What is a demand-side platform (DSP)?
A demand-side platform is software used by advertisers to buy advertising with the help of automation. Publishers post advertising inventory, and advertisers purchase video, mobile, and search ads. DSPs enable programmatic advertising, which is the process of allowing sites to sell advertising efficiently to buyers in real time without directly communicating with them. DSPs also help automate the decision process on how much to bid for an ad. This makes the ad buying process faster, easier, and cheaper for advertisers. Instead of buying ads from publishers, a user buys ads based on their ability to reach a specific audience across a variety of publisher sites. The most common DSP features include bulk editing, reach, analytics, user segmentation, and API customization. Pricing for DSPs is not often public; potential users are expected to contact vendors directly.
How does a demand-side platform work?
There are two main stages in how a demand-side platform works: first, an advertiser sets up the reach and budget for a campaign. Then, the DSP submits a bid, places the ad, and manages the payment. When choosing a demand-side platform, users should pay attention to the amount of ad space and ease of use. Other features to look for are a wide range of publishers, access to reports, types of ad creatives supported, and analytics platforms. DSPs are individual and independent of other networks. If ads are purchased on one DSP site, they will not appear on others.
Why are demand-side platforms important?
DSPs are important because they allow advertisers to find the ads needed without having to contact hundreds of publishers. This information is available in real time in a cost- and time-efficient manner. This allows marketers to set up and manage campaigns, instead focusing on what can now be completed with demand-side platforms.
Types of demand-side platforms
The two main types of demand-side platforms are self-serve and managed platforms. Self-serve platforms allow advertisers to manage their own campaigns through platform dashboards, while managed platforms use a hired team to oversee the campaign. Some of the most common demand-side platforms are Facebook Ads Manager, Rocket Fuel, MediaMath, AppNexus, Choozle, and DoubleClick. Social media sites, streaming platforms, and large ecommerce sites will often provide their own DSPs to offer ad inventory to their users. There are other DSPs that specialize in gaming, mobile and streaming media, and search advertising.
Advantages of using demand side platforms
Reach – Wide reach across a variety of audiences
Time and Money – Using a DSP saves money and time by providing one place for all advertisement needs. DSPs are efficient and allow marketers to find an ad that reaches their ideal audience with less cost and without reaching out to hundreds of publishers.
Analytics – Most DSP sites offer some form of analytics that allow marketers to learn about which messages are well received and whether users will re-engage with content in the future.
Quantcast and demand-side platforms
Quantcast has developed an audience intelligence platform that goes beyond the traditional functions of a DSP to help advertisers and publishers understand their audiences and use their advertising most effectively. The Quantcast Platform integrates machine learning and AI technologies to turn advertising data into real-time insights and automate campaign functions. The platform is built to optimize campaigns in order to save time on administrative tasks and improve ad conversion rates.