What is a Supply-Side Platform?
A supply-side platform is an advertising technology (AdTech) platform used by publishers to manage, sell and optimize available inventory (aka ad space) on their websites and mobile apps in an automated and efficient way. By using an SSP, publishers can show display, video and native ads to their visitors, and monetize their website and apps.
Over the years, SSPs have expanded their functionalities, with many now including ad-exchange mechanisms, allowing publishers to connect to DSPs directly rather than connecting via other ad exchanges.
How Does a Supply-Side Platform (SSP) Work?
SSPs can sell a publisher’s inventory in various ways – for example, directly to ad networks, via direct deals with DSPs and perhaps most commonly, via RTB auctions.
A publisher makes its ad inventory available on an SSP.
Each time the publisher’s webpage loads, an ad request is sent to multiple ad exchanges and, and sometimes demand-side platforms, either directly from an SSP or to an SSP via the publisher’s ad server.
In the case of RTB media buys, various DSPs would place bids on the impression being offered by the publisher.
The winning bid is then delivered to the website via the SSP and displayed to the visitor.
What Advantages Do SSPs Provide Publishers?
SSPs interface with publishers and offer a number of benefits.
Automated selling of inventory: Publishers can sell all of their inventory to advertisers, including display, video and native ad space on both desktop and mobile devices. SSPs (and DSPs on the advertiser’s side) help streamline the process of selling and buying inventory by completely removing manual work from the process.
Because machines handle every transaction, publishers of all sizes can use SSPs to monetize their website and apps; an SSP can sell five impressions on a small e-commerce website as well as sell millions of impressions on a large publisher website. However, some SSPs require publishers to have a minimum number of impressions or website traffic to use their platform.
Reporting: SSPs give publishers details on who is bidding, how much their inventory is being bought for, and how much individual advertisers are buying. This offers deeper insights about the value of their inventory for particular advertisers.
Aggregation of multiple networks: SSPs help to combat the problem of driving the value of inventory down if there are not enough bidders coming from a single ad network or ad exchange. SSPs (by connecting to multiple networks, ad exchanges, and DSPs) allow more buyers to take part in the real-time bidding process, and possibly help achieve better yield.
Yield optimization with price floors: It’s no surprise that publishers are trying to regain some of the lost revenue caused by the reduction (the difference between the bid price and the clearing price) in second-price auctions. SSPs not only allow publishers to offer their inventory to more buyers, but also give them better control of pricing.