18 Top Features of DSP You Should Consider

Demand Side Platform (DSP) is a software program that communicates with ad exchanges, ad networks, and Data Management Platforms (DMPs) to bid for ad slots on offer by the Supply Side Platform (SSP). In a more straightforward interpretation, it enables advertisers to buy ad impressions. In the process, there are several features of DSP that help you better target the audience and optimize the results consistently. That sounds simple, but choices of DSP in the market are endless. How do you know if your choice of DSP is the right one?

You can analyze the worth of a DSP by its features and adaptability to your requirements. In this blog, we will discuss the top features of DSP to help you understand what makes the best DSP for your advertising needs.

Basic Features Of DSP

To help you better analyze the capability of different Demand Side Platforms, we are dividing this blogs into two segments. Basic features of DSP include the list that is available with almost every DSP in the contention. However, the quality of the feature may still vary among different players.

1. Campaign Management

Campaign management enables you to build, track, and optimize your ad campaigns. Most of the leading Demand Side Platforms offer management for multiple campaigns. Depending on your business need, you may be running various campaigns simultaneously. Prefer a DSP that can provide a simplistic and effortless experience in setting up and tracking the campaign.

2. Analytics and Reporting

It is quite evident that you would like to know how your campaigns are performing. It is the role of DSP to inform you. Various DSPs have different levels of campaign reporting features. These levels can offer various campaign insights, such as - ad impressions, clicks, expenses, and other such metrics.

Depending on DSP's choice, you can leverage the benefits of advanced analytics that give you transparent and accurate insight into more in-depth metrics at the bid, aggregator, and creative performance. With tools like SliceX, analyzing such data metrics turn even easier and intensive as within clicks you can generate the graphical reports.

3. Bidding Strategies

Running digital advertising campaigns needs consistent learning, which requires experiments. While a DSP should give you a choice to experiment at various steps, the most basic one is bidding strategies. It should allow you to run ads with different bidding strategies so that you can extract the best results with different ad partners and campaign goals

4. Audience Building

Picking the audience is one of the core functions of a DSP. So, it is almost impossible to expect a DSP without an audience targeting feature. It allows you to filter demographics (region, gender, profession, etc.) and other insights (previous user interaction, behavioral points, etc.) to target the audience for a campaign. Depending on the capabilities of the DSP, these filters can vary. The more audience filters you get, the better it is for ad targeting.

5. Targeting Options

Once you have built the audience for your campaigns, targeting options help in deciding the ad frequency, recency, dayparting, formats, and other such options. AI-driven platforms can learn and adjust these options when the campaign has been in action for some time. However, it needs manual intervention to optimize and train the DSP at the initial stages of the campaign.

6. Access to Quality Inventory

The DSP communicates with ad exchanges, ad networks, and Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) to bid for the inventory on which your ads run. The value of ads depends significantly on access to a high-quality and extensive inventory, as it is eventually the route to catch the user's attention. While choosing a DSP for your campaign, keep an attentive eye on its ad inventory.

Premium Features Of DSP

Premium features of DSP are easy differentiators for the perfect choice of DSP for you from the rest of the crowd. Some of the features may not be available with every DSP. So, creating a checklist of these features and comparing them can help make the right choice.

1. Transparency

Demand Side Platforms is a hub of several pieces of information of bids, sites, creatives, and more such campaign aspects. These information pieces can help you solve the jigsaw puzzle of connecting to the right audience and driving optimum campaign results. Moreover, it reduces ad fraud susceptibility.

However, some DSPs may not be comfortable being transparent with some details. It is recommended to choose a DSP that gives you 100% transparency at the bid, site/app, creative, and audience level reporting to gain better visibility and optimization opportunities.

2. Self Serve Platform Choice

A self-serve platform for your business will mean that you can set up, manage, and train DSP for your ad campaigns. It enables a hassle-free experience while reducing human interventions with a third-party. As a business that's been advertising for some time, a self-serve platform is where you get to better utilize your in-house expertise in the marketing campaign. Some advertisers (or ad agencies) even prefer to opt for a white-labeled option.

