Ad tech loves its three-letter acronyms, and one of the most commonly heard ones is SSP, short for supply side platform. So, what are supply-side platforms? Who uses them? And how do they work? Here’s everything you need to know.


As a publisher, your primary goal is to maximize revenue while delivering relevant and engaging content to your audience. That’s where SSPs come into play. These platforms act as intermediaries, connecting you with a vast network of advertisers vying to display their ads on your website. And in fact, SSPs are increasingly becoming popular. According to a survey by Statista, it was found that U.S. publishers in the second half of 2021, used an average of 5.4 supply-side platforms (SSPs).

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into the workings of SSPs, exploring their functionalities, benefits, and the immense value they bring to your business. By harnessing the power of programmatic advertising, SSPs empower you to efficiently manage and monetize your ad inventory, ultimately leading to increased revenue streams. 

Now without further ado, let’s dive right into the heart of the matter. 

What is a Supply-Side Platform?

A supply-side platform (SSP), also known as a sell-side platform, is a technology platform that enables web publishers to manage their ad inventory, fill it with ads, and receive ad revenue. That’s pretty much it. However, we cannot explain what is a supply side platform without touching base on what a demand side platform is. 

So, let’s try to understand what is a demand side platform.

What’s a Demand-Side Platform?

We’ll cover that in more detail in another post but for now let’s just say that while SSPs are used by publishers to sell ad space, DSPs (Demand Side Platforms) are used by advertisers to buy ad space.

The main function of a DSP is to help advertisers buy ad impressions from ad exchanges as cheaply and efficiently as possible, while the main function of an SSP is to help publishers maximize ad revenue. Both platforms run on similar technologies but are used at different ends of the transaction.

How Does a Supply Side Platform Work?

A supply side platform opens up the publisher’s ad inventory to multiple ad networks, ad exchanges, and DSPs simultaneously. This allows a huge number of potential buyers to bid and purchase ad space on a publisher’s website. This increases the bid competition and enables publishers to get the highest possible rates for their ad impressions.

The underlying principle is the economics of supply and demand, by increasing the demand pool for a publisher’s ad inventory, SSPs increase the value of the publisher’s ad inventory. For this reason, SSPs are also sometimes called “yield-optimization platforms”.

Supply Side Platform Vs. Demand Side Platform


SSP (Supply Side Platform)

DSP (Demand Side Platform)


Maximize revenue for publishers

Help advertisers reach audiences


Publishers have inventory control

Advertisers have bidding control

Target Audience

Publishers, media companies

Advertisers, marketing agencies

Ad Placement

Optimize ad placement on websites

Target specific audience segments

Auction Type

First-price auction model or header bidding

Second-price auction model or RTB

Data Usage

Utilize publisher data for targeting

Utilize user and third-party data


Connect with DSPs to sell inventory

Connect with SSPs to buy inventory


Increase revenue and ad performance

Achieve efficient ad campaigns

Now that you are well-versed with the differences SSPs and DSPs share with each other, let’s understand how a supply side platform works.

What are The Benefits of Using an SSP?

Let’s now have a look at the wide array of benefits a supply side platform has to offer.

Ad Revenue Optimization

An SSP in advertising world connects publishers with a diverse pool of advertisers, fostering increased competition and driving up ad prices. It comes with a  wide array of features, including real time bidding, advanced targeting, and more.

Real-time bidding and advanced targeting capabilities result in improved ad performance and higher click-through rates. Additionally, detailed analytics offer valuable insights to optimize ad strategies and maximize revenue potential.

Automated Ad Buying

Implementing a Supply Side Platform (SSP) allows publishers to automate the ad buying process, streamlining operations and saving time. With automated ad buying, publishers can focus on creating valuable content while the SSP handles the complexities of ad transactions, ensuring a seamless and efficient advertising experience.

Improved Efficiency

A supply side platform can enhance operational efficiency by centralizing ad management tasks. Publishers can access all their ad inventory and performance data in one place, making it easier to monitor and optimize campaigns. This efficiency leads to better resource allocation and increased productivity in managing advertising operations.

Enhanced Targeting Capabilities

Next, by leveraging data-driven insights, a supply side platform enable publishers to target specific audiences with precision. Advanced targeting capabilities ensure that ads reach the most relevant users, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversion. This targeted approach results in higher ad performance and a more satisfactory user experience.

