Top Demand Side Platforms (DSP) and Supply-Side Platforms (SSP)

Demand Side Platforms

There are many terms used in programmatic advertising, for example, DSP and SSP. What are DSPs and SSPs? Is there a connection between the two?

Often, people new to programmatic advertising have heard of these two terms but have not fully understood them. Understanding DSP and SSP are essential in programmatic advertising.


Let’s start with DSPs or Demand Side Platforms. A DSP gives advertisers access so they can promote their digital ads on various ad exchanges. This includes options for ad tracking, real-time bidding, targeting, and optimization.

It is different from a SSP or Supply Side Platform aimed at publishers. The primary function is to manage advertising on websites or mobile apps, including options for automation, optimization, improving performance, and setting the price of each ad slot offered.

So, what’s the importance of DSPs and SSPs in programmatic advertising? How do they work? And why use both platforms?

To answer all those questions, it would be better if we first understood the meaning of both terms. Let’s start with DSP.

What is a DSP?

A demand-side platform (DSP) is a technology platform that automates the purchase of advertising space and makes it more efficient using different algorithms.

It combines inventory from various sources, such as ad exchange networks, ad networks, and sell-side platforms (SSPs). The DSP then calculates pricing and delivery capabilities based on advertisers’ data from these networks and real-time offers.

In the past, purchasing inventory was done by the people. They select networks, determine maximum bids, and provide criteria for delivering ads to target groups. These steps are automated with an demand-side platform (DSP).

DSP combines the various networks and inventory offered there. It also calculates inventory prices based on RTB data and uses advertisers’ budgets to purchase inventory.

This process is auction-based. The advertiser determines the upper limit, and the DSP then provides the ad inventory provided by the SSP and the ad network.

Advertisers can also define segmentation and other criteria to use purchased ads wisely. The platform, demographic data, search history, the keywords entered, and other user behavior data read with cookies may be used to control ad placement.

Why Use a DSP?

A DSP is intended to optimize inventory purchase and automatically allow buyers to use different information. The goal is to increase campaign efficiency and ensure that ads are shown only where they make the most sense to buyers, such as achieving the largest possible reach across multiple advertising networks and a predefined maximum price for the ad.

A DSP also provides targeting options, retargeting, and an interface for linking these services to your own infrastructure.

What is an SSP?

SSP, the abbreviated version of the supply-side platform, is an advertising platform that helps in business ad inventories management and coordination.

They make it possible for publishers to have their own ad spaces. Besides buying the spaces, SSPs also allow them to organize and optimize their ad inventory.

With a SSP, publishers may monetize their content on websites or mobile apps using cost-efficient displays, native ads, or video ads.

The thing is, SSP also allows advertisers to bid on the publishers’ ad inventory. Thus, the owners of the mobile apps or websites may further optimize their ads to satisfy the highest bidder.

As with DSP, an SSP is also a part of a bidding process done in real time. Publishers can always simultaneously connect their inventory with various ad exchange platforms.

They can build up good impressions for potential buyers to maximize their revenue. Many people refer to SSPs as the platform to optimize yield by seeing this possibility.

Why Use an SSP?

Based on the character, SSPs are still considered essential in online advertising, as they can be seen as the “auction house.” These platforms can connect the data management platforms, ad exchanges & networks, and other DSPs.

SSPs can also control the bidding process by selecting the winning advertiser. These processes happen in real-time and are done automatically.

Aside from depending on the automatic processes, publishers can also handle their “shops” independently. They are given complete control over everything related to sales and optimization.

Other than giving the publishers freedom to set and adjust their ad inventory, SSPs also give them the option to set the price floors. It’s helpful to prevent lower prices while boosting your revenue in the long run.

How DSPs and SSPs are Connected

How do DSPs and SSPs work together in programmatic advertising and relate to each other? The flow is that advertisers promote their products by finding suitable ad slots through DSP.

Usually, advertisers have targets they want to achieve. Here, advertisers can also bid on inventory through ad exchanges provided by publishers’ various websites and mobile apps.

This process is also connected to the DSP, which publishers use to distribute advertisements to their inventory according to the targets desired by advertisers.

The Data Management Platform

However, apart from DSP and SSP, there is also a so-called DMP or Data Management Platform whose function is to retrieve and process data from various platforms so that advertisers get helpful marketing insights to improve their advertising performance.

Usually, the results of data processing provided by DMP will help advertisers determine targeting appropriately.

List of Top DSP and SSP

Choosing which platforms could be the best for your needs is complex and tricky, seeing how crowded the market is. So, let’s find out which of these top DSP and SSP platforms and what makes them stand out.

