Demand Side Platform

What is The Demand Side Platform?

Demand Side Platform – A company that allows advertisers to connect to web publishers. A Demand Side Platform can allow advertisers to manage the bids they make in real-time via an advertising exchange. A demand-side platform is software used by advertisers to buy mobile, search, and video ads from a marketplace on which publishers list advertising inventory. These platforms allow for the management of advertising across many real-time bidding networks, as opposed to just one, like Google Ads. Together with supply-side platforms, DSPs enable programmatic advertising.

What is programmatic advertising?

Programmatic advertising is the process of buying and selling ads with software and publishing those ads contextually based on complex algorithms. Most online advertising now is done programmatically through real-time bidding and direct deals.

  • Real-time bidding: advertising like this takes place in real-time. You specify who you want to reach with your ads, how much you are willing to spend, then, a bidding war takes place between you and all the other advertisers trying to reach the same audience. A prospect lands on a page, and before the page loads fully, algorithms determine which ad to display to them. These algorithms take things like browsing history, time of day, IP address into account. Whoever has bid highest for the impression when all is collected wins the placement.
  • Programmatic direct: this kind of advertising is more like the traditional model moved to the internet. It is ideal for businesses that want guaranteed ad placements in premium locations. Homepages of big-name publishers, for example, will often sell their ad space via programmatic direct deals. The publisher provides the advertiser with details about its visitors. If those visitors are the advertiser’s ideal audience, then the advertiser can choose to reserve a ortion of publishing space for an upcoming campaign.

According to eMarketer, programmatic advertising has been steadily growing in popularity. By 2019, it is expected that 83.6% of display advertising will be bought and sold programmatically:

Programmatic is not just display advertising, though. It refers to ad sales on search networks too, and any other network bought with software. However, when you buy ads through these networks (like Google Ads for example) individually, you are not necessarily using a demand-side platform.

Why use a demand-side platform?

Using a demand-side platform has its advantages and disadvantages. It is good to know a few before you invest heavily in a software.

Pros of using a DSP.

Efficiency: If you are managing campaigns across many networks, a DSP makes sense to use. This way, everything is adjustable from one dashboard.


Data: Many DSPs partner with third-party data providers to offer advertisers as much information as possible. Often, it is more than a single network can provide. Additionally, many DSPs allow customers to import their own data from a CRM or a DMP (data management platform).

Targeting: With more data comes pinpoint targeting capabilities. Better targeting means more personalized ads and post-click landing pages, which means a higher likelihood of conversion.

Support: Demand-side platforms will often provide support beyond the traditional helpdesk-style customer support of a single network.

High-quality inventory: DSPs will have access to the major networks and then some. If you are after more premium inventory, a demand-side platform may be what you are looking for. Some may have more access than others, though, so it is important to find out before you pick one.

Cons of using a DSP.

Cost: DSPs can require significant investment, and if you’re not budgeting more than $5,000 per month for ad spend,  you can probably get all the reach you need from the Google Display Network.

Complexity:Whenever you aggregate data, you run the risk of overcomplicating things. Some advertisers may find demand-side platforms too complex to learn quickly enough to see a benefit.


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