Two halves of the same coin? Not quite. The difference between a DSP and an Ad Exchange

The digital advertising ecosystem is complex to say the least. There are multiple avenues that connect advertisers to publishers so each party can achieve their goals. Programmatic technologies like Demand Side Platform’s (DSP) or Ad Exchanges allow advertisers to use real-time bidding to distribute advertisements online. The small differences are important to understand so you can make the right decision for your advertising strategy.

What’s an Ad Exchange?

An Ad Exchange is a technology platform that works with publishers and ad networks and purchases their impressions to then sell them to advertisers programmatically. Advertising exchanges are part of the real-time bidding process and connect to DSP’s and SSP’s to facilitate the purchase and sale of impressions. Advertisers can purchase directly from an ad exchange.

What is a Demand Side Platform (DSP)?

A demand-side platform helps marketers purchase advertising or other media using automation to drive better and more efficient results. Demand Side Platforms (DSP’s) emerged so advertisers could manage, purchase and optimize programmatic inventory from multiple ad exchanges or SSPs through a single interface. DSP’s allow advertisers to purchase inventory through real-time bidding or programmatic direct.

What’s the takeaway?

We are firm believers that technology creates efficiencies for advertisers and publishers alike. Each advertisers needs to understand what their needs are and how to communicate with their target market. A DSP incorporates automation using machine learning into the media buying process, giving advertisers access to more sophisticated targeting tools, data and analytics to improve campaign performance and consolidate purchasing needs in one platform. If you find yourself purchasing from more than one ad exchange, or facilitating programmatic direct deals as well as ad exchange purchases, it might be a good time for you to consider a demand side platform like ours.

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