Worldwide Reach at Your Fingertips: The DSP in Programmatic Advertising 

Media buys are great ways for brands to reach the right audiences quickly and at affordable prices. Unfortunately, searching for publishers, requesting ad space, negotiating an agreement, and following through with the transaction can be time-consuming. 

That’s where programmatic advertising can help. This technology allows advertisers to advertise almost instantaneously on many platforms. If interested, digital marketers must learn how to use a demand-side platform (DSP) to start and manage media buying campaigns. 

What Is a DSP? 

A DSP is software that allows advertisers to purchase ad space. With just one DSP account, advertisers can locate, bid on, place, track, and manage entire paid advertising campaigns. The DSP aims to automate the media buying process from start to finish. 

How Does a DSP Work? 

DSPs reach publishers by integrating with ad exchanges, further catalyzing ad placement. There is a series of steps that advertisers must follow to launch a campaign, such as uploading creatives, declaring bids, and setting targeting parameters. The software will automatically search for placements that satisfy user criteria, complete the bid, transfer the placement, and submit the payment. This intricate process occurs within milliseconds. 

Advertisers can purchase ad space for such places as: 

  • Banner ads on websites for display advertising 
  • Banner ads on search engines 
  • Mobile ads on the web 
  • Mobile ads within apps 
  • Video ads within streaming services, such as YouTube 
  • Video ads on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, among others 

Thanks to programmatic advertising, small advertisers can compete with larger ones for market share by mastering the DSP. Likewise, larger advertisers can use the platform to scale indefinitely. 

Example DSPs 

Many DSPs populate the digital marketplace, including Google, Adobe, Yahoo, and more, allowing advertisers to succeed in electronic media buying. 

J&L Marketing partners with Amazon DSP for building and launching programmatic advertising campaigns. The Amazon DSP offers programmatic advertising services for brands wishing to reach new and existing audiences virtually anywhere. 

Some of its distinct advantages include: 

  • Extensive Targeting Capabilities: The Amazon DSP has many targeting features at your disposal. Enjoy precision targeting for such parameters as ZIP code, ad frequency for unique visitors, A/B split testing, and more. 
  • Dynamic Advertising: The DSP can determine the best placements for your ads and move them accordingly. Doing so can increase the number of impressions and, subsequently, improve the impact of your campaign. 
  • Hyper-focused Custom Audiences: Allows users to build audiences that target specific customers based on desired criteria. Example considerations could be based on the date of last purchase, last purchased item, or if an item was purchased from a competitor. 

Why Should You Use a DSP? 

Advertisers looking to get into programmatic advertising should consider using a DSP, either exclusively or in addition to traditional platforms such as Google Ads or Facebook’s Meta Ads. Utilizing a DSP bestows the following advantages: 

  • Saves time: Reduces the time and effort needed to find publishers, create accounts, upload creatives, set up campaigns, and learn new platforms. 
  • Saves money: Bid only on placements that you want and on the budget that you choose. 
  • No need to contact each publisher: The publishers meet in the ad exchange marketplaces, removing the need for advertisers to search for them. 
  • Real-time campaign management: See campaign progress in real-time without the hassle of waiting. 
  • Infinite scalability: Purchase ad placements from as many publishers as your budget allows. 
  • Unlimited reach: Reach audiences from anywhere in the world on any device, based on inventory and audiences available. 
  • Track ads: Never lose track of advertisements or campaigns, thanks to the reliable DSP dashboard. 
  • Access to first- and third-party data: Some publishers work with third-party data brokers, which gives advertisers additional access to information that can empower campaigns. 
  • Optimize from one interface: View and analyze the collected data from a single account rather than logging into multiple ones. 

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, DSPs also feature advanced audience targeting, real-time updates, and fraud prevention. 

What Is an Ad Exchange? 

An ad exchange is a marketplace where publishers and advertisers come together to make transactions. The publishers can use their server-side platforms (SSPs) to sell in the ad exchange, while the DSP can purchase ad space. The biggest benefit is that everything is done almost instantaneously without the involvement of humans. The ad exchange should already be plugged into the DSP, so there is no need to manually invoke or inquire about it. 

