What is a demand side platform?

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Demand Side Platform (DSP)

What is a demand side platform ? Through a demand side platform (DSP), advertisers (aka “the buy/demand” side) purchase and bid on digital advertising space across multiple websites and apps. The real-time bidding (RTB) process means that they bid on ad impressions in the actual moment as they are being served.

How do demand side platforms work?

DSPs work by connecting advertisers with publishers. Advertisers use DSPs to create and manage their ad campaigns, and publishers use DSPs to sell their ad space. When a user visits a website or app, the publisher’s ad server sends out a request for an ad. The DSP then bids on the ad impression, and the highest bidder wins. If the advertiser’s bid is high enough, their ad will be displayed on the website or app.

DSPs allow advertisers to target their ads to specific audiences and to set budgets for their campaigns. They also provide advertisers with insights into the performance of their campaigns.

Types of demand side platforms:

  • Managed DSPs: Managed DSPs are managed by an agency or other third-party provider. Advertisers typically pay a fee to use a managed DSP.
  • Self-serve DSPs: Self-serve DSPs are managed by the advertiser. Advertisers do not need to pay a fee to use a self-serve DSP, but they may need to invest in training and resources to learn how to use the platform.

Why are demand side platforms important to marketers? Primarily, DSPs allow advertisers and their media buying agencies to achieve the greatest scale at the best price. These platforms automatically (“programmatically”) select and buy/bid on digital ad space across multiple websites and apps to target specific audiences within a specified range of price points. DSPs also provide advertisers with insights into the performance of their campaigns. Those analytics are used to improve the effectiveness of future campaigns.

Who needs to know what a demand side platform is:

  • Digital marketing manager
  • Paid search specialist
  • Social media manager
  • Content marketing manager
  • Affiliate manager
  • E-commerce manager
  • Product manager
  • Marketing analyst
  • Brand manager

Use demand side platform in a sentence: “To put it simply, DSPs are vital for marketers in performance marketing because they enable you to automate ad buys, reach a wider audience, target specific groups, save time, and track campaign performance.”