Digital publishers have a variety of ways to monetize their content, with one of these being an array of supply-side platforms (SSPs) to sell ad inventory.
The problem with options, however, is that picking the right one to match your needs can become a time-consuming and tricky business. Publishers need to narrow down the long list of alternatives and find the best SSP and quickly.
With that in mind, we’ve dived into the subject and laid out all the information you’ll need to know to decide which SSP is the right fit for you.
Let's begin with the fundamentals.
Table of content:
Top 24 Supply Side Platforms (SSPs):
8. Vistar Media
17. Verizon Media
21. Nativo Edge
What is an SSP?
A supply-side platform (SSP) is an intermediary technology platform that enables publishers to get better prices for their ad impressions by issuing bid requests to various demand partners. In other words, SSPs connect demand partners and online publishers through ad exchanges.
For publishers, using an SSP can significantly boost return on investment (ROI) through open ad exchanges, direct deals, or private marketplaces. Real-time bidding (RTB) plays a pivotal role in digital advertising for both publishers and demand-side partners.
SSPs connect publishers' ad inventories directly or through exchanges to multiple demand partners, which can be demand side platforms (DSPs).
Anytime someone loads a webpage, the SSP sends ad requests to different DSPs that are connected to media buyers who bid to display ads to the page’s visitor.
The SSP receives the highest paying bid and forwards it to the respective ad server. The subsequent decision of the ad server will depend on the publisher’s configuration.
It can sound a bit confusing at first, so here's a simplified version of what makes SSPs vital to publishers.
What is a DSP?
A demand-side platform (DSP) serves advertisers in much the same way a supply-side platform (SSP) serves publishers.
While publishers can reach more buyers with the help of SSPs, advertisers use DSPs to reach multiple publishers or sellers. Simply put, they help advertisers purchase ads from multiple ad exchanges at scale.
Here's an explanation:
- A publisher's website has ad inventory for sale.
- Buyers or advertisers are interested in buying from websites in their niche.
- Publishers enlist SSPs to serve as brokers that can access the most profitable advertisers.
- Advertisers, meanwhile, enlist DSPs to reach publishers that might be outside of their reach or knowledge.
SSPs and DSPs work hand-in-hand to provide the best value for publishers and advertisers.
Therefore, it's vital to assess and select the appropriate partners to ensure maximum revenue from each ad impression. To enable publishers to better compare SSPs, it's also necessary to understand how they work.
Why Do You Need an SSP?
The digital advertising market has several ad networks and ad exchanges capable of bringing publishers and multiple demand partners together.
Nonetheless, supply side platforms (SSPs) excel at establishing a connection of several networks/exchanges, so publishers have access to tens of thousands of advertisers worldwide.
Apart from this, SSPs manage the complexity of dealing with more than one demand-side platform (DSP), exchange, or network. As such, the various SSPs offer slightly different features and services, which will provide unique advantages.
How Do SSPs Work?
At this point, it's pretty clear that SSPs interact with DSPs to decide the highest bidder that wants to connect with a publisher's audience.
But the following points outline the actual processes involved in delivering this objective.
- After choosing an SSP, you’ll give it access to your ad units.
- Your SSP will issue ad requests and deal IDs to multiple DSPs and ad exchanges whenever a user visits your website.
- During the auction, DSPs bid on the publisher's ad unit, proposing different prices.
- Your SSP considers your ad unit settings as well as the advertiser's audience requirements before matching the highest bid price.
- The ad server then determines the winner of the open auction.
- The winning ad is then shown on the publisher’s site.
6 Advantages of Connecting to SSPs
For publishers still wondering whether programmatic advertising is the right approach for their website, here are the six top advantages of using a supply-side platform (SSP).
Increases the Number of Potential Buyers
The main advantage of SSPs for media owners is their ability to fill ad slots.
Switching from an ad agency with a few media buyers to a programmatic platform with numerous buyers can result in more quickly selling ad units.
Different sellers, such as mobile app publishers, are able to expand their pool of buyers and set specific criteria for their ads units.
Access to more bidders also means a higher chance of ad buyers paying more for your ad impressions. The use of multiple ad exchanges, ad networks, SSPs, and DSPs allows several media buyers to engage in real-time bidding (RTB).
Boosts Ad Fill Rate
Another fundamental reason for publishers to go with an SSP is to boost fill rate. The fill rate is a measure of how often an ad spot is filled or vacant. Although other factors like ad format come into play, SSPs can typically help your overall fill rate and thus your ad revenue.
Choose the Best Ad, Not Just the Highest Paying
SSPs can help you find not just the highest bids but also the most suitable ads for your viewers. Viewer attention span has contracted significantly since the turn of the century meaning that you need to think about viewer entertainment in advertising.
The more relevant an ad is, the more likely it is to outperform less relevant offerings.