DSP vs. SSP 

Although a DSP and SSP serve similar functions, they are different in many other aspects. The DSP is the software that advertisers use to purchase ad placements, while the SSP is the counterpart that allows publishers to sell their ad inventory. As such, the SSP has different features that help publishers succeed, such as minimum bid requirements. Both DSPs and SSPs work together with different ad exchanges. 

Which DSP Is Right for You? 

When it comes to DSPs, there is no “one-size-fits-all.” Each DSP has its own set of functions, tools, and features that different advertisers may find useful. Below are things to consider when shopping around for a DSP: 

  • Type of data (first- or third-party): First-party data is valuable, but some DSPs offer access to third-party data, which may bolster advertising efforts. 
  • Number of ad exchanges available: The more ad exchanges a DSP works with, the more opportunities advertisers have to reach potential customers. 
  • Pricing model: Choose the pricing type that works best for your advertising strategy. Possible options include CPC, CPM, eCPM, CPD, and RPM. 
  • Learning curve: Some DSPs will be easier to use than others. How much training will you need to learn how to navigate the software? 
  • Customer support: How easy is it to get in touch with customer support? Some DSPs may respond in minutes, while others may take days. A few may have AI chatbots that keep everything moving smoothly. 
  • Ease of use: How easy is it to start a campaign and run it? What if you needed to make changes to them? Is there an approval process? 
  • Self-service versus full-service: If you enjoy controlling all aspects of your programmatic advertising campaign, then self-service is your best choice. Those who prefer the “hands-free” approach can choose to hire dedicated staff to keep things in operation. 
  • Possible fees: Look through the fine print to find fees charged by the DSP. The fine print will reveal any hidden surcharges that arise from using or interacting with certain aspects of the software. 
  • Length of contract: Some DSPs require commitments ranging from a month to a year. 
  • Types of media allowed: The DSP may allow only certain creatives, such as images, text, or videos. Others may offer the ability to work with rich media ads or animations. 

It may take a long while to research and try out different DSPs, but it is well worth the effort. Once you find a decent DSP, you will have all the tools necessary to run successful programmatic advertising campaigns. 

How To Use a DSP 

While each DSP differs, the general rule of thumb is to open an account at the desired DSP. Here are basic instructions to get started: 

  1. Create an account 
  1. Link your payment method 
  1. Create a campaign 
  1. Upload creative 
  1. Set parameters 

Now comes the hard part: the parameters. Here’s a closer look at what some of them are. 

Allocating a Budget 

DSPs require money to purchase ad space and some DSPs require a minimum daily spend. Decide on your advertising budget, input the values, and load your account with the funds. In general, spending more money means gaining access to more data. 

Targeting an Audience Within the DSP 

Audience targeting is by far one of the most valuable features of programmatic advertising. This is the best opportunity to hone in on the exact audiences that will net the best return on ad spend (ROAS). Parameters for audience targeting within the DSP include: 

  • Lookalike or Similar Audiences 
  • Retargeting 
  • Audience Segmentation 
  • Interests and Behaviors 
  • Contextual Targeting 
  • Geolocation 
  • Demographics 

These are possible audience-targeting options that a DSP may offer. Each DSP will have different parameters available, so take the time to learn about each one and side with the DSP that provides the most value for your campaigns. Additionally, they may use name variations. 

Who Should You Target? 

To get the best ROAS and to reach your marketing goals, it’s important to target correctly. Regarding programmatic advertising, it is possible to target specific audiences through ad placements or the type of content being shown. Let’s illustrate it with an example: 

A brand wants to sell a service for a Honda store. The best way to accomplish this is to focus on serving ads to users who own Honda vehicles, with respect to placement on websites, apps, or streaming services. The overarching factor here is Honda car ownership. 

Fully Automate Media Buying With a DSP and J&L Marketing 

For digital marketers, a DSP is an impactful tool in media buying campaigns. Remember to choose a formidable DSP, generate mesmerizing creatives, target a receptive audience, bid systematically, and optimize regularly. In time, you can create successful programmatic advertising campaigns. 

J&L Marketing has been serving clients since 1991, with the number of satisfied customers growing daily. Our firm can handle every aspect of your programmatic advertising campaign, ensuring it performs at the highest level. Contact our team for a free consultation on your current or upcoming programmatic advertising campaign and amplify performance today. 

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