Empowering the SSPs

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Over the past decade, the ad tech supply chain has become increasingly complex. A growing host of intermediaries that operate in between advertisers and publishers are fighting to extract the highest fees they can as a part of the decision making that drives an ad buy. Over time, this supply chain has grown unbalanced.

At present, the vast majority of decisions and utility sits on the buy side of the digital media equation, while supply-side platforms have largely resigned themselves to being mere plumbing within the system. This limited role of SSPs does a disservice not only to publishers and advertisers but also to the SSPs themselves. And some of the largest platforms have acknowledged that it’s time for that to change.

Increased Value, Increased Revenue

By virtue of their direct relationships with publishers, SSPs are arguably the single most valuable player in the digital supply chain. And yet, they’re garnering only a sliver of the revenue that they could because they’re not taking on more responsibility within the supply chain. For the most part, SSPs today deliver aggregated inventory from multiple publishers to buyers in a single stream. And without a doubt, that’s a valuable function. But it could—and should—be so much more.

Amassing inventory shouldn’t be an SSP’s end goal in today’s uber-competitive market. SSPs intimately understand the inventory available on their publishers’ sites, and that understanding is what’s lacking at, and deeply coveted by, today’s advertisers.

SSPs need to take on more responsibilities when it comes to enhancing the value of their aggregated inventory for an advertiser. SSPs have the opportunity to increase their value within the supply chain by offering audience segmentation services that filter not just by publisher, but by audience type, viewability, and other parameters. By leaving this filtration process for the DSPs, which are further removed from the inventory sources, SSPs are leaving money on the table. Of course, the more responsibility they can take, the more money they can make. But the need, from an industry standpoint, goes deeper than that.

Enhanced Value, from Publisher to Advertiser

By transforming their basic pipes into an intelligent network, SSPs can deliver added value to both publishers and advertisers. On the supply side, SSPs can help publishers better monetize their audiences by segmenting them in desirable ways. Unique segments can be identified and priced according to their premium nature. Meanwhile, SSPs can leverage these same insights to help advertisers obtain a deeper audience understanding and better access to the individuals most likely to be receptive to their messaging.

It’s high time for SSPs to become more empowered within the ad tech supply chain. The benefit of their doing so will be seen not just in the margins of the SSPs themselves, but in the monetization rates of their publishers’ inventory and ultimate ROI of advertisers.

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