Whether you’re ready to graduate from Google Ads and Meta or you’re attracted to exciting new channels, selecting a demand side platform (DSP) partner to manage your programmatic journey is probably the most challenging process a marketing organization can undertake. No two DSPs are alike and each one boasts their own pros and cons that need to be carefully weighed. Before you start the process of researching potential DSP partners here are three items to consider:
No DSP has access to all of the available digital ad supply out there. Ad platforms that also own and operate (O&O) web properties tend to make you buy that inventory from them directly. Examples include YouTube only being available from DV360/Google Ads and Prime Video is only available via Amazon DSP. Other platforms reach exclusive deals to manage inventory. For example, Yahoo DSP has a deal with Microsoft to manage XBOX, MSN, and other properties they own.
While there is nothing stopping you from working with multiple DSPs (if you have enough budget, more on this below), it is definitely easier to limit the number of DSPs you work with. The more platforms you add to your tech stack the more complicated it can become to manage.
We recommend that you determine what inventory is most important to you. Most DSPs specialize in being the platform of choice for specific types of inventory such as CTV, streaming audio, native, or high value O&O inventory.
Data is another aspect to consider when selecting a DSP. Much like O&O inventory, major ad tech players can keep their data behind their walled garden. An example of this is the Amazon DSP. If you want to target consumers based upon the ecommerce data (or Whole Foods data) that Amazon has, you have to use their DSP to do it.
It is pretty easy to identify the handful of DSPs with unique data sets. Amazon, DV360 (Google), Yahoo, Roku, and Beeswax (Comcast) are the main players with large amounts of O&O data. Are you looking to target households with CTV? Perhaps you should look at Beeswax or Roku and their access to subscriber data. Is Google ads a major source of traffic for you right now? Perhaps it’s time to step up to DV360 to significantly increase the targeting/segmentation options there.
Knowing that Google and Amazon have unique data as well as high value O&O inventory, it is logical that many buyers want to use their DSP. Unfortunately, to work directly with either platform you need a seven-figure budget. Otherwise, you will be forced to work with one of their partners to access the DSP. These marketing partners will take a small cut of your spend, but you will still need to commit to spending six figures per year to access these platforms.
The next item to consider is whether or not you have the bandwidth to learn, setup, and manage your own DSP (self-service) or if you need the platform to manage it for you (managed service). If you do not have a very experienced media buyer on staff, managed service is probably the best option for you. There is a pretty steep learning curve to understanding DSPs, so it’s not for a beginner. That said, managed service comes at a premium cost since the platform will need to staff your account with support.
As you can see there are a lot of big decisions that go into selecting a DSP. There is no one size fits all approach to this process. If you are looking for some advice on which platform is right for you, feel free to connect with us. We are happy to help!