What Is A Supply-Side Platform?

Mobile advertising has come a long way since the first banner ad appeared on a mobile phone. Today, ads are one of the most effective ways to reach target users and increase their revenue.

In the world of advertising, a supply-side platform (SSP) is important to the ecosystem. An SSP is a tool that manages its ad inventory and maximizes its revenue from mobile advertising. 

In simple terms, an SSP acts as a middleman between app publishers and ad networks/DSPs. It helps publishers monetize their apps by allowing them to sell ad inventories. Advertisers can then bid on that inventory in real time, and the highest bidder can display the ad.

How does an SSP work?

An SSP integrates with a publisher’s mobile app to manage the ad inventory. If a customer opens an app that has an SSP integration, then the request goes to the ad server from SSP to fill the ad space.

The platform then sends bid requests to multiple DSPs and allows them to bid on their inventory. These networks and DSPs analyze the request and respond with a bid for the ad space.  

The highest bidder wins the auction and serves the ad to the user. The process completes in real-time, which means that the process happens within seconds. This is why SSPs are often referred to as real-time bidding (RTB) platforms.

SSPs use algorithms to determine which DSPs and advertisers to send bid requests to. This considers factors like ad spend and target capabilities for the best match. The goal is to maximize the revenue for the publisher by ensuring that the ads served are relevant to the user.

Why are SSPs important?

SSPs can help publishers to increase their revenue and advertisers reach target users. Before the advent of SSPs, publishers had to rely on direct deals with advertisers or ad networks.

As they needed to sell their ad inventory resulted in low revenue. This was time-consuming as the publisher only limited the ad network’s demand. With SSPs, publishers have access to a wide range of DSPs and advertisers. This increases the competition and drives up the price of their inventory.

SSPs are also crucial in ensuring that the ads served are relevant and engaging to the user. They use advanced targeting capabilities to ensure that the ad served are relevant. This approach results in higher engagement rates means higher revenue for the publisher.

Another important role that SSPs plays is fraud prevention. Ad fraud is a significant problem in the industry, and SSPs are taking steps to prevent it. They use machine learning algorithms to detect fraudulent activity on the inventory.

What are the main components of SSP?

The main components of a Supply Side Platform (SSP) include:

1. Ad Exchange 

An SSP connects to various ad exchanges to allow for real-time bidding. So, that it can maximize ad revenue by the use of SSP from the target users.

2. Ad Inventory Management

An SSP provides publishers with tools to manage and organize their ad inventory. It includes ad formats, pricing, and targeting options.

This can track available ad inventory to help publishers to manage their ad space. 

3. Integrations

An SSP can integrate with other ad tech platforms, like demand-side platforms (DSPs). It can also integrate with data management platforms (DMPs), and ad servers. It can provide a comprehensive ad management solution by SSP.

4. Reporting and Analytics

SSPs provide publishers with reporting and analytics tools to understand their ad inventory.

It provides detailed analytics and reporting on ad performance, revenue, and user engagement. So, it allows them to optimize their ad strategies and make data-driven decisions.

5. Header Bidding

Header bidding enables publishers to sell their ad inventory to buyers simultaneously. This helps in increasing competition and driving up ad prices.

An SSP supports header bidding integrations that help to increase revenue for publishers.

What are the benefits of using an SSP?

1. Automated ad selling

SSPs automate the process of selling ad inventory. It enables one to focus on creating high-quality content rather than on the details of ad sales.

SSPs provide RTB capabilities, that allow advertisers to bid on ad inventory in real time. It results in faster and more efficient ad sales.

2. Improved ad targeting 

An SSP allows publishers to target their audience more effectively with their ads. As SSP provides access to a wide range of ad networks and DSPs.

This means that publishers can ensure that their ads are being shown to the right audience. This can increase the effectiveness of the ads and generate more revenue. This improves user engagement and can lead to higher Click-through rates (CTRs).

3. Simplified management

An SSP makes it easy for publishers to manage their ad inventory by providing a single platform.

Publishers can manage and take care of everything on that platform. This means that publishers don’t have to manage multiple ad networks. They need not manage individual DSPs, which can be time-consuming and difficult.

4. Higher revenue

By providing access to various ad networks and DSPs. An SSP can help publishers generate more revenue from their ad inventory. This is because the SSP ensures that the inventory gets sold to the highest bidder.

The more ads get displayed to users, that increases the chances of users clicking on the ads. This means that publishers can get the most value for their ad space.

5. Gives more control

An SSP provides publishers with more control over their ad inventory. It can allow them to set rules around which ads to get displayed and where they can display.

This means they can ensure that their app is not displaying inappropriately. So, they can ensure that displayed ads are relevant ads, that do not damage their brand reputation.

What are the platforms that support the ad-selling process?

1. Real-time bidding transactions 

SSPs use RTB technology to enable real-time bidding on ad inventory by advertisers. This allows advertisers to bid on ad impressions in real time.

This happens based on the targeting criteria they have defined. SSPs handle ad auctioning and selection, which enables the creation of high-quality content.

2. Ad-network optimization

SSPs can help to identify the ad networks that deliver the highest revenue and the ones which are not. This allows them to focus their efforts on the most profitable ad networks.

You can stop or improve those networks that are not delivering the desired results. SSPs can use data analytics and machine learning algorithms to analyze user behavior. This determines which ad networks are delivering the most relevant and engaging ads.

3. Relevancy

Relevancy is a key factor in the success of programmatic advertising. SSPs can use audience data to ensure that ads target users who are most likely to show interest in them.

This is possible by analyzing user behavior, such as browsing data, or search queries. SSPs can also use data analytics to identify which ads are most effective at engaging users. This helps increase engagement and revenue for app developers and publishers.

4. Frequency capping

Frequency capping is the process of limiting the number of times a user sees a particular ad.

SSPs can manage the frequency of ad impressions. This is to ensure that users are not bombarded with the same ad over and over again.

This helps improve the user experience and prevent ad fatigue. They use data analytics to identify the optimal frequency of ad impressions per user.


Ques 1: What is the difference between SSP and ad exchange?

Ans. An SSP is a technology platform for publishers to sell their ad inventory. While an ad exchange is a marketplace that can buy and sell ad inventory.

Ques 2: Is Google a DSP or SSP?  

Ans. Google is both a DSP (Demand Side Platform) and an SSP (Supply Side Platform). As a DSP, Google allows advertisers and media buyers to buy ad inventory. while as an SSP, Google provides publishers with tools to manage and sell their ad inventory.

Ques 3: Is Google Ad Manager an SSP?

Ans. Yes, Google Ad Manager is an SSP.

Ques 4: What is the difference between DSP and SSP?

Ans. The main difference between DSP and SSP is that DSPs enable advertisers to buy ad inventory.  While SSPs enable publishers to sell ad inventory.

Ques 5: What are the features of SSP?

Ans. SSP features include inventory management, targeting users, data analytics, and real-time bidding capabilities.

Mani Pandey
Mani Pandey

Mani Pandey is an app marketing expert with over 5 years of experience in the industry. She has extensive knowledge about App Store Optimization (ASO) and loves to share all her expertise by writing informational content.She is passionate about helping businesses reach their true potential and maximise their ROI. She also loves to travel around the world to explore different cultures and meet new people.