1. CodeFuel


CodeFuel is the platform served by Nasdaq’s Perion to help content publishers build and grow their engagement and increase their monetization value by expanding the site’s performance and creating new revenue streams.

CodeFuel will give publishers and advertisers a tool to enhance audience and user experience by providing relevant and better content. This could create better optimization both for publishers and advertisers.

Main Features/Product Innovations:

  • App Monetization: Find the better ways to enhance the app users’ experience to drive in more revenue
  • Search Meditation: Useful for media traders to obtain better and higher yield
  • Website Monetization: Adjust and optimize your website through various programs to reach higher revenues.

Reasons To Use CodeFuel

To help you better understand what needs to be done, CodeFuel also offers CodeFuel HUB as a complete analysis platform. By using the solutions provided by CodeFuel, publishers may optimize their search results, engage with more potential users, and ultimately increase their revenue.

Through its collaboration with Bing, CodeFuel can help any advertisers or publishers who want to monetize their platforms in any form, such as websites, apps, or search engine extensions. To learn more about it,. If you want to collaborate, select the option “talk to use about the monetization” to find the best way to make or increase your revenue.

Click here to check out CodeFuel

2. Sharethrough


As one of the top SSPS, Sharethrough is an omni channel platform that’s supported by the RTB tech to create the advanced technology to increase the ad experiences for the audiences. The platform has a goal to bring a more sustainable advertising environment that’s suitable for not only publishers, but also content creators, developers, and journalists.

To increase the publisher’s ad optimization, Sharethrough will use more modern video and display ads that are relevant and nicely fit.

Main Features/Product Innovations:

  • Dynamic Video Captions: Create an interesting, engaging videos with easy-to-read captions
  • CTV Dynamic QR Codes: The first-to-market products from Sharethrough will always have QR codes in them, which useful to generate more attention
  • Native Advertising: A form of paid media where the ad experience will certainly adjust with the natural form and user experience’s function in the location where it’s placed.
  • SmartSuite Technology: A feature for further optimizing your ad performance, and adjusting the pricing.

Reasons to Use Sharethrough

Sharethrough is really selective with the kind of ad placements that are suitable for each client. That is vital in the effort to empower publishers and marketers to use modernized advertising strategies to expand their growth while maintaining their loyal audience.

The technology that Sharethrough uses a Dynamic Ad Template which has the ability to reach the best performance by adapting to the surrounding content and environment. There’s also the Native advertising option that’s useful to grow your reach.

Buyers may consider these two options based on their needs. If they want an increase in performance, Native advertising is a more fitting choice. Meanwhile, they can choose the Enhance ads to better adjust and customize their already-created assets. See the available options, and select one that’s most suitable for your condition.

Click here to check out Sharethrough

3. Google Ad Manager

Google Ad Manager

Bloggers commonly use Google Ad Manager. This is the ad management platform which lets any publisher control and direct their own ads. By using this platform, they can streamline operations, and gain a better understanding of each impression.

Google Ad Manager has a basic control that’s so easy to understand, plus the wide support for various ad networks, including AdSense. If you’re working your way to optimize your revenue via using Adsense, this is the platform to go.

Although it grants free access to its users, Google Ad Manager is still a complete platform to grow ad revenue, and keep the brand relevant in its audience’s eyes.

Main Features/Product Innovations: 

  • Easy Integration: Allows users to easily connect to other Google-related products, including Google AdSense
  • Comprehensive Tools: The platform has set of tools for the users to optimize their ads and campaigns
  • Ad Manager: The place where you may create and apply the best ad for your platform
  • Ability to create users’ campaigns
  • Insert ad tag to the users’ platforms automatically

Reasons to Use Google Ad Manager

One of the things that we do love from the platform is the ease. Everything is easy to access and navigate. If you happen to get lost on your way, there are lots of YouTube tutorial videos that may help you find the correct solutions.

Click here to check out Google Ad Manager

4. Xandr


Xandr was born out of the great legacies to make meaningful strides towards a better advertising future.

See Xandr as the innovator, which is the middleman at the intersection between digitalization and TV. It has solid partnerships to make an open industry alternative and solve the existing problems and challenges often found by both buyers and sellers.

By using Xandr services, users are able to utilize sophisticated campaigns across screens, from OTT to CTV or Video, and other formats. To better understand the true value of Xandr, see the features and products innovations below:

Main Features/Product Innovations:

  • Xandr Invest: Allows advertisers to easily connect with the customers, and further drives the conversion rate.
  • Xandr Monetize: A feature that enables and increases the true value of advertisers’ inventory while improving the user experience simultaneously.
  • Xandr Curate: Useful feature to open new revenue streams and make use of competitive advantage in the strategic and curated marketplace.
  • Xandr Marketplace: Considered as one of the larger programmatic marketplaces, it is a place where all the premium inventory is displayed on screens.

