What is a Supply-Side Platform (SSP) and How Does It Work
In the era of ad tech publishers don't sell advertising space as they used to several decades ago. Modern digital advertising sells audiences and does it through programmatic media buying. Programmatic media buying process involves ad networks, demand-side platforms (DSPs), ad exchanges, and supply-side platforms (SSPs).
These entities are interlinked and work in a single programmatic media buying ecosystem. It matches demand with supply based on targeting options, budget settings, and other parameters important for buyers and sellers.
This ecosystem integrates a multitude of supply and demand partners each of which broaden media-trading opportunities. If publishers want to sell their ad space effectively, they should learn how to use technological platform for sellers (SSP). Exactly SSP is aimed to make media-selling efficient and suit it to every publisher.
What is an SSP?
Supply-side platform (SSP) is an ad tech software used by digital publishers to sell, manage, and optimize online advertising space. SSP has a dashboard with in-built publisher’s controls. They help to manage ad inventory (position, format, size, etc.), price per impression, and other campaign details.
SSP is an equivalent of the demand-side platform for advertisers. Using SSP platform, publishers can sell ad space to ad exchanges, networks, and DSPs at the same time. They automate inventory filling, matching publisher's requirements with demand, ad selection, and yield optimization.
How Does SSP work?
SSP is plugged into the programmatic ecosystem in order to send available ad impressions to as many potential buyers as possible. As soon as publisher configures campaign setting the selling process is automated with programmatic or real-time bidding. Then, SSP can automatically evaluate requirements, match the right bid with the right inventory, and send a request to ad server.
Even though media-selling is totally automated, it entails no bad deals risk for publishers. For this, SSPs protect publisher’s yields with price floors. With this option, publishers specify the minimum price for which inventory can be sold.
If the ad has suspicious content or spam, the publisher may lose audience, however, SSP deals with these risks as well. Publishers may choose which advertisers can bid on the inventory and which can’t. For this, they apply white and blacklists.
What features to look for in SSP?
Access to Multiple Sources of Demand
It is important that an SSP is connected to as many demand-side platforms, ad exchanges and ad networks as possible. It helps to offer impressions across multiple channels. Premium advertisers can pay more money for best quality ad impressions (read on a guide to website and blog traffic monetization). For this, SSP should offer preferred and direct deals.
Greater demand/competition brings higher inventory price. That’s why SSPs also offer header bidding, real-time bidding (RTB), and SDK mediation. They provide fair purchasing conditions for advertisers and raise value per each inventory piece.
Transparent System, Granular Reporting
Reports organize and visualize statistics to provide macro and micro insights into what works and what doesn’t. Also, reporting helps publishers to understand the true value of their digital inventory. Today, supply-side platforms use Big Data analysis to make statistics in real-time.
SSP dashboard should provide information across all metrics that matter. For instance, click-through rate (CTR) and the total number of clicks placement generates, fill rates and so on.
Support for Various Ad Formats
The platform needs to support various advertising formats. For instance, playable, rewarded, native ads, video ads, display, push, programmatic audio, and so on. This way publishers can choose which ad formats they will use in order to achieve their purposes. Whether it’s higher yields, better user experience, higher in-app purchases, or retention.
Dynamic Price Floors
Price floor enables publishers to run yield optimization in real-time. Ideally, SSPs must have “hard” and “soft” price floors and a minimum acceptable cost per thousand ad impressions (CPM). It keeps pricing flexible enough to sell out remnant inventory to the last piece and for the good price.
Control Over Display
Alcohol, tobacco or adult content can harm the reputation of the web source. Such ads can easily draw readers away. To prevent this SSP should have filters: both black and whitelists. They help publishers protect their inventory from unwanted displays and decide who they want to trade with.
Almost anyone can become a digital publisher: a website owner, a blogger or an online shop manager. If your website has a solid flow of monthly visitors and appropriate content, you may become a digital publisher as well.
Although the supply-side platform is innovative technology, there is nothing too complex about its navigation. To begin with, publishers can choose a managed SSP service, which allows account managers to run campaigns on your behalf. With time, publishers may switch to self-serve SSP and manage their inventory without assistance. Managed or self-serve, SmartyAds SSP quickly maximizes the number of potential buyers and raises ad revenue and user experience.
Reinforce monetization of your website or app with SmartyAds supply-side platform.
IRINA KOVALENKO, CMO OF SMARTYADS