear on browsers everywhere. Here’s how:

  • Transactions in real time: SSPs sell an ad publisher’s inventory space. This allows advertisers to gain immediate space, as opposed to print ads that can book out months in advance.
  • Ad optimization: Publishers have access to a variety of ad networks, but each network might have different requirements. SSPs use available data, such as average advertiser costs and engagement rates, to determine which ad network should display the unit when impressions become available.
  • Geographical targeting: SSPs make it possible to only display digital ads in certain geographic markets. This allows for brands to ensure that only relevant markets are being shown their advertising. Not only does this prevent disappointment in the market by not leading customers to a product or service they can’t access, but it also leads to a lower cost of engagement, as each click is an ad expense paid by the advertising brand.

Overall, SSPs play a significant role in digital advertising. They help brands find the right space on the right ad network without any individual having to negotiate contracts or rearrange campaign dates. They can also help marketers automatically optimize their content; the software will use data to decide which ad networks will get the best engagement at which times and then display the content appropriately.

Whether your brand has video, native, display, or other kinds of digital advertising to use as part of a multi-channel marketing campaign, supply-side platforms help to support your advertising goals and analyze your results. They are a critical piece to a comprehensive ad strategy and a key piece of modern marketing.

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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