SSP Meaning Explained: What Is a Supply-Side Platform?

SSP meaning

SSP Meaning Fully Explained With Media Shark

Ah, the internet! What a wonderful and mysterious place. Do you know what an SSP is? Find out the SSP meaning below!

It’s also a place where you can find magically find ads for what you want, exactly when you want it.

You know us so well, Internet! How do you do it?

How the internet knows exactly what you want when you want it is a story for another time, but those ads you see for your favorite chia pet wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for SSP. SSP meaning Supply-side platform.

Join us on an incredible journey into everything SSP! What they are, how they work, and more!

What Is SSP Meaning

An SSP is an internet advertising platform used to manage ad space inventory. Using an SSP helps web publishers to monetize their websites and apps efficiently. 

SSPs are a large part of the online ad network. Typically they connect to ad exchanges, ad networks, and data management platforms(DMPs) and demand-side platforms(DSPs) to help sell ad space on publishers’ websites and apps.

Over time, SSPs have expanded to include their own ad exchange platforms. This has started to eliminate the need for SSPs to connect to ad exchanges, as SSPs are more able to do it in-house.

What Do SSPs Do

Within the process of “brokering” publishers’ ad space to third parties, there are a number of functions that SSPs can help to automate:

  1. Real-time Bidding(RTB): This is how SSPs sell publisher ad space to DSPs
  2. Ad Network Optimization: SSPs will automatically pair a particular publisher with the network most appropriate for their ad space
  3. Frequency Capping: SSPs will monitor, and limit, the number of times a web visitor sees a particular advertisement
  4. An SSP will make sure a publisher’s ad space is only shown to relevant ad networks
  5. Ad Network Management: SSPs will automatically choose ad networks with the best latency to offer the best real-time bidding experience.

SSPs are able to provide such advanced functionality with the help of complex algorithms. These algorithms predict the ad network with the highest yield and help SSPs to streamline the ad-buying and displaying process.

How do SSPs Work

An SSP meaning Supply-side platform and a DSP meaning demand-side platform are opposite ends of the ad placement process. An SSP and a DSP both communicate through an ad network.

The first step is a publisher making his ad space available for purchase via an SSP. Next, each time a publisher’s ad space loads an ad request is sent to multiple ad exchanges.

Thirdly, various DSPs will make bids on the ad space being offered. The winning bid is then displayed on the publisher’s webpage via the SSP.

The winning bid is selected via a waterfall model. The SSP passes from bid to bid until it arrives at the perfect fit.

Advantages Of An SSP

Using an SSP provides a number of advantages to publishers. Publishers can leverage SSP technology to sell off their ad inventory automatically. No manual selling process required.

SSPs also enable publishers to easily see how much their ads are being bought for, who is buying them, and how much ad space each individual advertiser is buying. This makes for easy reporting, tracking, and targeting of ad revenue.

Another advantage of SSPs is the pooling together of ad networks. Publishers can often run into problems where the price of their ad space is driven too low.

SSPs can syndicate ad space out to a wide variety of ad networks. This means more potential buyers, which means higher yield for web publishers.

With SSPs, publishers can also institute a “price floor” on their ad space. This works much like a “reserve bid” on eBay. Publishers can set a “bottom line” price for their ad space that they will not go below.

Expand your ad reach. In a pinch, a publisher may have to give away ad space at “basement prices” just to fill inventory. SSPs allow floor prices to be adjusted if an advertiser offers new, exciting content.

The SSP will change the price point, and the ad space will go to the new advertiser. This will expose the ad to new audiences who are more likely to engage with fresh content.

Lastly, SSPs offer an element of safety to web publishers. Using the SSP almost as a “filter”, web publishers can rest assured that they won’t get any spammy or unwanted ads popping up on their site.

This can also be beneficial from an SEO standpoint too, as the publisher’s site won’t be associated with any “spammy”, low-DA links.

What Is An SSP Made Of

By now you’ve probably realized SSPs have to be complex to accomplish what they accomplish. Which begs the question: What are the components of an SSP?

SSPs require several different components to work together in harmony.

In order to provide its features to publishers, and sell ad space, an SSP has to have robust back end infrastructure. A provider like Amazon Web Services is typically used to support an SSP and its activities.

To be effective, SSPs also have to integrate with other platforms. This can be any number of things like an ad server, ad exchange, DSP, or DMP. Being able to integrate with other platforms in the industry is a way to help SSPs maximize their efficiency and profitability.

The third component is an ad exchange. As we said earlier, many SSPs now offer ad exchange functionality. This means publishers can connect directly with advertisers, rather than having to connect with an ad exchange first.

SSPs also come with trackers that track data about a publisher’s website. Once this data is collected, it’s passed along to the user profile database and reporting database. Once received by the reporting database, this data then helps the publisher track campaign analytics.

Features of An SSP

Why use an SSP? If you’re a web publisher, what features can they provide you?

