Demand Side Platform Buyer Guide

You are ready to take your digital marketing program to the next level with programmatic media buying via a DSP. Congratulations! The first step in your process is finding the right DSP for your organization. Unfortunately, it is a very time-consuming process of research and reviewing platforms. When researching DSPs, consider the following criteria from our Demand Side Platform Buyer Guide:


Self-Service vs. Managed Service: 


Budget: Most DSPs (especially the bigger, more established players) have high monthly minimum spend requirements. Know what you’re realistically willing to invest in programmatic 


Cost Structure: Understand the fee structure, including any hidden costs. Most DSPs charge on a percent spent model where they take a cut of the media spend each month on their platform. Many also have markups on any 3rd party service such as data onboarding, premium inventory, attribution, etc. These markups may not even be clearly stated in a contract so ask questions. 


Inventory and Reach: Ensure the DSP has access to high-quality inventory and a wide range of publishers. You need to go into this process knowing exactly what is most important to you. Is it a specific inventory like connected TV or streaming audio? Ask about their supply partnerships in those channels because not all DSPs are created equal. If it’s access to owned and operated (O&O) inventory like YouTube or Amazon you will need to buy that through Google’s DV 360 and Amazon DSP respectively. 


Targeting Capabilities: Look for advanced targeting options such as geo-targeting, behavioral targeting, retargeting, and look-alike targeting. More DSPs are adding the capability to upload audience lists directly without onboarding through a 3rd party. This is a really nice feature that saves time and money. Find out if the DSP you’re considering offers this. 


User Interface and Ease of Use: The platform should be user-friendly and intuitive. At this point, the UI/UX of most DSPs are very similar so this likely should not be a sticking point.  


Analytics and Reporting: Check for real-time reporting and the ability to extract actionable insights. This is especially important if you use a 3rd party data visualization tool. Make sure the DSP you’re looking at has an integration and if you have to pay an additional fee for the integration. 


When choosing a DSP, it’s crucial to align the platform’s strengths with your campaign’s goals and the type of inventory that is most valuable to you. Always request a demo, take advantage of trial periods if available, and consider starting with a smaller budget to test the platform’s effectiveness for your specific needs.


For more information on selecting DSPs read a past blog we wrote that goes in-depth on some of the aspects you need to consider when selecting a DSP:

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Learn how we can take your omni-channel programmatic campaigns to the next level.