If you have ever been lost in terminology and theory while studying affiliate marketing, have you tried to understand what DSP and SSP are? What do affiliate programs have to do with this? In addition, what about IT terms that are so confusing? It is time to figure it out!
A Bit Of History
Let’s travel back in time and look into the origins of modern online marketing. We will find ourselves in 1993 when the advertisement on the site was first sold.
Then, at the very beginning, the affiliate had to directly contact the owner of the website (publisher) and agree on the cost of advertising on a particular spot.
The following years were notable for the rapid development of online marketing. The number of websites and Internet users grew by leaps and bounds. This has made managing the buying and selling of online advertising spaces and the sale of unused advertising spots a complex process.
Such difficulties provoked the creation of a business out of the general chaos, so the world of advertising networks was born in 1998.
What Are Ad Networks?
Ad networks are intermediaries that sell you space on the site.
In fact, they help brands to advertise their offers on a huge number of websites in the most efficient way using just one platform while at the same time allowing publishers to monetize their inventory.
By the end of the 90s, the number of advertising grids exploded in the online market.
Due to intense competition, as well as to stand out from the crowd while maintaining profits, ad networks began to specialize in ad quality and audience.
This inevitably led to network fragmentation. Now, the online space has been so divided that it has become difficult to advertise online effectively.
In 2005, ad exchanges began to emerge to make online marketing more effective by providing a more transparent form of interaction between publishers and advertisers.
Along with this, Demand Side Platforms (DSP) emerged in 2009 to give advertisers more control over the buying process. On the other hand, Supply Side Platforms (SSP) gave publishers more control over their inventory. Let us look at these platforms in more detail.
Traffic Exchanges, DSP, SSP, And RTB
Now, let us put everything in perspective. Generally speaking, traffic exchanges are online digital marketplaces that allow publishers and advertisers to sell and buy ad space. Unlike ad networks that buy entire inventory, exchanges allow you to sell and buy impressions. They also provide the ability to create auctions for each impression.
The most productive way to connect publishers with advertisers who have created exchanges is to connect SSP (Supply Side Platforms) and DSP (Demand Side Platforms). Both platforms have been designed to efficiently trade on exchanges, helping publishers and buyers make the right decisions.
SSPs were created to help publishers manage and sell ad space inventory:
- These platforms provide valuable information to publishers, such as statistics on the time a user spends on a site, the pieces of content a user sees per session, or the percentage of returning users.
- All this information helps to effectively measure traffic monetization.
- SSP is an interface between a publisher and an exchange, through which publishers can make inventory available while optimizing how it is sold.
On the other hand, those who want to buy this inventory use demand-side platforms:
- Similar to SSP, DSP platforms allow users to manage multiple exchanges in one place.
- Because DSPs are linked to multiple exchanges, they allow users to buy traffic from a huge database of websites.
- The number of users covered by the DSP is impressive. This is something unprecedented in the history of online advertising displays.
What’s more, DSPs offer incredibly detailed targeting, such as geography, browser, device and operating system, day parting, demographics (such as gender, age), and more. This is what makes DSPs the most effective in target audience settings.
In addition, most DSPs provide excellent statistics analysis where you can check the performance of your campaign in great detail and in real-time. This means that optimization becomes even more accurate and productive.
Interestingly, ad networks are not separate from exchanges. Indeed, there are cases when networks buy and sell traffic on exchanges, promoting their offers.