Differences Between DSPs, SSPs, and DMPs

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Programmatic advertising is one of the most important elements of the digital advertising industry. It refers to the automated process of buying and selling ad inventory online. It connects publishers who have ad space and advertisers that want them to promote their business.

In the past, this was a manual process that involved human negotiations. Now it just requires a few seconds to make it real. Multiple ads and channels can be accessed thanks to the different platforms available.If you don’t know any, don’t worry! 

In today’s article we will explore the differences between demand-side platforms (DSPs), supply-side platforms (SSPs), and data management platforms (DMPs). So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let’s get started!


Before we delve into the specifics, let’s clarify the difference between a demand-side platform and a supply-side platform. These two are crucial players in the digital advertising ecosystem, but operate on opposite ends of the spectrum.

You can watch What are DSPs and SSPs? | Differences Explained to learn more about it!

What is a Demand Side Platform (DSP)?

A DSP works as an interface that connects advertisers to the programmatic advertising ecosystem. It’s a software platform that enables them to purchase and manage digital ad inventory across multiple ad exchanges. 

The services this platform can offer to advertisers include the ability to define target audiences, establish advertising budgets, track ad performance and control their appearance frequency.

What is an ad exchange?

Ad exchanges act as marketplaces where publishers sell ad space and advertisers bid on that space in real-time. Essentially, a DSP allows advertisers to reach their target audience by bidding on ad placements in real-time auctions.

How does DSP work?

When a user visits a website or app, the publisher sends a bid request to multiple ad exchanges. This includes information about the user and the ad space available. The DSP then receives this request and evaluates it based on various factors such as user data, targeting parameters, and campaign goals.

If the demand-side platform decides to use the space, it submits a bid to the ad exchange in real-time. The highest bidder wins the auction and their ad gets displayed to the user.

Examples of DSP

Some popular DSPs in the market include Google Marketing Platform, The Trade Desk, MediaMath, and AppNexus. These provide advertisers with sophisticated targeting options, real-time bidding capabilities, and robust analytics to optimize their ad campaigns.

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What is a Supply Side Platform (SSP)?

On the other hand, a supply-side platform is a software that helps publishers manage and sell their ad inventory to potential advertisers. SSPs act as intermediaries between publishers and ad exchanges, allowing these first ones to maximize their revenue by connecting them with relevant advertisers.

How does SSP work?

When a publisher wants to monetize their website or app through advertising, they integrate a SSP into their site. This platform communicates with various ad exchanges and receives bid requests from them. 

It evaluates the bids based on factors like ad quality, relevance, and bid amount. And then selects the highest bid and displays the corresponding ad on the publisher’s website or app. 

It’s important to consider this entire process happens in real-time. So, it allows publishers to generate revenue from their ad inventory!

SSP Examples

Popular SSPs in the industry include Google Ad Manager (formerly known as DoubleClick for Publishers), Rubicon Project, OpenX, and PubMatic. These platforms provide publishers with the tools and technology to effectively manage and monetize their ad inventory.

Some of their services include the ability to automatically sell available ad space to the highest bidder, configure bidding options to optimize revenue and manage ad inventory from a single interface.

What is DMP?

Now that we have covered DSPs and SSPs, let’s talk about another important player in the digital advertising landscape: Data management platforms. Unlike the first two platforms, DMPs focus primarily on data.

A DMP is a software solution that collects, organizes, and analyzes large sets of data from various sources. It enables advertisers and publishers to gain insights of their target audience, create detailed user profiles, and optimize their advertising strategies based on data-driven decisions.


While demand-side platforms and data management platforms might sound similar, they serve different purposes in the advertising ecosystem. DSPs are focused on media buying and ad optimization, whereas DMPs are more concerned with audience data and segmentation.

Actually, DSPs use DMPs to leverage the data collected by DMPs and help make informed decisions about ad placements and targeting.

The image shows a group of people with their laptops working on digital advertisements


In conclusion, DSPs, SSPs, and DMPs play completely different roles in the digital advertising world. Still, they are all tools that can help both advertisers and publishers; either if it’s to gain revenue or promote their business.

To succeed in the digital advertising landscape, it’s crucial you have a comprehensive understanding of these platforms and how they interact with each other.  Just remember, the digital advertising landscape is dynamic and constantly evolving. 

New technologies and platforms can emerge, and existing platforms may undergo transformations. It’s important to stay up to date with the latest trends and developments in order to make the most out of these powerful advertising tools.

So, embrace these platforms, experiment with different strategies, and keep adapting to the ever-changing digital advertising landscape. By doing so, you can enjoy incredible results!

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