Are you a publisher in search of a supply-side platform (SSP)? If you are struggling with this process, you’re not alone. The programmatic marketing space has grown more complex, and there are an unprecedented number of platforms to choose from. These two factors alone make this decision challenging.
So how do you find the best SSP? These tips are designed to help you make the best choice.
Know How the Process Works
When you first begin your search for a supply-side platform, you will notice just how complicated SSP advertising can be. Don’t be discouraged. Once you overcome the initial learning curve, you will find that this approach is much easier than managing advertiser relationships manually.
Here’s a very brief overview — there are two key components to understand. First, there’s the demand-side platform (DSP). This platform is what advertisers use to access sellers like you. Then, there’s the SSP which is what publishers use to find sellers willing to offer the highest prices and most relevant ads.
When a user arrives on your website, there is a complex but virtually instantaneous process that happens.
Your SSP makes an ad request to the DSPs and ad exchanges it is connected with. The DSPs submit bids to display their ad on your site. Your SSP identifies who has the best bid and has the right audience parameters. That’s the ad that is displayed on your website.
Keep in mind that this entire process unfolds programmatically. The right ad is displayed when the page loads for each visitor.
Understand the Challenges You Might Face
No two experiences with sourcing an SSP are the same. However, many publishers have navigated this process before you. Here are some of the most common roadblocks that they face:
- Knowledge gaps
- Implementing and managing the solution
- Challenges with account setup
- Managing and negotiating deals
These challenges can be mitigated or made worse, depending on your current level of experience with website monetization.
Look for an SSP with Many Different Ad Formats
There is a large selection of programmatic ad formats available to publishers. However, this doesn’t mean that every SSP supports them. As you are evaluating your choices, this should be one of your first considerations.
Supply-side platforms will offer some combination of:
- Digital Out-of-Home
- Over-the-Top (OTT)
You’ll want to make sure that their options work for you and that they aren’t focused on ad types that aren’t relevant to you.
A Good SSP Will Have Multiple Demand Sources
You don’t want to limit yourself to just one demand-side platform (DSP), advertising network, or ad exchange. To be profitable, you want to sell your available ad inventory at a price point that works for you. You also want to benefit from the competition that happens when you have as many buyers as possible competing for your available ad space.
The SSP Should Be User-Friendly
It’s common for many supply-side platforms to leave tasks such as ad optimizations and management up to you. In addition to this, interfaces aren’t often designed with the needs of the publisher in mind. This setup can leave you struggling to gain the insights you need to make the best decisions.
If you are entirely inexperienced, you can look for a platform that will handle most of these tasks without your intervention. Otherwise, you will need to prioritize options that are easy for you to use.
An SSP Should Have a Good Technology Stack
Does the SSP have the technology stack to deliver the results you want? If you are like most publishers, you want to be able to work with several demand sources. That’s resource-intensive. Don’t move forward with any plans to work with an SSP until you are sure they are using the latest technologies.
Availability of Support Is Key
The process of monetizing your website is challenging. There’s a lot of potential for frustration, and that multiplies without adequate support.
Ask potential supply-side platforms about the support they offer. Ideally, it will go beyond basic troubleshooting and problem resolution. You may find that you need onboarding assistance and access to helpful resources.
Data Transparency to Eliminate Unpleasant Surprises
You want to see how your ads are performing. How do you do that? A reputable SSP will have tools and reporting in place to make it easy for you to get this information. Be wary of any platform that seems to make this more challenging than necessary.