Ad Tech & Ad Ops

Demand Side Platforms (DSPs): How are they evaluated?

Working hand in hand with SSPs are the demand side platforms aka DSP, facilitating advertisers to place ad creatives, bagging mass audience coverage, brand recognition and attracting maximum RoI.

Demand side platforms are ,in simple words, programming platforms, allowing real time bidding for ad space from the websites of a wide range of publishers.

Contrary to traditional negotiations for ad buying, which required both parties ( advertisers and publishers) to be physically present, DSP provides quick, efficient marketing of ads , incorporating real time bidding. DSP is specifically designed for advertisers to make their advertising campaigns successful.

Read more:

What is a Demand-Side Platform (DSP)?

An Introduction to Supply Side Platforms

As efficient and beneficial as it sounds, few aspects need to be considered to assess the value of a DSP:

  1. Access to Integrated inventory

With Massive audience coverage, DSPs can be assessed on the parameters of its access to diverse ad inventories. Contrary to belief of all DSPs accessing homogeneous inventory, the difference lies in the availability of channel environments and channel focus.

Usually, DSPs focus on desktop displays.

However, the target audience can be reached through mobile ad inventory such as through videos. Since, each impression (IMPR) incurs a huge cost to be placed on channels, DSP tends to focus on one channel only.

Channel environment, that is, where advertisers wish to target audiences ( desktop, mobile) is another criteria on which DSPs are evaluated.

Read more:

DSP vs DMP: Differences, Similarities, and Their Hybrid Model

What is a Supply-Side Platform?

  1. Presence of intermediary: 

Since DSP is a programming advertising platform, technological resources play a great role. Offering technology designed in-house and from scratch eliminates the intrusion of any intermediary or middleman that are likely to add up to the cost.  

  1. Availability of servers

It would be wasteful to not have networks or servers at the locations where bidding is supposed to take place. Thus, DSPs calibre can be evaluated on the basis of quantity and location of the server. For instance, if the target audience is to be reached in Mexico then a server needs to be operated from Mexico as well. 

  1. Scale

Another unique feature of demand side platforms is Scale, that is defined as its ability to reach mobile users, further referred as QPS ( queries per second: ad to be served per second). Working parallel to QPS, it is integral for DSPs to have a variety of supply partners.

It is especially beneficial to optimise ad campaigns, compare diverse ad formats from the ad Inventory of suppliers by giving access to it. DSPs with higher QPS result in better observation of auction or bidding outcomes. 

Read more:

Top 15 Supply Side Platforms (SSP) For Publishers in 2022

The Best SSPs (Supply-Side Platforms) for Web Publishers

  1. Real time bidding in DSP

Majority of DSP offer automated real time bidding (RTB), allowing advertisers to purchase quality ad space, for the best possible ( of course, the lowest) price.

High scale is one aspect to consider.

However, despite having access to sophisticated ad formats, buying ad space at the wrong price is useless. Thus, smart bidding combined with High scale can create an ecosystem to sustain the business.

Pricing models

Bidding alone is insufficient. A DSP offering limited pricing options can put advertisers on the losing end. Therefore, taking various campaign objectives into account, a DSP with diverse pricing models is  most beneficial. 

For instance, advertisers with the objective to increase brand awareness must choose a DSP with CPM (cost per Mille or cost per thousand impressions) as their pricing option, given the ad is placed at a high traffic website. 

  1. Supported ad creatives in DSP

The variety of ad formats supported by the DSP is another evaluation parameter. As an advertiser, the ad format requirements may vary according to the objectives. They can range from rich media ad units to Interstitial, native ads.

A DSP providing optimisation of creatives is the one that is beneficial for both publishers and advertisers. As per the trends, video support is in demand, however, it requires special technology especially for mobiles. This poses an important question whether the preferred DSP has relevant technology to cater to diverse channel environments?

Read more:

What SSPs and Ad Networks Want from Publishers’ Ad Inventory

How To Find The Right Video SSP For Your Inventory

  1. Protection of data by DSP

Programming advertising is fraught with certain risks pertaining to data privacy. Yet, it is pertinent to choose the DSP that ensures safety of brand, data and prevents ad fraud. 

Ad fraud- 

‘An unfortunate reality of DSP’

Although, fraudulent ad impressions can not be put to rest , yet confident DSPs can take certain measures to combat ad fraud by manual checks and technical monitoring. It is also to be noted that not all DSPs are ready to take the risk as the performance is borne by them.

  • Whether the chosen DSP ensures that ads are presented on brand appropriate sites is one of the criteria of evaluation. 
  • Does DSP ensure brand safety is another question one must ask to evaluate the right DSP? Although most DSPs integrate third-party contextual vendors embellished with special analytical tools to eliminate the inappropriate subject matter that can put brand name on line. 

  1. Support services provided by DSP: 

While managing advert marketing, support provided can earn DSP brownie points. It is important to consider if DSP has any service layer or it is purely self service? Whether a fee for training is charged if it is self service?

Final words

The best way to evaluate performance of DSP is having detailed knowledge about the technology used, and the audience it targets further improving the platform for advertising agencies. Being aware of DSP’s vision, target market can be a great way of evaluation. To choose a high performing DSP, the above mentioned criteria is of utmost importance. 


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