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What Is Supply Side Platform (SSP)?

Gone are the days when human salespeople manually negotiated ad placements and prices for digital ads. The landscape has evolved significantly thanks to programmatic advertising. To fully grasp the concept of programmatic advertising, it’s crucial to acquaint oneself with one of its fundamental elements: the Supply Side Platform (SSP). 

This article aims to shed light on the role and significance of SSPs in the programmatic advertising ecosystem. Moreover, we’ll uncover how SSPs work and discover their benefits.

What is Supply Side Platform?

what is supply side platform

A supply-side platform (SSP) is an advertising technology platform that helps publishers manage, sell, and optimize their available advertising inventory. Using a single platform, it allows publishers to send bid requests to multiple demand partners, such as ad networks, exchanges, and demand-side platforms (DSPs). 

By working with SSPs, publishers can diversify their revenue channels and increase their chances of achieving better fill rates and overall yield. SSPs also assist in analyzing and sharing audience insights, such as demographics and interests, making the inventory more valuable to advertisers. In the programmatic ecosystem, SSPs are crucial in facilitating automatic auctions for ad inventory and connecting publishers with multiple ad exchanges and demand partners. Their primary goal is to optimize yield for publishers and provide timely reporting and analytics for effective ad inventory management.

How do Supply Side Platforms work?

Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) facilitate selling a publisher’s advertising inventory through programmatic advertising solutions. Here’s a breakdown of how SSPs work:

how supply side platform works
  1. Publisher Availability: Publishers make their inventory available through the SSPs they choose to work with. This includes details about their ad space, audience, and targeting options.
  2. User Visit: An ad request is triggered when a user lands on a publisher’s website.
  3. Ad Request: The publisher’s SSP sends the ad request to multiple ad exchanges and Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) connected to the SSP. The request includes information about the available ad space and a Deal ID, if applicable.
  4. Buyer Matching: The SSP analyzes the ad request and looks for relevant buyers or deals that match the publisher’s inventory. This involves considering factors such as audience requirements, targeting options, and bid prices.
  5. Auction: In the open auction, DSPs bid on the publisher’s ad unit by submitting their bid price and creative to be delivered. The SSP evaluates the bids based on various factors, including the advertiser’s audience requirements and the highest bid price.
  6. Winner Selection: The ad server determines the winning bid based on predefined rules and selects the highest bidder.
  7. Ad Display: The winning ad creative is sent back to the publisher’s website, displaying it to the user in the designated ad space.

By leveraging programmatic advertising and connecting publishers with ad exchanges and DSPs, SSPs enable publishers to maximize their revenue potential by reaching a wider range of potential buyers and earning competitive rates for their ad inventory.

Benefits of Supply Side Platforms for publishers

However, what specific reasons make Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) a valuable tool for publishers? There are multiple advantages to consider.

1. Optimized yield management

By utilizing SSPs, publishers can streamline the process of selling their ad inventory, eliminating the need for manual negotiations and individual ad placements. This automation saves valuable time and conserves resources that can be better utilized in creating high-quality content and improving the overall user experience. SSPs handle the complexities of ad serving and optimization, allowing publishers to focus on their core competencies while still maximizing their revenue potential. 

2. Automated monetization

With automated monetization through SSPs, publishers can efficiently manage their ad inventory and generate revenue without the hassle of manual processes, ultimately enhancing their productivity and profitability.

By leveraging SSPs, publishers can bid farewell to manual work and embrace a streamlined selling process. Gone are the days of tedious negotiations and manual placements. SSPs empower publishers to sell their ad space to advertisers across various platforms effortlessly, be it desktop or mobile, regardless of the ad format—display, native, video, or otherwise. With SSPs, publishers experience heightened efficiency as they configure their preferences and connect to the programmatic ecosystem.

3. Aggregation of multiple networks

Often, relying on a single ad network or exchange can limit the number of bids and decrease inventory value. SSPs address this issue by connecting publishers to multiple networks, ad exchanges, and demand-side platforms (DSPs). This broad network of connections enables more buyers to participate in real-time bidding, fostering increased competition and ultimately leading to a higher yield for publishers. Instead of committing to a single source, they can mix and match their inventory between auctions on ad exchanges, preferred deals, or private marketplaces. 

This flexibility enables publishers to maximize their yield by leveraging different monetization sources based on their inventory’s specific needs. By tapping into a larger pool of demand partners, SSPs enhance the competition for publishers’ ad inventory, driving up prices and increasing overall revenue. The integration of SSPs with multiple ad exchanges and demand partners further expands the reach of publishers’ inventory, increasing the chances of filling available ad space with relevant and high-paying ads.

4. Brand Safety

SSPs recognize the risks of online advertising and go the extra mile to ensure brand safety. They have dedicated teams and tools in place and even establish partnerships with third parties to protect publishers from potential threats. With SSPs, publishers have the ability to selectively offer their inventory to specific buyers or through trusted channels, enabling better control over the ads displayed on their websites. SSPs incorporate brand safety measures that uphold certain standards, verifying ad content and filtering out inappropriate or malicious ads. SSPs create a secure user environment by prioritizing brand safety, safeguarding publishers’ reputations and enhancing overall trust in the digital advertising ecosystem.

5. Reporting

SSPs are not just about selling ad inventory; they also offer robust reporting capabilities that benefit publishers in multiple ways. With SSPs, publishers gain access to detailed information about the bidding process, including the identity of the advertisers, the prices they pay for the inventory, and the frequency at which their ad space gets filled. This valuable data provides publishers with insights into the value of their inventory for specific advertisers, allowing them to make informed decisions about their monetization strategy. 

Additionally, SSPs offer granular reporting on audience performance and ad placements, enabling publishers to understand the effectiveness of their inventory and make data-driven optimizations. By leveraging SSP reporting tools, publishers can uncover valuable information about their users, identify their most valuable customers, and comprehensively understand their inventory’s performance metrics. 

6. Price floors management

SSPs provide publishers with a powerful tool for price floor management, offering greater control over pricing and revenue optimization. Publishers can establish minimum prices for their ad inventory, ensuring that it is not sold below a specific threshold. This feature enables publishers to protect the value of their inventory and avoid underselling. 

Additionally, some SSPs offer the flexibility to set both hard and soft price floors, allowing publishers to fine-tune their pricing strategy based on specific advertisers or inventory segments. This functionality, combined with the ability to leverage both first-price and second-price auctions, empowers publishers to maximize their ad revenue from each auction, ultimately driving higher overall revenue and ensuring optimal monetization of their valuable ad inventory.

So what about these SSPs?

As you’ve noticed, Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) play a vital role in the programmatic advertising landscape by enabling publishers to efficiently manage, sell, and optimize their ad inventory. By leveraging SSPs, publishers can diversify their revenue channels, automate monetization, and maximize their yield through streamlined processes. 

To unlock the full potential of programmatic advertising and enhance your publishing strategy, it’s crucial to partner with a reliable and experienced team. Contact us today to explore how we can help you achieve your goals in the ever-evolving world of digital advertising.


Bartłomiej Oprządek
Senior Business Development Manager & Team Lead

    Bartłomiej Oprządek

    Bartłomiej Oprządek

    Regional Growth Director

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