Mete Bargmann
Aug 16, 2022

Why SSPs are more valuable than ever

One of the largest independent supply-side platforms argues that as DSPs promote direct path solutions, publishers have an even greater need to rely on sell-side expertise and tools.

Why SSPs are more valuable than ever

Why SSPs are more valuable than ever

The industry has long advocated for a shift towards more direct paths between buyers and sellers to increase efficiency and enable more transparent access to critical data and inventory. Whilst bringing advertisers and publishers closer together through direct path solutions (DSPs) is a positive step in the right direction, the reality is that DSPs alone aren’t the answer as we’ve seen before in the way programmatic has evolved.

If we revisit the early 2000s, programmatic wasn't yet established and display publishers made their money selling ad inventory directly. Monetising and maximising their remnant yield, with little visibility into whether the ad networks bidding for the remaining impressions was the most efficient way for them to make money, was the primary challenge. A decade later, programmatic buying began to take hold and most publishers partnered with an SSP to navigate the rapidly changing environment and maximise their revenues. Programmatic continued to evolve with header bidding, a process that was difficult to manage, but put programmatic on a level playing field and allowed publishers to earn more from their inventory. The once valued one-on-one relationship between buyer and seller grew to become one of many and SSPs took on a role closer to that of an ‘ad exchange’.

That still didn’t solve the issues – header bidding was inefficient and expensive and after a convoluted path littered with inefficiencies and challenges for publishers trying to manage and optimise a growing list of direct connections with buyers, one-on-one publisher and SSP relationships again bloomed, which is where we find ourselves again today. 

The unique value of SSPs in the ecosystem

SSPs today offer a unique value for publishers - something DSPs just can’t match. Holistic yield and inventory management tools across demand sources are critical needs for publishers who want to optimise revenue and user experience across their properties. For instance, it’s becoming increasingly necessary to access data on who is bidding and when. Publishers also want more control of how demand is prioritised within their tech stack. Unless DSPs are willing to invest large amounts of resources into building out a sell-side infrastructure, they won’t be able to deliver the same features and value to publishers as SSPs, and the fees associated with such a system could impact publisher revenue and the amount of buyer budgets going toward media.

It’s also important to remember that a DSP’s primary responsibility is to the buyer, and they will optimise price accordingly on their behalf. SSPs on the other hand seek to maintain price integrity for publishers while helping to achieve a fair market price for buyers - a role that is paramount in this market to protect publisher interests. 

How innovative SSPs improve audience capabilities

An SSP’s position in the ad transaction allows them to provide a comprehensive and transparent view of audiences, managing multiple integrations that efficiently connect addressable inventory with the buy side to assist in maximising publisher revenue.

With the impending deprecation of third-party cookies and continued privacy changes, buyers are looking to publishers to reach their audiences in quality, brand safe environments. Defining and showcasing these audiences is critical. That’s why it becomes even more important to have supply side partners that can guide publishers and operate across the spectrum of addressability – contextual, first party, cohorts, UIDs – and across the media landscape, to help publishers measure, manage and monetise those audiences.

What does the future look like?

With DSPs moving toward direct integrations, exploring alternative paths such as prebid tools that enable wrapper optimisation and A/B testing functionality will become increasingly important for publishers to maintain spend levels. Additionally, with DSPs now acting as bidders within the wrapper, Prebid Server, an open source solution for header bidding, may take on a renewed importance as publishers seek to preserve their page loads and user experience. To do that, publishers will need expertise and tools from their SSPs to power their inventory.

The implementation of direct paths is shining a light on the benefits of working more closely with the supply side to maximise value.  As market demands for increased control and transparency grow, the obvious solutions will be to create direct paths between buyers and sellers where there’s greater accountability, addressability, and efficiency in putting budgets to work.  

SSPs offer these benefits through a range of audience, yield management and holistic reporting tools.  Coupled with sell-side expertise and guidance, these factors are exactly the reason why publishers will need to rely on SSPs more than ever in this emerging DSP direct world.


Mete Bargmann is senior director and business development team lead for APAC at Magnite and has been a member of the IAB India & SEA's CTV & Streaming Council.

 

Source:
Campaign Asia

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