DSP vs SSP in Digital Advertising: Understanding the Key Difference

DSP vs SSP in Digital Advertising: Understanding the Key Differences

Reading Time: 8 minutes

Understanding DSPs (Demand-Side Platforms) and SSPs (Supply-Side Platforms) is key in the world of ‘DSP vs SSP’ in digital advertising. If you’re just starting out, these terms might seem confusing. This article will make it easy for you to understand how DSPs and SSPs work. Knowing this can help you sell more products and grow your business.

In the realm of programmatic advertising, the Flying V group has played a pivotal role in facilitating client acquisition for leading companies such as Vasco Assets and Tr3yon Exotics. Armed with this knowledge, you can enhance your ability to promote products effectively and propel the growth of your business.

DSP vs SSP: What is the difference? 

A Demand Side Platform (DSP) empowers advertisers to purchase ad impressions from various publishers’ websites in the most efficient and targeted manner. 

On the other hand, a supply-side platform (SSP) enables publishers to offer their ad inventory to a diverse pool of advertisers, ensuring that they achieve the highest possible price for their ad spaces. 

This dynamic creates a balanced digital advertising marketplace, where both advertisers and publishers can maximize their value and reach.



What is a Demand Side Platform (DSP)?

A Demand Side Platform (DSP) is a tool used by advertisers to automate the purchasing of online ad spaces across a wide range of websites and digital platforms. The essence of a DSP is to streamline and optimize the ad buying process, making it more efficient, targeted, and cost-effective.

How Does a DSP Work?

  • Setting Up Your Ads: Think of a DSP (Demand-Side Platform) like a smart tool that helps you place your ads on the internet. First, you tell the DSP who you want to see your ads. You can choose people based on things like age, interests, where they live, or what they do online.
  • Finding the Right Spot for Your Ad: The DSP then goes to work to find the best places for your ads. It looks at different websites and online spaces and bids to place your ad there. This happens super quickly – in just fractions of a second!
  • Real-Time Bidding: This part is like an auction happening at lightning speed. When someone visits a website, the DSP decides if this person fits who you want to see your ad. If they do, the DSP bids against other advertisers to get your ad shown. The highest bid usually wins, and that’s where your ad appears.
  • Making Your Ads Better Over Time: The DSP keeps learning from how your ads do. It gathers data on which ads get clicked on more or which kind of people are most interested. You can use this info to make your future ads better – like changing who sees them or how much you spend on each ad.
  • Tracking How Well Your Ads Are Doing: Lastly, the DSP gives you reports. These tell you things like which of your ads are doing well, who’s clicking on them, and how they’re helping your business. This way, you can see what’s working and what’s not, helping you make smarter decisions about your ads.

What is a Supply Side Platform (SSP)?

Think of a Supply Side Platform (SSP) as a tool used by website owners, bloggers, or app developers who want to make money by showing ads on their sites or apps. It’s like a high-tech sales assistant that helps these publishers find the best advertisers to buy their ad space.

How Does SSP Work?

How Does SSP Advertising Work?


To understand how an SSP works, let’s break it down into simpler steps:

  • Putting Up Ad Space for Sale: Imagine you own a website and want to show ads on it. You would use an SSP to list the spaces on your website where ads can appear, like the top of the page or in between articles.
  • Connecting with Buyers: Your SSP talks to different ad buying systems (like those used by companies who want to advertise their products). This connection helps your ad spaces get noticed by a lot of potential buyers.
  • Selling Ads in Real-Time: When someone visits your website, the SSP quickly decides which ad to show. It does this through a process called Real-Time Bidding. Different advertisers automatically bid for your ad space, and the highest bidder gets to show their ad to your website visitor.
  • Getting the Best Price: The SSP’s job is ensuring you get the most money possible for your ad space. It uses special technology to understand the most valuable ads and sets prices accordingly.
  • Tracking and Improving: The SSP also tracks how ads on your site are doing. It tells you which ads are making the most money and which ones are less popular. This information helps you decide which ads to show in the future.

What is a Data Management Platform (DMP)?

A Data Management Platform (DMP) is a centralized system used in digital marketing to collect, organize, and manage large sets of data from various sources. 

It plays a crucial role in helping marketers, advertisers, and publishers understand and utilize big data to enhance their advertising strategies and audience targeting.

Here’s a simpler explanation of what it does:

  • Collecting Information: A DMP gathers data from different places. This includes information you already have about your customers (like what they buy from you), details shared by other companies you might partner with, and general data available for purchase, like trends in what people are watching or buying online.
  • Organizing Data: It’s like sorting a big pile of puzzle pieces. The DMP organizes all the data it collects into neat groups based on things like age, interests, where people live, or what they like to do online.
  • Understanding Your Audience: The DMP helps you understand different groups of people who might buy your product. For example, it can tell you things like “people aged 20-30 who like sports are most interested in your product.”
  • Working with Ad Tools: The DMP connects with tools you use to put ads online. This connection lets you use all the organized information to show your ads to the right people, in the right places, at the right time.

Integration with DSP and SSP: DMPs tie closely with Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs) and Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs). 

A DSP allows marketers to buy ad inventories automatically using the insights gained from the DMP, ensuring ads reach the right audience. 