Diversifying your ads also has a similar impact, since users are less likely to click on ads they see repeatedly.
Publishers can gain greater control of their premium ad inventory with SSPs. With sufficient insight into the average that advertisers pay for individual ad impressions, ad request optimization becomes easier for publishers to select the right demographic and location.
Determine Price Floors
Another perk of connecting with SSPs is the setting of "price floors", which allows publishers to specify the minimum payment per ad space.
This specification ensures that media owners can filter out buyers whose offers fall below the minimum price, making ad management a lot easier.
Limits on Ad Impressions
As previously noted, SSPs select the most relevant ad network. However, they also limit how often it's displayed to a viewer. With a cap on the frequency of a specific ad format or type, your visitors are less likely to develop banner blindness.
24 Best SSPs for Publishers
OpenX is an ad hub that integrates a supply-side platform (SSP), real-time bidding (RTB), and ad server under one roof. Ad developers and premium publishers can earn ad revenue from their content using scalable solutions powered by a high-yielding global advertising marketplace.
PubMatic combines an SSP and cloud infrastructure with ad tech solutions that enable web publishers to boost ad ROI with media ads from app developers. The company has eight data centers and 16 offices worldwide.
Google Ad Manager
Google Ad Manager is obviously one of the most popular names on this list and was created after merging the Google AdX and Google FDP. Today, Google Ad Manager is a full-service platform capable of overseeing every aspect of ad campaigns and ad content. Also, Google Ad Manager offers a dashboard with advanced reporting features.
Sovrn serves publishers looking to improve programmatic revenue and optimized ad monetization. The platform offers monetization solutions and perks like audience insights while simplifying tasks like installation, management, among many others, through a feature known as OneTag.
Index Exchange offers a global transparent marketplace for premium digital media companies to reach buyers with their ad impressions in real-time. This SSP gives publishers full control of pricing and configuration.
SpotX is primarily a video-first SSP that helps connect publishers to demand partners to sell video ad space and video ad inventory. The platform does the heavy lifting, including ad management and ad trafficking, while also providing app developers and publishers with video ad products.
Teads positions itself as the pioneer of out-stream video and the leading video advertising marketplace globally. Online publishers can connect with Teads to produce new video ad inventory to help monetize video content via programmatic buying.
Vistar Media presents publishers with an end-to-end programmatic revenue generation option. This comprises an SSP, a demand-side platform (DSP), and digital signage software. The software enables automated, measurable, and data-driven digital out of home (DOOH) transactions.
Improve Digital has partnerships with more than 250 media owners across Europe. This is a Swisscom international company with branches in Paris, London, Munich, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Antwerp, and Milan.
Magnite came into existence after the merger of Rubicon Project and Telaria in 2020, a deal the two said would create the world’s largest independent SSP. The platform provides publishers with its Private Marketplace (PMP), Programmatic Guaranteed (PG) and Auction Package capabilities to increase control over the sale of ad inventory.
Media.net is part of the Bing and Yahoo! network. It gives publishers instant access to one of the most populated marketplaces for keyword-targeted advertisers. The size and scope of your niche makes no difference, and you can find advertisers to match your content.
With E-Planning, publishers get an ad server plus SSP in one package. It is among the oldest ad servers worldwide. The platform allows efficient ad network selection through various tools designed to make the most of each ad exchange for maximum impression and better revenue.
Criteo provides a diverse range of ads such as standard IAB, Sticky footer, native ads, rich media ads, and native API. Publishers can use the Direct Bidder to increase their website's ad revenue by establishing a direct connection between premium inventory and premium demand.
AdMob is owned by Google and serves as an ad monetization platform specifically for mobile publishers looking to increase income from their apps. It features in-app advertising, access to programmatic demand, rewarded video ads, native ads, and several others.
AdCology is a mobile video advertising platform serving app developers and international brands. The platform, established in 2011, is known for its exclusive Instant-Play HD video and Aurora HD Interactive video technologies, as well as its programmatic marketplace.
Adform’s SSP employs real-time bidding (RTB) to guarantee web and mobile publishers have more than enough top-grossing advertisers lined up. You can integrate Adform directly into your existing ad server and access premium ad networks.
Verizon Media offers a simple SSP that has a unified programmatic solution built to provide tools that enables publishers to boost monetization through premium ad networks, diverse ad formats, and ad inventories.
Xandr, previously known as AppNexus, can help you reach publishing partners like DSPs and sell your ad inventories through options like private auctions or open auctions. The platform uses prebid-powered header bidding technology, deals capabilities, and curated premium demand.
Kevel’s SSP offers an ad serving API that enables you to create a server-side ad platform at scale without much of the complex and technical issues associated with building such platforms.
PulsePoint is a data and technology company that provides programmatic solutions for healthcare organizations.