Reasons to Use Appnexus 

As mentioned above, Xandr has many kinds of inventory, which is great for many programmatic teams. The platform is also able to provide exclusive supply deals, and allows the users to benefit from the curated marketplaces.

It also packs lots of features which may be useful for a wide range of buyers and sellers.

Click here to check out Xandr

5. Google Marketing Platform

Google Marketing Platform

Google Marketing Platform, or previously known as Double Click, is a part of Google Products that’s useful to be an individual platform to run ads, check performance of websites, and manage site tags. Usually, this platform is also used alongside the other Google products, such as Google Tag Manager, Data Studio, or Analytics.

By combining it with Google Data Studio, the users will receive live performance analytics for their clients. They can also view the comparison between the show performance from Google and other platforms.

Using Google Marketing Platform (GMP) allows users to create, manage, and understand what’s happening with their digital ad campaigns.

Main Features/Product Innovations:

  • Data Studio: Filled with the data reports about your ads
  • Surveys: Ask the opinions of others to answer your questions
  • Optimize: Engage with various tests to optimize your assets
  • Tag Manager: Feature to manage all of your tags
  • Campaign Manager & Display Video 360: Get a more complete view of your campaigns and ads
  • Search Ads 360: Provides real-time data about your search campaigns

Reasons to Use Google Marketing Platform

Since it’s considered the main part of Google Products, GMP may also act as the hub to connect users with all other Google features. The Tag Manager is clearly a useful way to simplify tag management and implementation, making it easier to create and deliver centralized and focused information.

GMP also shares better integration and connectivity between any Google Products your company is using.

Click here to check out Google Marketing Platform

6. LiveRamp


As one of the top advertising platforms, LiveRamp is often used as a tool for onboarding offline or CRM data for activating ad campaigns. By using LiveRamp, users can segment any of the data that they onboard into multiple unique segments for better audience targeting.

Users can make the initial models first, and then leverage the data from LiveRamp to identify any third-party data segments that can be useful to create better audience targeting and increase scalability for the running ad campaigns.

Main Features/Product Innovations:

  • Identity Resolution: LiveRamp creates and build unified view of your audience and customer, while giving a simple way to connect to them
  • Data Activation: Users can activate audience connection across channels to create a more personalized and engaging experience
  • Campaign Measurement: Gives users detailed information about their campaigns and optimization recommendations.
  • Data Collaboration: The platform provides a comprehensive tool to increase customer intelligence
  • Data Marketplace: The platform also simplifies the access to trusted and global third-party data.

Reasons to Use LiveRamp 

LiveRamp allows data onboarding, identifying solutions (if problems were found), creating data segments, identifying any audience segmentation or third-party data for better audience targeting. But, there is one point you need to think about.

There are reviews that mentioned that LiveRamp lacks the integration with media buying platforms, which could create issues for the programmatic team.

Click here to check out LiveRamp

7. Adobe Advertising Cloud

Adobe Advertising Cloud

If you are looking for the best video DSP, then Adobe Advertising Cloud (formerly known as TubeMogul) could be your best option. Adobe Advertising Cloud (AAC) is a platform that’s easy to use. It’s able to track users’ KPIs in real-time. Other information can also be seen, such as the budgeting for multiple devices and websites.

What’s interesting is the fact that AAC has a good integration with other media platforms, which makes it easy for the programmatic team to buy video and see the performances in real time.

Main Features/Product Innovations:

  • A comprehensive DSP: Use AAC to manage all your digital media strategies to reach better ads for your potential customers.
  • Smart search marketing management: The platform uses the combination of AI and data integrations to make best practices and recommendations.
  • Better creative management: Create a more meaningful ad experience by optimizing your content delivery.

Reasons to use TubeMogul

AAC has great customer support that actively helps to solve users’ problems, it’s easy to operate, and it has good transparency.

Behind those goodies, there are a few things you need to consider. For example, AAC doesn’t have a seamless process for its PMP deals set up. It’s also limited to performance-based pricing, which could be more costly compared to the project-based one.

Click here to check out Adobe Advertising Cloud


Both DSPs and SSPs are great ways for publishers to gain new revenue streams by finding a wider variety of advertisers. Although you can find tons of options of the best advertising platforms, the one that’s the best is the platform that could fit your needs the best.

After selecting one of those platforms, make sure to do the proper tests to assess its performance. These tests will determine how effective the platform is at increasing and expanding your potential revenue.

If you have any recommendations outside the ones we’ve mentioned above, be sure to give your suggestions and feedback in the comment section!


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