A Definitive Guide to Demand-Side Platform

From ad tech vendors and media buying experts to big companies like Amazon, Walmart, Adweek – nearly everyone creates and uses DSP platforms. In this article we’ll have a look at the basics of what a DSP platform is and why use it.

What is a DSP?

DSP stands for demand-side platform. It’s a piece of software used for purchasing advertising automatically. It often provides accesses to data from multiple sources and analytics to place bids accordingly. It’s used by advertisers and agencies to help them buy and display ads.

How does DSP work?

Shortly said, a DSP automates decisions, bids, and purchases of ads in real time, while a user’s requested page loads. It targets specific users based on their location and previous browsing behaviour. 

What features does a DSP have?

From one DSP to another the set of features may vary, however there are general features, most of them provide:

# Filters and targeting settings

There are multiple settings that can ensure you set up your campaigns precisely and don’t waste your advertising budget on irrelevant impressions. Targeting opportunities can include geo, language, device, keywords, domain, blacklists, hyper local, hardware and system, proprietary targeting indexes, and so many more.

# Uploading creatives

Depending on a specific DSP, you can upload a creative (text, image, video, and so on) as a file or add it by the URL. Once creatives are uploaded, the DSP searches through its’ network of publishers for sites and apps that fit the advertiser’s criteria.

# Setting up campaign pricing

It’s easy to manage budgets within the DSP. It won’t buy ad impressions for a bigger price than the one you have put in there. Sometimes DSP provides an algorithm helping you to calculate and plan the budget for your next campaign before you set everything up.

# Frequency capping

This feature lets you manage the frequency – basically the number of times – a specific visitor to a website is shown a particular ads. There are variations how you can set up frequency capping depending on the campaign type. For instance, you can set a limit for the number of impressions of ads for one user per day, week, month, and so on. Or you tight the number of impressions to the campaign, ad group, or ad.

# Analytics based on wide metrics selection

Normally a DSP provides reporting and analytics showing performance of every campaign. Depending on DSP type – for instance whether it’s a full-managed or self-serving model – you can either access reports only in a view mode, often when ad campaign ends, – or track the analytics on the go and tune settings. Plus, some DSPs are integrated with DMPs (Data Management Platforms), where they get data about users. The bigger the DMP, the more options the DSP provides in terms of analytics.

Why use a DSP?

DSPs have their own benefits and drawbacks. You can read more about them in this article. Besides, DSPs give their users the following possibilities:

Consolidation of media buys

DSP lets you put together various traffic sources and manage them from a single dashboard.


With DSP, there is no need to do everyday optimization as the platform defines the best-performing traffic sources and gives them a higher priority.


DSP platforms allow you to buy impressions on platforms with high-quality audiences, so you won’t overpay for empty or bot traffic. 


With a DSP you can understand how your ads are performing on different websites and different spaces within the website, precise and simultaneously.

Global reach and integration

Almost all DSPs give access to a range of inventory worldwide on desktop and mobile and allow media buying in multiple currencies.

Effective targeting

Through a DSP you can make the ad as relevant as possible to the viewers.

Reporting and analytics

A DSP provides you with valuable information that allows you to keep track of your ad activities 24/7, as well as keep your marketing budget under control.

Closing thoughts

Choosing the right demand-side platform is key to managing your ad campaigns effectively and competing on the highest level. If you know how a demand-side platform can help you adjust and manage your programmatic media buying campaign, it’ll allow you to choose the one that has all the features you need.

Exploring demand-side platform options? Take a look at Markpoint DSP, it’s new self-serve RTB media buying platform. Drop us a line to learn more and book a demogive a try with Markpoint DSP.

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