What is a Supply Side Platform?

Written by Ben Morrisroe

14 Sep, 2020

What is an SSP?

A supply side platform (SSP) helps digital media owners and publishers sell digital ads in automated auctions.

It is a technology platform used to coordinate and manage the supply and distribution of ad inventories.

The purpose of SSPs is to efficiently improve the yield optimisation of advertising space inventory on websites and mobile apps to minimise wasted space and maximise views.

To define what is an SSP is, one must understand how ad tech, the ad exchange and how platforms play in completing fill rates from a demand side platform to a publisher’s website.

How Does the Supply Side Platform Work?

 Traditionally, publishers manually assigned ads to spaces. However, due to the large audiences and rising number of digital marketers all competing for the same ad space, manual placement is no longer efficient.

Now, supply side platforms work with similar technology and together with demand side platforms (DSPs) to evaluate advertisers, take stock of publishers’ total inventory, set the bidding range, and then make recommendations for the best match for each space. SSPs allows publisher to filter ads by the advertiser and other criteria, as well as set different rates for ad spaces to define the cost.

The process takes place in multiple micro-transactions across the digital advertising supply chain. The SSP can make the inventory available to buyers directly or via ad exchanges, demand-side platforms, and agencies. 

  1. SSPs can send available ad impressions to as many potential buyers as possible. The main goal is to sell all the inventory at the best price.
  2. The SSP automatically evaluates requirements matching the right bid with the right inventory, and finally sending a request to the ad server.
  3. It will hold the publisher’s inventory. Once agreed upon, the publisher will submit a webpage as the source for an ad.
  4. Once agreed upon, they will put a pixel code on their page to track visitor behaviour. The code delivers anonymous data about visitors and the actions that they take. It is programmed to maximise the value that publishers receive from an impression of an ad.

What is the Difference Between DSP and SSP?

 As mentioned above, supply side platforms (SSPs) are technology platforms that connect directly to digital publishers. dsp refers to the demand side platform. It allows the buyers of digital ad inventories to manage multiple ad exchanges via one interface.

The buyers commonly include trading desks, agencies, or advertisers directly. The demand side platform must plug into an SSP to enable the buyer to bid on digital inventory.

The main difference is that SSPs are used by online publishers to automate the sale of advertising space which is the demand or supply side of the platform.

How do SSPs Help Publishers?

The supply side platform will help open advertising inventory for bidding to multiple ad buyers on various ad exchanges and networks and demand-side platforms.

SSPs help you establish a connection with a larger number of advertisers and manage the complexity of working with multiple ad networks or ad exchanges at once.

Additionally, a good supply side platform should be making your inventory available to a wide variety of buyers in the market for the maximum price. Your daily goal would be to sell all for the highest price.

Working with a high-quality supply side platform guarantees a win for your business because multiple high-quality demand sources ensure inventory is sold at the highest price.

What are the Main Features and Components of an SSP?

Granular Reporting: Reporting and data analysis is extremely important for a successful business to understand what is working well, and what is not. To maximise your profits, you need to know how much you are earning from your inventory and its value.

A good supply side platform will provide you with an in-depth reporting system. This will help you make the right decision for how best to sell your inventory or how to optimise your yield.

Dynamic Price Floor: An exceptional SSP should give you the ability to set soft & hard price floors at a minimum cpm. This flexibility will allow you to maximise your revenue.

Simple & Transparent: The programmatic landscape is quite complex, although its purpose is to simplify the advertising process. A supply-side platform should be simple to use, easy to integrate and provide all data to analyse your performance.

What are the Main SSP Companies in the Programmatic Ecosystem?

SSPs are one of the leading players in the online advertising ecosystem and play a key role in real time bidding (RTB) media transactions. They connect to ad exchanges, ad networks, data-management platforms (DMPs) and demand side platforms (DSPs) to sell ad inventory on behalf of publishers, such as websites and app owners.

Those platforms help publishers manage the complexity and volatility of the programmatic ad-buying process, especially when managing multiple ad networks and their diverse requirements and limitations.

There are many SSP companies. Finding the best one for your specific needs is extremely important to help your business succeed. Below are some of the best, but not exclusive, options amongst key players in the SSP industry:

  • Google Ad Manager: Google Ad Manager (formerly DoubleClick for Publishers), is a comprehensive, Google-hosted ad serving platform that streamlines your ad management.
  • MoPub: MoPub is a Twitter company that provides monetisation solutions for mobile app publishers and developers around the globe. They have a flexible network mediation solution, leading mobile programmatic exchange, and years of expertise in mobile app advertising. Publishers trust them to help maximise their ad revenue and control their user experience
  • AppNexus Marketplace: AppNexus is an American multinational technology company operating a cloud-based software platform that aims to enable and optimise programmatic online advertising. They have an open, transparent marketplace and powerful enterprise technology that helps marketers connect and engage consumers on thousands of high-quality websites and apps. The ads they buy fund award-winning journalism, music, video, and games – all at little or no cost to the consumers who enjoy open access to this premium content
  • BounceX: You can use BounceX to accurately recognise and market to the actual person behind every visit in real-time.
  • Rubicon: Rubicon’s automated advertising platform is used globally by leading applications and publishers to transact with major brands and reaches over one billion consumers.
  • PubMatic: The PubMatic platform empowers independent app developers and publishers to control and maximise their digital advertising businesses. It enables advertisers to drive ROI by reaching and engaging their target audiences in brand-safe, premium environments across ad formats and devices.

By having many SSPs, your business will be able to get insights from all the platforms to get the best deal.

How to Choose the Best Supply Side Platform?

Throughout the years, Publift has worked with many different partners to test their performance and assess their value to publishers. The SSPs that stood out to us as the most consistent performers were Google Ad Manager or adx, Rubicon, & Pubmatic.

Several attributes define a good SSP. When it’s time to choose which to use unless you are an expert, it is beneficial to see what the professionals say:

  • Easy integration. It must have an ad server designed for easy integration of new demand platforms.  Because the demand fluctuates often, and publishers get different offers from different ad networks and ad agencies, it’s essential to keep track of the changes. You want it to search for high-quality demand sources.
  • Real-time. Use a platform that focuses on real-time statics, which means using the granular and updated real-time figures.
  • Simplicity. You don’t want to hire a new developer that takes care of checking and troubleshooting. The publisher should choose one that provides a simple implementation process. However, because it can be challenging to find simplicity in a high-tech environment, we suggest trusting a professional, such as Publift.
  • Comprehensive. You need the option of adding header bidding that integrates with tags. For example, Publift uses Fuse. Fuse is an all-in-one programmatic advertising solution for publishers. It is powered by a single piece of code that brings together all the essential elements needed to maximise programmatic ad revenue on your site.


An excellent supply side platform (SSP) for publishers should be working to keep bad ads off your site and give you the ability to make decisions about what advertisers are allowed or not allowed to do on your website. It also needs to have all the above-mentioned characteristics.

Are you able to find The Perfect SSP that ticks all the necessary boxes? Do you know which partner to trust?

Publift has the experience, knowledge, and connections you need to make your life easier. Reach out to us so we can show you how.

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