How to Choose an SSP: Key Tips for Publishers 

February 2, 2022

Today, publishers need to have a whole bunch of tools and solutions as part of their ad tech stack to be able to truly benefit from the power of latest programmatic ad technologies. But not all of them are equally important and valuable, of course. SSPs (supply-side platforms, they are also sometimes called sell-side platforms), without a doubt, can play a key role in a publisher’s success on the modern-day digital ads market. 


For those of you who are not very familiar with the concept of SSPs, we have another article covering the basics of this ad technology and the reasons why sell-side platforms are so important. Today we would like to dive into this topic a little bit deeper, focusing on choosing a specific SSP to use as a publisher. 


As SSPs are relatively complex solutions, multiple aspects can play a role here, and publishers need to look into them when making the choice. Let us share some tips and considerations on this matter. 


Check if the SSP is using its own or third-party technology


First of all, when evaluating an SSP, it makes sense to start with clarifying what kind of SSP you are looking at. Even though all such platforms may generally seem the same, they are not. One fundamental differentiator here is technology. Most reputable SSP providers maintain their own technological platforms as the backend for the SSP product. But it is also not uncommon for an SSP positioned as an independent brand to be based on a third-party tech platform. This is not always a bad thing, as some of such SSPs build on top of open platforms and are able to offer strong features and reliable performance. But, as a rule of thumb, in most cases it makes more sense to go with a provider of original technology instead of an intermediary SSP relying on someone else’s platform. 


Make sure the SSP is open to new DSPs and other demand sources 


As you probably realize, the modern-day programmatic ads market is extremely dynamic and changing rapidly. This is why it is important for a supply-side platform to support an easy integration of new demand sources, such as DSPs. Best SSP providers are generally focused on continuous expansion of their partner network, always looking to add new high-quality demand sources to their portfolio. Being open to new DSP integrations makes the platform more flexible and relevant to publisher’s needs in this turbulent market. 


Check if the SSP supports integration with anti-ad fraud and brand safety tools


Another important aspect to look into is the availability of tools for brand safety protection and against ad fraud as part of the SSP. As well as the support of integration with third-party tools by the platform. Being able to block questionable ads and dubious advertisers is understandably crucial to those publishers who are invested into minimizing any negative experiences to their audience and maintaining a good reputation. So if the content of ads makes any difference to you, make sure the SSP has the instruments in place to provide you with the appropriate controls in this area. Some of the most popular third-party brand safety tools used by many publishers these days are Forensic, DoubleVerify, TheMediaTrust, and a number of others.


Make sure the SSP provides the level of support in accordance to your needs 


On a less technical note, it isn’t uncommon for publishers working with an SSP to require the help of the SSP’s support service. The availability of support can be more or less important depending on your traffic volumes and size of operations. So it is advisable to make sure (by checking user reviews, for example) that SSP provides actual 24/7 support through at least a couple of different communication channels (email, messengers, on-site chats, etc.). The responsiveness and quality of support is also something that can vary dramatically from platform to platform. 


Check if the SSP has enough demand for your main geographical areas 


Even though the majority of SSPs position themselves as global solutions (would be strange not to, considering the seamless nature of these web technologies), most of them are not equally strong across all geographical locations. As a publisher, you are motivated to find an SSP with the most demand for the traffic from countries and regions that make the core of your web audience. So if the bulk of your audience is in the US, for example, choosing an SSP that is strong in other markets would be a mistake. 


Make sure the SSP is easy to implement and use 


Last but certainly not least, it makes a lot of sense to check how easy it is to implement and use the SSP. This is especially important for small and medium–sized publishers with limited technical skills and not enough free time to spend on integrating the platform and customizing it for their needs. Even though all of them are claiming to be extremely user-friendly and simple, in reality, some SSP solutions are objectively difficult to implement on your own, without needing to hire a development team for this. Same is true about using the platform when it’s already integrated. Try playing with its interface in order to understand if it is comfortable enough for you to use on a daily basis. 


Final words 


Considering that today there are hundreds of supply-side platforms available, making the right choice can be a tricky and time-consuming thing. Don’t have time to dive deep into this topic and investigate the actual pros and cons of popular SSPs? As an alternative solution, you can outsource this headache along with all the other challenging aspects of ad operations to professionals with proven expertise in the ad tech field. 


This is us! The pubGENIUS team consists of highly experienced specialists who are well-versed in the best practices and trends of the industry. We know how to utilize innovative technologies and ad unit types to optimize websites for individual publishers. We will make sure that your websites are using the most relevant tools and your ad inventory is set up and operating with maximum capacity at all times. 


Get in touch with pubGENIUS Team to get free consultation 🙂