Great question. For starters, you’re going to need to be tracking all of the things we’ve mentioned up until this point. That can be a hassle.

Why look in fifteen different places to track your campaign analytics? An SSP can wrap up all of your analytics and reporting in one neat, clean user interface.

You can also use the tracking data gathered to pull clear, concise reports on how your ad space is performing. Easily view your inventory, fill rates, and impressions all at the click of a button.

Another cool feature of many SSPs is Header Bidding. This enables publishers to get bids from demand sources before their ad server is called.

SSPs can also manage your inventory and campaigns. The platform can manage your different types of media(video, native, display, etc.). Through the SSP, you can whitelist or blacklist advertisers and even block certain advertisers via an IAB.

All of the above features aside, an SSP is valuable for its yield optimization alone. Imagine using a platform that can improve your fill rates, set floor prices, and manage bidding mechanics all in one place. Even if that was the only feature an SSP gave you, it’d still be like fishing with dynamite!

Who Provides SSPs

You might be saying: “Ok. SSPs sound great, but where do I find one?” Well, you have 2 options. You can build a custom SSP for yourself, or you can leverage one of the established names in the SSP industry. 

There can be benefits to building your own, but first, let’s get into what some of the more-established names can provide you:

  • Google Doubleclick Ad Exchange(AdX): A complete ad-revenue engine that seamlessly integrates across all channels
  • PubMatic: Uses a publishers-first approach to offer advertisers premium inventory at scale
  • AppNexus: A veteran in the industry responsible for a robust suite of products recently backed by Comm giant AT&T
  • ONE by AOL: built by AOL veterans, ONE maximizes ad revenue while allowing publishers to minimize sales conflicts
  • OpenX: combines ad server, RTB, and SSP for a true one-stop-shop
  • Seller Cloud by Rubicon Project: Offers publishers’ inventory to a worldwide network of high-quality buyers

How To Shop For The Best SSP

You need to see if the provider’s platform is ready to integrate with new DSPs. If your SSP can integrate with new DSPs as they come, you’ll be able to access the widest range of new advertisers, all while keeping things sustainable and efficient.

Also, ask yourself: how is the platform’s brand safety? As a publisher, you probably have procedures in place to protect your brand. Do a little research on providers you’re considering and see if they fall in-line with your brand safety strategy.

Benefits of A Custom SSP

Foregoing one of the ready-made options will give publishers more control of their data and technology. You may want to look into this if you’re a company with multiple websites.

Using SSP vendors costs money. If you want to save money, customizing your own SSP might be right for you. However, there are still some fees you’ll have to pay. It’s just the nature of the media-buying process.

SSPs are all-in-one suites of software, but they may not be the perfect fit for everyone. Customizing your own SSP will allow you to take control of your product and build out only your necessary features.

The True Power of an SSP

All of the features an SSP can provide you are great. But what makes them really powerful? Their network.

Imagine if you owned a business. You have a friend, let’s call him Chad. Chad is the bee’s knees. Everyone loves him and because of that, he knows thousands (literally thousands) of people that want your product.

Chad is one point of contact with access to thousands of people who want your product. What if you could leverage 100 Chads? In case you haven’t been following, that would be 100 points of contact, who in turn have access to thousands of people that want your product.

I’m no mathematician, but that sounds like hundreds of thousands of leads for your ad space to me.

That’s exactly what an SSP can provide for you. SSPs are connected to at least 100, sometimes more, DSPs. These DSPs, in turn, have access to ad networks with advertisers numbering in the tens of thousands.

Let’s pause briefly while you imagine what that could do for your business!

How Does This All Affect The Humans?

Hmm. Ad space, media-buying, ad inventory. This sounds like an industry that humans used to handle, no? Isn’t this entire process the basis for Mad Men? (we hear it’s a good show)

Yes, you’d be correct. Although, don’t think that just because there are robust technology platforms like SSPs it means that humans have been booted out of the industry.

An SSP is used to sell inventory that couldn’t be sold by an advertising sales team. SSPs are actually an example of technology enhancing human jobs, not stealing them.

SSPs and all of their beautiful automation free up talented advertising sales reps to do what they do best.

Future of SSPs

What does the future hold for SSPs and their providers? Emerging technologies like blockchain and AI will allow SSPs to broaden ad reach, and make processes like header bidding more efficient.

Although SSPs have been around for over ten years, they are still rapidly evolving. They’ll be used to help change the landscape of the internet, and are a tool every publisher should have.

Are You Down With SSP

Are you down with SSP? (Yeah, you know me!). We hope you enjoyed this in-depth look at SSPs and SSP meaning. We hope you see how they can be more than beneficial to your business.

As we said above, SSPs are a tool all publishers should be using in their businesses. All of the functionality they provide can help even the beginner publisher navigate the internet advertising space.

What do you think? Are you going to implement SSPs in your business? Let us know in the comments below. If you have any more questions or topics you’d like to see discussed, we’re all ears.

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