SSPs, on the other hand, enable publishers to sell ad space in a way that maximizes revenue. They use data from DMPs to identify the most valuable audience segments, attracting higher bids from advertisers using DSPs. This synergy creates a more efficient and effective digital advertising ecosystem.

How do SSPs, DSPs, and DMPs Work Together in the Programmatic Ecosystem?

In the programmatic advertising ecosystem, SSPs (Supply-Side Platforms), DSPs (Demand-Side Platforms), and DMPs (Data Management Platforms) work together in a highly interconnected and complementary manner. Let’s break down their roles with an example to illustrate how they interact:

How do SSPs, DSPs, and DMPs Work Together


Example Scenario: Selling and Advertising a New Coffee Brand

Imagine you’ve launched a new coffee brand, “Morning Brew,” and want to advertise it online. At the same time, there’s an online lifestyle magazine, “Urban Pulse,” looking to sell ad space on its website.

Step 1: Gathering and Organizing Data (DMP)

Your Side (Advertiser using a DSP): You use a DMP to understand your target audience for “Morning Brew.” The DMP collects data about coffee lovers – their age range, preferences for organic products, browsing habits, and favorite websites. This data is organized into segments, e.g., “Eco-Friendly Young Adults” or “Busy Professionals.”

Publisher’s Side (Using an SSP): “Urban Pulse” uses a DMP to analyze their website visitors’ data and understand the most prevalent audience segments, such as “Health-Conscious Readers” or “Urban Lifestyle Enthusiasts.”

Step 2: Selling and Buying Ad Space

Publisher’s Side (SSP): “Urban Pulse” uses an SSP to automate the selling of its ad space. The SSP lists available ad spaces on ad exchanges, setting minimum prices and defining the types of ads they want to display.

Your Side (DSP): You use a DSP to find the best places to advertise “Morning Brew.” Your DSP scans various ad exchanges, looking for ad spaces that match the audience segments identified by your DMP. The DSP finds that “Urban Pulse” has ad spaces that align well with your target audience.

Step 3: Real-Time Bidding and Ad Placement

A Match is Made: When a user from your target segment visits “Urban Pulse,” the SSP sends a request to the ad exchange to fill the ad space. Your DSP, recognizing the user as part of your target audience, bids for the ad space in real-time.

Winning the Bid: If your DSP’s bid is the highest, “Morning Brew’s” ad is displayed to the user on “Urban Pulse.” This entire process happens in milliseconds.

Step 4: Performance Analysis and Optimization

Post-Ad Analysis: After your ad campaign runs for a while, both the DSP and SSP provide performance data. You analyze which ads performed best and which audience segments were most responsive.

Optimization: Based on this data, you can refine your future ad campaigns using the DMP to target even more specific segments, or perhaps adjust your bidding strategy in the DSP to get better value for money.


In this example:

  • The DMP helped both the advertiser and the publisher understand their audiences and optimize their strategies.
  • The DSP allowed you, the advertiser, to efficiently purchase ad space that targeted your ideal customers.
  • The SSP enabled “Urban Pulse” to sell its ad space at the best possible price and to the most relevant advertisers.

This synergy between SSPs, DSPs, and DMPs ensures that advertisers reach their ideal audience effectively, while publishers maximize the revenue from their ad spaces, creating a win-win situation in the programmatic ecosystem.

Conclusion: Navigating DSP and SSP Complexities with Flying V Group

Navigating the DSP and SSP landscape can be overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to grow your business. Understanding these platforms is crucial, but it’s easy to get lost in their complexities. 

That’s where Flying V Group steps in. Specializing in contextually relevant programmatic advertising, they simplify the process, making sure your ads hit the mark every time. 

By partnering with Flying V Group, you’re not just placing ads; you’re making every ad count, ensuring impactful visibility and growth for your brand.


DSP vs SSP: What is Better?

Neither DSP (Demand-Side Platform) nor SSP (Supply-Side Platform) is inherently better; they serve different purposes. DSPs are used by advertisers to buy ad space efficiently, while SSPs help publishers sell their ad space. The choice depends on whether you’re looking to advertise (use a DSP) or monetize your website/app (use an SSP).

Is Google a DSP or SSP?

Google operates both as a DSP and an SSP. Google’s DSP is known as Google Ads (formerly AdWords), allowing advertisers to buy ad space. Google Ad Manager (formerly DoubleClick) functions as an SSP, helping publishers sell their ad space.

Is Amazon a DSP or SSP?

Amazon operates a Demand-Side Platform known as Amazon DSP. It allows advertisers to buy ad placements both on Amazon’s platforms and across the web. Amazon does not operate as an SSP.

What is the Difference Between DSP and DMP?

A DSP (Demand-Side Platform) is used for buying ad space efficiently, while a DMP (Data Management Platform) collects and manages data for audience targeting. DMPs help advertisers understand and segment their audiences, which can be used in conjunction with a DSP for more targeted advertising.

What are the Two Types of DSP?

There are primarily two types of DSPs: Self-serve DSPs, where advertisers directly manage their campaigns, and Full-service DSPs, where an agency or the DSP’s team manages campaigns on behalf of the advertiser. The choice depends on the advertiser’s expertise and resources.

You may also like


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *