A Brief About Supply Side Platforms

In our previous articles, we learned how a Demand Side Platform (DSP) works. Advertisers or Agencies set up their Campaigns & Creatives in a DSP, to be displayed on a publisher's website. They target their desired audience groups whom they would like to see the ads and then optimize the campaigns to achieve their goals and KPIs.

But, how does their Ad reach a Website or an App?

How do the ad exchanges and networks approach a publisher to deliver the ads?

How does one ad get priority over others competing for the same space?

In this blog, we'll try to answer some of these questions. We will take you, in brief, through the Sell-Side or Supply Side Platform, commonly known as an SSP.

What is an SSP?

A Supply Side Platform is the technology element of the AdTech universe, that faces the publishers ('suppliers' of the inventories) that enables the Web, App, DOOH (Digital out of home), and OTT/CTV media owners, to fill and optimize their advertising inventories or Ad Placements. 

Almost all Publishers today integrate their Ad Server with rented or owned SSPs. They use it to manage their inventory, optimize it, and efficiently connect it to numerous buyers - be it a Direct Advertiser, DSP, Ad Network, or an Exchange. Unlike DSPs (which are designed to buy impressions at the lowest possible price), SSP is used to maximize the rate of impression (eCPM) and thus maximizing revenue for the publisher. Therefore, it is also a yield-optimization platform. This being the ultimate objective, a lot goes behind the scenes to achieve this goal.

To know more about SSPs, we should start by understanding how an SSP helps the publishers in achieving their goals.

1. Fill Rate - Fill Rate is the percentage of Ad Requests answered out of the total number of Ad Requests sent. For example, if a publisher sends out 100 Ad Requests to a Demand Partner (which can be an Ad Exchange, Ad Network, or a DSP) who answers or delivers ads on 70 of those Requests, the publisher achieves a fill rate of 70%. In an ideal scenario, the publisher would want the Fill Rate always to be 100%, thus realizing their true monetization potential.

The Ad Slots or Placements going blank hampers the Publisher's reputation and might affect their future revenue projections. Maintaining a higher Fill Rate can be challenging when you sell your inventory directly to Advertisers. Many factors, including seasonality and trends in advertising, would make it nearly impossible to maintain a steady Fill Rate. As opposed to Direct Sales, an SSP makes sure to maximize the Fill Rate and see that it never goes unsold. Even if no one buys the Placement, most SSPs have a facility to put House ads on the empty slots. 

2. Pricing control - eCPM or Effective Cost per Mille is the monetary value that the publishers derive by showing ads on their inventory. How would Publishers make sure they are not pushed by Advertisers to sell their inventories below a particular price point? By setting a pricing system, i.e., a Floor Price, an SSP tells the potential buyers of the ad spaces that the ad slots are available only over a particular threshold bid (decided by the publisher).

3. Ad Formats - A publisher might want to showcase Display, Video, Native, and other Rich Media Ads. Mixing multiple Ad Formats helps publishers to improve their revenues by keeping the audiences more engaged, thus making the advertisers happy. Creating ad spaces and managing different Ad Formats, managing their price points, and getting advertisers for them, would be challenging for a publisher alone. So, if they choose an SSP that supports all relevant Ad Formats, it will help boost their eCPM.

4. Automated Selling Placement - Apart from the most common Waterfall Model/Daisy-Chain Model, the SSP should also support new and enhanced features like Header Bidding. This helps in reaching the maximum number of buyers and selling the inventory to the highest bidder. 

5. Private MarketPlace (PMP) – What if, for some reason, a publisher doesn't want to put their inventories in an open marketplace for multiple unknown advertisers to bid? In that case, they can set up a deal with a particular buyer with a pre-negotiated price and defined volume of impressions or even first look at their inventory. Read more about PMPs here.

6. Granular Reporting - This is the most crucial part as all the optimization and decisions depend on how actionable the insights are. On analyzing the data and trends, publishers can decide whom to sell their inventory, whom to block, which Placement is the most revenue-generating, what type creatives will fetch the best price - it all depends on the level of granularity in the reports. Due to their sear expanse & reach, most SSPs can fill publishers with loads of data and insights to make informed decisions.

The above factors must be considered while choosing an SSP to manage and monetize your web properties.

Additionally, the most critical factor that would allow the SSPs to cater to the mentioned requirements is 'aggregation and access to multiple sources of Demand Partners.' Better aggregation and access signify a more substantial presence of the SSP in the programmatic universe.

Furthermore, SSPs also allow sharing of the audience data captured on the inventory pages. This data includes (but is not limited to) users' interests, browsing history, demographics, and affinity. These data points together create a goldmine for the advertisers. Publishers can activate this data to enrichment their audience segments. Having these enrichments makes every impression unique and even more valuable. 

For example, a user browsing a publisher's website from a desktop in India might have a different set of advertisers bidding and a different eCPM, compared to someone opening the same website from the USA on an iOS device.

Kritter's Supply-Side Platform

In addition to the benefits of control & convenience, a publisher will agree that owning an SSP also eliminates extra fees and commissions.

Here is what Kritter has to offer, on top of what's already mentioned - 

  • Suitable for Direct Publisher and Exchanges - Kritter's SSP is made so that it can cater to a publisher by connecting with JavaScript, iFrame tags, or via an API and to an Exchange by giving out endpoint URLs. 
  • Complete Ownership - Kritter's SSP equips a Publisher with control over data as well as the technology.
  • Customized Product - Kritter's SSP is packed with features, but it is also open for modifications or customizations that a publisher wants.
  • White-labelling - A Publisher can opt for a White-label solution where, along with the branding, all the Scripts or Tags generated from the system will have publisher's URLs.
  • Support for all Ad Formats - Be it Display, Native, or Video, the platform supports all. Additionally, we are continually adding features to support upcoming ad formats keeping it current for the publishers. 
  • Support for Outstream Videos - It is quite common and rewarding that a publisher without video content wants to run Video Ads. The Outstream video in itself is a product, integrated into the SSP, offering multiple presentations. 
  • Header Bidding – It enhances publisher's abilities by offering all kinds of Ad Formats integrated into a single script.
  • For Apps and Web – A publisher can have multiple properties for Web and App traffic. They can be managed separately through Tags or Scripts or via an SDK.
  • Pass-back and House Ads - If no demand partner fills the ad slot, the publisher will have an option to put their house ad in the system as a fallback. 
  • Flexible Payouts – Publishers can choose between a revenue share or a fixed price model for monetization. Additionally, apart from the regular eCPM model, with Kritter, publishers can also opt-in for a CPC model of billing.

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