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Demand Side Platforms (DSP'S)

What are Demand Side Platforms?

A Demand Side Platform, or DSP, plays a critical role within the world of programmatic advertising and pDOOH. In short, they are a type of advertising technology that allows advertisers to buy ad space based on a set number of ad impressions. They work in conjunction with SSP’s, supply side platforms, and ad exchanges. A seller will put in information such as their available ad formats, audience segments and minimum bid price in the SSP and will then be matched up with the most suitable buyer through the ad exchange which connects to the DSP. 

A DSP works by allowing buyers (whether working for an agency or in-house at a brand) to input the criteria for their campaign. If they win the bid, they will then be assigned suitable space in real-time in a process referred to as real time bidding or RTB. The variables within the DSP will usually include audience insights such as (demographics, attention time and mood), budget and the desired CPM (cost per 1000 impressions). By selecting the variables that are important to their campaign, media buyers can be certain that they will target the right audiences at the right time and receive maximum engagement. 

What does a DSP do?

DSP’s exist across all digital platforms, from mobile ads to display ads, but also play a key role within programmatic digital out of home advertising/transactions. As a critical element within the DOOH Ecosystem that governs the purchasing of advertisement slots, a DSP can be set up and left to optimise campaigns for media buyers and advertisers. 

Programmatic Advertising vs Programmatic DOOH

Programmatic advertising is a term used to describe the use of automation in digital advertising. It incorporates real time bidding (RTB) to allow buyers to bid on relevant advertising space within seconds. Within programmatic DOOH, this process is taken out of the home. Instead of bidding for spots on websites, for example, buyers are bidding for spots on digital billboards and location based screens in shopping malls for example. Through a DSP, they can bid on this space in real-time based on data about ad impressions, which is the number of people walking past the space.

Within pDOOH, there are two types of DSP that are used. A bespoke DOOH DSP is utilised only within the DOOH ecosystem, while an omnichannel DSP can work across multiple digital formats. While bespoke DSP’s tend to be more precisely tailored towards pDOOH, omnichannel DSP’s are flexible and open the marketplace, enabling multichannel campaign deployment and coverage through one tool. 

How does the Demand Side Platform work in pDOOH?

A DSP allows an advertiser to automatically bid on digital billboard ad space that matches data about their target audience, their CPM and other variables. 

When setting up their campaign, the advertiser will also upload their creative to the DSP;  if their offer meets the details set out by the SSP through the ad exchange, then it is sent to the publisher and displayed live. The entire process takes only a few milliseconds. 

Within the online space, data is then collected about how viewers interact with the ad displayed to them. This allows parties on all sides to optimize the bidding process. Historically, no data could be collected about out of home ads. However, new advancements in data analytics technologies have made data collection for DOOH accurate and attainable. One method that is used to collect audience data in digital-out-of-home is by using AI-powered, face analysis software that anonymously analyzes audience volume and composition using cameras. The technology can be used to measure a variety of metrics such as demographics, impressions, attention time and even mood. These insights have made it possible for media buyers to better understand their audience breakdown and how effectively a particular ad space meets them. Sightcorps audience analytics technology works through analysis of facial landmarks, working with complete anonymity and high levels of accuracy. 

What are the main components that make up a DSP?

There a few components that are critical to a demand side platform.

The first is an ad server which is responsible for storing ad creatives and displaying them to users. A reporting database then stores data collected by a campaign tracker (such as ad impressions) and feeds this back to the user through a user interface. While the user interface allows advertisers to create and manage their campaigns, for example, setting up targeting, the profile database stores data about the viewers so as to optimise this process.

In this way, DSP’s serve as a gateway that connects advertisers to the programmatic ecosystem. 

The benefits of audience data and using a DSP for Media Buyers

There are a number of benefits of using a DSP when buying media. 

First and foremost, a demand side platform facilitates and makes use of real-time analytics. Media buyers can bid on ad inventory, using real-time audience data to inform them on who is located around the area of the screen prior to making their bid and ensuring that the ad space meets their audience criteria. DSP’s make this data easily accessible. 

Once the space has been won and the ad plays, proof of play reports (also referred to as POP data) are also made available using face analytics technology, such as DeepSight, which helps to close the loop for media buyers as it shows how many people really saw the ad and the age and gender of the audiences that they reached. Attention-time data and emotion insights are also available using Sightcorps AI technology which makes it a very versatile and data rich solution.

This anonymous data allows buyers to understand how much value a certain platform is really driving, ensures that they get the audiences that they pay for and enables them to better understand their content performance and viewer personas. In this way, a DSP allows advertisers to quickly access transparent information on inventory audiences, save money and stop wasting time by delivering content to unknown audiences that are less likely to convert. 

Lastly, another major benefit of a DSP when buying media is that it allows for global reach. With just a few clicks a media buyer can get access to ad space, or inventory, worldwide and set up campaigns within just a few seconds.