What is an SSP (Supply Side Platform)?

An SSP or “Supply-Side Platform” is a technology platform that publishers and app developers use to manage and sell their advertising inventory across multiple ad exchanges, networks, and demand-side platforms (DSPs).

An SSP allows publishers to

  • connect with multiple buyers,
  • set pricing
  • set availability of ad inventory,
  • and control access to their inventory based on various criteria, such as user data, ad format, and pricing.

In this article, we look at SSPs, what they are, how SSPs differ from DSPs, and the advantages they provide in the ad ecosystem. So, let’s go!

What is an SSP (Supply Side Platform)?

Content producers create text, audio, or video platforms/publications and monetize their platforms by selling subscriptions or displaying ads to their users. If a publisher chooses the advertising route, how will they find advertisers interested in their content, target audience, locations, etc.?

On the other hand, thousands of businesses are interested in displaying ads to users, but only to the right audience, at the right time, location, and the right price!

Instead of searching for advertisers manually and negotiating rates with each advertiser, there is a much more elegant solution in the form of SSPs or Supply Side Platforms.

An SSP, or Supply-Side Platform, enables publishers to sell their digital ad inventory to advertisers through an auction-based system. The SSP can evaluate all the ad spots that a publisher wants to make available, the demand coming from DSPs, data, prices set,

This maximizes revenue for the publisher and ensures that advertisers can access the ad inventory they need to reach their target audience.

SSPs and DSPs working Together. Credit: Nagle, CC BY-SA 4.0

Using an SSP’s auction-based system,

  • publishers can ensure they maximize revenue from their ad inventory, as advertisers are bidding for the available ad space in real-time.
  • publishers can achieve higher CPMs (cost per thousand (mille) impressions) and generate more revenue from their ad inventory.

Without SSPs,

  • advertisers must deal with multiple publishers individually, including price negotiations. This makes campaign management across different channels challenging.
  • publishers would have less visibility into their ad inventory’s performance, making optimizing their pricing and improving their revenue streams difficult.

Difference between an SSP and a DSP

We’ve understood, till now, that an SSP is a platform that a publisher can use to sell their inventory to advertisers and control the process. In contrast, a DSP or Demand Side Platform is a tool that allows advertisers to purchase digital ad impressions across different ad networks, websites (publishers), and other digital media outlets, all through a single interface.

In short, the difference between a DSP and SSP is as follows –

  • DSP lets advertisers purchase digital ad impressions across different ad networks and websites (publishers).
  • SSP lets publishers manage and sell their advertising inventory across multiple ad exchanges and networks.

Next, let’s look at the advantages of using an SSP.

Note: Read more about DSPs here.

Advantages of using an SSP

There are several advantages to using an SSP; let’s look at a few of them in this section. Of course, there are advantages and innovations that each SSP will bring on their platform and we won’t be covering those here.

Related:  What is AVOD and What do I Need To Know To Make It Work?

Access to a high-quality ad inventory

For advertisers, SSPs provide access to a range of high-quality ad inventory that they may not have been able to access otherwise. Advertisers can target specific audiences and bid on ad inventory in real-time, ensuring that they are only paying for impressions that are relevant to their target audience. This makes advertising more efficient and cost-effective, as advertisers are not wasting their ad spend on impressions that are unlikely to convert.

Data and Analytics

SSPs provide publishers and advertisers with real-time data and analytics. This data enables them to optimize their pricing, ad placements, and ad targeting, ensuring they achieve the best possible ROI on their advertising campaigns.

Advertising Controls

Publishers can use SSPs to indicate which advertisers or industries they want to work with by specifying the IAB guidelines and taxonomies on the SSP. For example, here is a list of categories from InMobi’s website. Apart from indicating the advertising category, publishers can also dictate the types of ads that they will allow on their platforms.

Pricing & Frequency Controls

Publishers also have the option to set price floors (i.e., a minimum price) for advertising campaigns. This allows them to maximize their real estate and make the most out of their platform. In addition, they can also specify how often a particular ad is shown to their users (frequency capping) to improve the user experience while making money.

SSP or Supply Side Platform
Advertising is pivotal for the media industry. Credit: David Geib on Pexels.com

Examples of SSPs

Here are a few commercial SSPs you can use to monetize your publications. They provide publishers with an efficient way to monetize their ad inventory across multiple channels. They use real-time bidding and advanced targeting capabilities to help publishers achieve the highest possible CPMs while providing advertisers access to high-quality ad inventory.

  1. Google Ad Manager
  2. Magnite
  3. OpenX
  4. PubMatic
  5. Xandr


Overall, SSPs play a critical role in the advertising ecosystem by allowing publishers to monetize their ad inventory and enabling advertisers to access high-quality ad space. Without SSPs, publishers would struggle to monetize their ad inventory, and advertisers would find it difficult to access the ad space they need to reach their target audience.

SSPs have transformed the advertising industry by making it more efficient, transparent, and data-driven, enabling publishers and advertisers to achieve their marketing goals more effectively.

If you are interested in learning more about adtech, please check out OTTVerse’s adtech tutorials.

krishna rao vijayanagar
Krishna Rao Vijayanagar

Krishna Rao Vijayanagar, Ph.D., is the Editor-in-Chief of OTTVerse, a news portal covering tech and business news in the OTT industry.

With extensive experience in video encoding, streaming, analytics, monetization, end-to-end streaming, and more, Krishna has held multiple leadership roles in R&D, Engineering, and Product at companies such as Harmonic Inc., MediaMelon, and Airtel Digital. Krishna has published numerous articles and research papers and speaks at industry events to share his insights and perspectives on the fundamentals and the future of OTT streaming.

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