Nativo Edge gives publishers the ability to support exclusive next-gen ad formats with intuitive ad revenue optimization tools and a proprietary native ad serving technology.
GumGum is an AI company that specializes in computer vision. The company leverages image recognition technology and semantic page analysis to understand webpage purpose and enhance the quality and relevance of ads served. The company serves different industries like advertising and professional sports.
Sharethrough is an omnichannel SSP that focuses on advanced real-time bidding (RTB) technology. Its objective is to create a sustainable advertising ecosystem for journalists, content creators, and app developers.
Amazon Publisher Services
Some of the unique benefits this SSP offers include a comprehensive private marketplace, Transparent Ad Marketplace, and Unified Ad Marketplace. These services all seek to boost revenue with features like auction-level reporting and header bidding.
How Do You Choose the Best SSP?
There are many SSPs out there, but choosing the best one isn’t a problem if you know what to look for.
Before you even start picking an SSP, however, it’s worth examining your site speed. An SSP usually gives a publisher code to add to their website to provide access to the relevant ad units, and some publishers can work with several SSPs at a time. But adding more code can slow a website down.
With that in mind, it might make more sense to consider adopting an aggregator of ad tech services—a platform that brings together multiple SSPs and DSPs under a single roof.
Publift’s Fuse platform is an all-in-one programmatic advertising solution that allows web and mobile publishers to set up tags for display ads that remain optimized forever.
Once the tags are in place, then new partners, new demand, new technology, and new ad layouts can be optimised from a dashboard and the code on your page never needs to be changed again.
To determine which ad tech platform works for you, simply ask yourself a series of questions to help narrow down what will be the best fit.
- Which reporting and analytics tools does the SSP offer?
- Can I customize the reporting?
- Who do they partner with on the demand side?
- Does the SSP integrate with my existing direct buyer relationships?
- Are ad management, ad inventory, price flooring, etc all within my control?
- Is it easy to set up?
- What level of support can I expect?
Given these questions, here is a further look at some important factors to compare when researching SSPs.
Top 10 Factors to Consider Before Selecting an SSP
Whether you deal in video ads, native ads, or mobile ads, it's crucial to ensure your SSP has the latest technology in place to guarantee the highest quality ads.
Go for an SSP that provides viewability metrics. This feature helps determine whether viewers saw an impression, and the viewability metric can appear in your reports.
Different Auction Protocols
An SSP integrated with an ad server can allow for multiple protocols like open auctions, programmatic direct, etc. Also, check to make sure it offers header bidding solutions or other ad tech solutions for publishers.
Competition vs. Budget
An often neglected factor is the match between competition and budget. Since open actions are popular on SSP, it's necessary to ensure cost-per-click (CPC) prices aren't prohibitive since this can mean lower impressions.
Search for SSPs that house a number of ad partners on the same platform. Also, the dashboard should be intuitive and user-friendly.
Ease of Use
The ease of use of your SSP should go beyond the dashboard because some sophisticated ad techs can be quite complex. Having an SSP with a layer of user-friendly technology facilitates direct buyer relationships and other aspects of ad management.
An essential factor to contemplate about SSP is real-time data. The ideal SSP should make raw data gathering, aggregating, and use a priority to help optimize their performance. The processed data drives yields from ad campaigns and enables the development of smart algorithms.
Any programmatic platform with opaque reporting and extra charges is a no-go. Publishers will do better with SSPs that have detailed reporting features and measurable performance metrics.
Ad Types and Formats
A flexible SSP that supports the ad types will likely suit your publishing business. Generally, these SSPs offer different ad formats like video ads, interstitial ads, banners, native ads, and many more.
Publishers need to learn everything they can about the kind of customer support to expect from the SSP they intend to choose. Having access to email, call, chatbot, or documentation could prove essential in times of trouble. Also, provided an SSP satisfies other publishers, you'll find other clients saying good things about their services in your country or online.
SSPs have greatly simplified the world of advertising for publishers. Digital advertising used to be complicated a few years ago, but the growth of programmatic advertising and other technologies has given publishers a more streamlined experience.
SSPs are a terrific way for publishers to find new revenue streams by connecting with a diverse range of advertisers. They act as middlemen between you and your ideal ad exchanges, ad networks and DSPs.
While we've gone over several SSPs, it all boils down to picking the right partner(s) for your needs. So, analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the various options (access to a large number of demand partners, platform interface, technical assistance, etc.) and choose the best SSP for your ad units.
After choosing your preferred SSPs, remember to test and monitor their performance.
Publift helps digital publishers get the most out of the ads on their websites. Publift has helped its clients realize an average 55% uplift in ad revenue since 2015, through the use of cutting-edge programmatic advertising technology paired with impartial and ethical guidance.
Contact us today to learn more about how Publift can help boost your ad revenue and grow your business!