What is the Difference Between DSP and SSP?

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What is the Difference Between DSP and SSP?

The demand side platforms and supply side platforms are two different aspects of programmatic advertising. But how are they different? And is it possible to complete the programmatic advertising process in the absence of any one of these? Let’s continue to understand it in detail.


1) Purpose: DSP or Demand side platforms works from the advertisers’ side of the programmatic ecosystem. Advertisers use this platform to access and manage digital ad inventory through multiple ad exchanges. This platform also allows them to serve and track ads, perform real-time bidding, optimize, and utilize wide targets.

In contrast, SSP or Supply side platforms work from the publisher’s end on the programmatic ecosystem. Publishers can use it to place ads before the selected criteria of the target audience. SSP also allows them to manage, optimize, and automate their ad space through a single interface.

2) Customer: The end customer for DSP is the marketers and advertisers. They use this platform to get the most impact and control over their ads. In contrast, the end customer for SSP is the publishers. The main purpose of the publishers is to sell their ad at the highest bid on the demand side.

3) Function: DSP works as a centralized tool for everything from ad-buying, serving, and tracking. It gives them a narrow focus and the ability to optimize different campaigns with ease. On the other hand, SSP is a more encompassing platform. It allows publishers to connect ad inventory to multiple ad networks, ad exchanges, and DSPs all at once.

4) Examples: A few DSP examples include AppNexus, DoubleClick Bid Manager, MediaMath, DataXu, TubeMogul, and many more.

Examples of SSP include Rubicon Project, OpenX, Google Ad Manager, PubMatic, and many more.

How do SSP and DSP work together?

The working of SSP and DSP includes some basic steps:

  1. Providing impressions: When a user visits a website, the publisher uses a Supply-side platform or SSP to transfer the impressions in the Ad exchange.
  2. Analysis: Once the impression is received, DSP jumps in and starts analysis and matching it with its own database.
  3. Bidding: DSP starts the bidding process once the impression matches with the advertisers’ requirements. Hundreds of DSPs make the bid for the given impression at this point.
  4. Making a choice: Once the SSP receives all the requests, it chooses the highest bid price and displays its ad in front of the user.

The whole process may seem lengthy and complicated. But it takes only a fraction of seconds to complete.


Demand side platforms and supply side platforms are two different parts of the digital advertising ecosystem. The functioning of these platforms is different. But together they make the process of advertising more efficient and faster. What are your thoughts on this? Let us know through your comments.

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