Advertising terms and entities can cause a lot of confusion. Opaque acronyms like “DSP” and “SSP” can cast a lot of haze on a pretty easy-to-understand process.
So, how do ads get in front of your readers’ eyes?
It all comes from matching up advertisements with great content like yours. And there are a lot of layers that interact to make those matches happen programmatically.
Ella is the creator of Product!
Product is a great new thing that does it all. It walks the dogs! It pays the taxes! It makes your white clothes even whiter without bleeding the colors of your red shirt, making your socks all pink.
To sell Product, Ella needs to get it in front of the eyes of folks that would use it. People don’t know that Product exists or what it does. So, Ella needs to get Product where people are spending time so they know that Product can change their lives.
But people typically aren’t spending time online looking for Product.
They’re looking for Content. And that’s where you come in as a content creator.
Content is what Ella wants Product to be associated with. Ella could reach out to you and other publishers directly. But that takes time away from Ella focusing on Product, which is what she does best — and it’s really inefficient.
Layer 1: Advertisers & agencies
Ella knows that reaching out to an agency will get the ball rolling on getting Product in front of the eyes of the readers of Content!
Agencies work with advertisers to build branding around a client’s product.
Once they have created a marketing and advertising campaign, agencies compete with other agencies and advertisers to get the best ad space on your website at the lowest possible cost.
What makes some ad spaces better than others?
Any number of reasons can affect the desirability of ad space. Some ad spaces are more visible. Some serve on pages of Content more relevant to Product. Some ad spaces drive higher clicks. Programmatic advertising simplifies the process of finding and paying for desirable ad space to get advertisements in front of as many eyes likely to buy Product as possible.
Layer 2: DSPs (Demand Side Platforms)
Once the ad campaign for Product is ready for release, agencies use a Demand Side Platform (DSP) to locate and purchase ad space.
A DSP (for example, Google Ads or the Trade Desk) connects to several Supply Side Platforms (which helps sell ad space around your Content — more about those in a moment!), feeding advertisers with the information they need to make decisions about where to place Ella’s ad.
For Ella’s Product, the agency can seek ad space on websites about dogs to let people know that Product will walk your dog. Or, they can advertise on sites about clothing, so you know it will keep your whites from getting all pink. Or the type of content might not matter — they can reach ANY readers they think will be interested in the wonders of Product.
DSPs can locate readers based on the collected data readers have shared. For example, if folks who use Product tend to be Android users, DSPs can target ads for Product to any Android users it finds, regardless of what website they are on.
The agency or advertiser can also choose whether or not to associate with sensitive topics or avoid specific types of language that might not be a good fit for their brand.
The benefit of DSPs to advertisers is that they connect to many SSPs, providing agencies with extensive access to high-quality content like yours.
What’s the difference between DSPs and SSPs?
DSPs work with many advertisers. They focus on buying ad spaces for their clients.
In order to do this, they connect to several Supply Side Platforms (SSPs). SSPs work with many publishers.
DSPs buy ad space from SSPs on behalf of advertisers. SSPs sell ad space to DSPs on behalf of publishers.
Layer 3: SSPs (Supply Side Platforms)
The Supply Side Platform (SSP) is where the good stuff happens for publishers. SSPs help sell your ad space through DSPs.
SSPs connect to many different DSPs, offering your available ad space to many different agencies.
For example, let’s say your site about Content has a lot to say about the many joys of tax law — it could be a perfect match for Product and other tax-related advertisements.
Additionally, publishers can decide which types of ads and ad categories they don’t want to be associated with their publication.
We use SSPs to get the highest value for your ad space, so you get paid to help Product become the success it’s bound to be. And in some cases (like this industry-first!), we’re even able to skip the SSP step entirely, connecting your content directly with advertisers through DSPs, which puts more money in your pocket.
Layer 4: AdThrive and publishers
It all comes down to Content. Great content is a gold mine for advertisers. That’s where you come in — and where we help.
Publishers help advertisers drive sales by engaging their readers with solid content. Well-produced, quality content gets more readers. And more readers mean more potential customers for advertisers to reach.
The great thing is you don’t have to know much about DSPs or SSPs for them to work in your favor.
Our focus is on managing the full stack of advertising for our publishers. We work with you to design a custom ad layout for your site that draws top dollar for every ad space — you can be as hands-on or as hands-off as you like.
We make it easy, giving you one place to handle everything, so you’re free to keep creating stellar content while we make sure advertisers pay you well!
So, now you have some insight into the lifecycle of advertising and how you and Ella indirectly work together to make sure Content and Product get before the eyes of your readers. It’s a win all around!