Access to Diverse Demand Sources

SSPs provide publishers with access to a diverse range of demand sources, including various ad exchanges and demand-side platforms. This wide network of advertisers expands revenue opportunities and reduces the risk of relying on a single source of demand, ensuring a stable and robust advertising ecosystem.

Ad Quality Control

Another benefits of using a supply side platform is having a control over the quality of ads. SSPs offer ad quality control tools to safeguard publishers from displaying low-quality or irrelevant ads. With the ability to set specific criteria and guidelines, publishers can ensure that their brand integrity is upheld, and users are presented with high-quality, relevant or contextual advertisements.

Monetization of Unsold Inventory

Lastly, through programmatic ad selling, SSPs enable publishers to monetize their unsold ad inventory. Rather than leaving ad spaces vacant, SSPs connect publishers with relevant ads from various sources, maximizing revenue potential and minimizing wasted opportunities.

Now you must be wondering who controls the ad inventory, so let’s have a look. 

Who Controls Ad Inventory?

Publishers retain complete control of their ad inventory. Most supply-side platforms allow publishers to set “price floors“—the minimum amount at which the inventory can be sold to a specific buyer, or through a specific channel.

They can also be used to dictate which advertiser can and cannot buy inventory on the publisher’s website.

This kind of granular functionality allows publishers to fine-tune their ad sales process in a standardized way.

What Should You Consider When Choosing a Supply Side Platform?

If you are looking for a potent ad network, here’s what you should look for:

1. Ad Formats and Inventory Management

Different publishers cater to different types of content and audiences, so it’s essential to choose an SSP that supports the ad formats you want to offer.

Whether it’s display ads, video ads, native ads, or any other format, a supply side platform can effectively manage and deliver them.

Additionally, the platform should provide precise control over your ad inventory, allowing you to set price floors, block specific advertisers, or enable private marketplace deals.

2. Data and Reporting Capabilities

In the digital advertising landscape, data is paramount. Look for an SSP that offers robust reporting and analytics tools.

The platform should provide valuable insights into your ad performance, audience demographics, and revenue trends. Access to real-time data will help you make data-driven decisions to optimize your ad yield and identify areas for improvement.

3. Integration and Support

A seamless integration process is crucial to avoid disruptions in your ad operations. Ensure the SSP can be easily integrated with your existing ad server and other third-party tools.

Furthermore, reliable customer support is essential to address any issues or queries promptly. Look for an SSP provider that offers responsive customer support and regular system updates.

4. Brand Safety and Ad Quality

Maintaining a brand-safe environment is vital for publishers. Check if the SSP employs advanced fraud detection mechanisms and brand safety tools to safeguard your ad inventory from malicious or inappropriate ads.

Ad quality is equally crucial to maintain a positive user experience on your website and retaining your audience.

5. Monetization Opportunities

Apart from offering standard ad formats, a good SSP should provide additional monetization opportunities. Look for features like header bidding, dynamic ad insertion, or video monetization options to maximize your revenue potential.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) are indispensable tools for publishers in the digital advertising realm. Utilizing SSP technology allows publishers to optimize revenue, manage ad inventory efficiently, and connect with diverse demand sources. By embracing SSPs, publishers can deliver targeted ads and maximize monetization opportunities, ensuring success in the dynamic programmatic advertising landscape. There are several supply side platforms in the industry that have delivered outstanding results for publishers. You need to gauge your requirements and choose the one that best suits your needs. 


1. What is a supply-side platform in simple words?

A supply-side platform (SSP) is a platform that helps website owners or publishers sell their ad space to advertisers.

2. What are some examples of SSP?

Some examples of SSPs include Google Ad Manager (formerly DoubleClick for Publishers – DFP), OpenX, PubMatic, Magnite, AppNexus (now Xandr), and AOL (now part of Verizon Media Group)

3. What is the difference between DSP and SSP?

DSP (Demand Side Platform) is used by advertisers to purchase ad inventory, while SSP (Supply Side Platform) is used by publishers to sell ad inventory and maximize revenue.


Deepak has a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the ad tech landscape. Whether it's through in-depth articles, thought-provoking insights, or compelling storytelling, he’s dedicated to helping people navigate the complex world of ad tech with the simplicity of his words.

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