Shopping for a new way to target your audience with digital advertisements? Let’s talk about Demand-Side Platforms (DSP) for a minute. DSP’s are made specifically for advertisers to access a large pool of desktop, display or mobile inventory by partnering with multiple exchanges, SSPs, or direct publishers in order to reach their ideal audience.

It’s a no-brainer that the Demand Side Platform you partner with should be relatively easy-to-use and provide tools to assist with everyday functions. More importantly, when searching for the perfect DSP for your company, it’s important to ask the right questions. Just like a typical shopping experience for big ticket items like televisions, computers, or automobiles, it’s imperative to do your research. Here are a few key questions to ask when searching for the right Demand-Side Platform for you.

Inventory

Questions to ask:  

 What types of websites do you have access to?
• How do you acquire your inventory?
• How much inventory do you have available?

When it comes to finding the right DSP, it’s all about inventory. Familiar with the term reach? Reach or inventory refers to the amount of ad-enabled websites available to you. The more inventory under a DSP’s umbrella, the more users you’re able to reach.

Advertisers’ strategy and target audiences can vary, so selecting a DSP is not solely based on how much inventory is available, but the variety of inventory available. Sites like Facebook and ESPN see a lot of traffic, but your audience may be venturing all over the web in search of content. Make sure the DSP offers a large variety of inventory that will enable you to reach your desired audience - wherever they are online.

Data

Questions you should ask:  

 How many data providers do you work with?
• How many data segments do you have available?
• What type of data segments are available?
• Can you provide a list of segments available?

Digital advertising gives advertisers access to inventory, but data adds a layer of specialized targeting. This helps advertisers select their ideal audience based on behaviors, spending habits, interests, demographics, and more.

For example, if a gym owner wants to drum up new business in a college town, they can use data segments to target college students interested in health and fitness. DSPs typically use data providers to build their segment portfolio, so question how many data providers are available. The more data providers a DSP has, the more likely you are to reach the right audience for you.

Support

Questions to ask:  

 Do you have an in-house developer team?
• What’s the turnaround time for optimizations or tech updates?
• Is there a self-service option? Do you offer training?

Some DSPs will manage your campaigns for you and others will allow you to manage your own campaigns. In either case, from campaign management to technical support, it’s vital to work with a DSP who can provide a reliable support team.

Whether you’re new to the ad space or a seasoned vet, advertisers should have a dedicated account manager to assist with daily communications and optimizations. If they can respond quickly to inquiries, bugs or platform feature requests, you’ve got yourself a good DSP. If you opt for self-serve, look for a DSP that offers assisted training or a learning platform with tons of resources that can help you be successful.

Transparency

Questions to ask:

 Can I set my own metrics and KPIs?
• What is the breakdown of the bidding costs?
• Can I have customized reporting?
• Am I provided a login to the platform or do I have to contact my account manager for daily campaign updates?

One of the most important factors to consider is the level of transparency available. Beware of walled-gardens and confirm what level of transparency the DSP can provide. This includes access to thorough reporting on where your ads are being placed in terms of clicks, views, location, and domains.

Not only should you be able to choose which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are to be met during the campaign, advertisers should also be provided with information regarding campaign performance - and tools to optimize toward the KPIs you have in mind.

Cost

Questions you should ask:  

 Do you have a minimum monthly spend?
• Do you bid with second price auctions?
• Are there other fees associated to my monthly spend that are not going to the inventory I’m purchasing?

There are various costs associated to advertising through a DSP. Fees derive from things like tech, data, and media costs that make programmatic bidding possible. Some DSPs will layer on media costs within your bidding price or CPM and others will require a minimum monthly spend. Discovering where the costs lie will bring you closer to your decision and ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

Online advertising is a great way to deliver your advertisements to the right people at the right time, but don’t navigate the digital landscape alone. If you know what to look for and which questions to ask, you can find the right DSP for your next ad campaign.

To learn more about the features of a Demand Side Platform and tips on how to run your online campaign, contact Yashi for a quick intro call today.