However, it may not be valid for a new startup that has just started as they would need guidance from the DSP. So instead of a self-serve platform, they would prefer an account manager to run their campaigns. Later in the journey, when the DSP is better trained for your marketing model, they can switch to the self-serve model. So, the ideal choice would be to run the campaigns with a DSP that offers both options.

3. Platform Focus

One of the conventional focus choices that leading Demand Side Platforms offers is between desktop and mobile web/app. Because of their different user experience as well as operations technology, it is generally not convenient for a DSP to deliver optimum performance for all. While considering the choices of DSP, you should prefer the one that resonates with your needs. At RevX, we offer a mobile-focused marketing platform.

4. Account Management Support

Switching to a new DSP can be a daunting task unless you have a dedicated account manager available at your perusal. Most DSPs offer account management support only during the onboarding process or with a minimum account spending. However, that may disturb your ad operations. Even if you are opting for a self-serve DSP that you have used for some time, the need for assistance may arise if you are trying to test new features or product updates. While documentation can help, it is better to have an account manager do the job.

5. Pay For Performance Model Flexibility

The online advertising industry is still greatly relying on the old-school metrics, such as click and impression, which leaves a wide gap between DSP's learning process and advertiser's demand. For example, if you are running an app install campaign on the Cost per Click (CPC) model, you will keep spending money even if clicks leading to the app store are not getting you the install. DSP algorithms keep following the same process as it would believe it is doing a fine job.

A DSP that offers flexible pay for performance models can quickly narrow down the gap as you will be paying precisely for accomplishing the specific campaign goals. So, check with your DSP if they can run ads on models, like Cost per Action (CPA), Cost per Sale (CPS), Return on Ad Spend (RoAS), and such down-the-funnel metrics.

6. DMP Integration

Data Management Platform (DMP) is among the most critical partners for DSP when you need the combined effort of the first-, second-, and third-party data for selecting the audience. Different DMPs have their finesse in data points from various regions, industries, or categories. Your DSP's compatibility to integrate with DMPs comes in handy in utilizing those data points. While choosing your DSP, ask for the popular DMPs they have worked with and if they are comfortable with custom DMP integration.

7. Data Science Capabilities

While every mobile marketing platform might boast about their data science and machine learning, what separates them is the depth up to which data is processed in the algorithms. At RevX, data science is not just a buzzword, but a crucial asset of our platform. While complying with leading IAB and AdExchanger standards, we process the data at various stages to add pinpoint precisions in targeting and maintaining enhanced ad experience.

By anomalizing the data, our machine learning raises various hard and soft filters for continuous optimization and platform learning. It helps us build behavior trends for different app categories, regions, banner recommendations, and stages. In simpler terms, it helps us better determine whom to bid and how much to bid so that it results in getting you more conversions at a lower cost as the campaign progresses.

8. Predictive & Lookalike Algorithms

When it comes to expanding the size of target groups, nothing serves better than lookalike audience modeling. It identifies the various user data points and RMF (Recency, Monetary, and Frequency) analysis of your existing high-intent users to build similar user groups. Along with faster audience building and segmentation, it enables your ad campaigns to continuously optimize as you target users with higher intent at every step of the purchase cycle.

9. Dynamic Ads

Even though the static display ads have a role to play, you need to look for other alternatives to drive the optimum results. You will like to explore the opportunities with video, rich media, and other formats to target the users as per their preferences.

Moreover, ensure that DSP is capable of running dynamic ads with custom product feed integrations. It empowers your ads by serving ads that automatically present product offerings that are most likely to engage users.

Different categories have individual variations in their details product and ad display needs. While ecommerce advertisers will like to show ads with product recommendations from the same category, the edtech app will have a completely different feed. So, choose a DSP only if they can serve your product feed requirements. If you are an ad agency that runs campaigns for advertisers across the categories, you should be looking for a platform that can easily integrate variations.

10. Creative Support

Creative quality plays a decisive role in the success of your ad campaigns. Even with an in-house creative team, you might need quick assistance from the DSP end to implement various changes. Opting for a DSP partner that can offer creative development and editing support can be life-saver, particularly when season demand is surging. So, it's not a bad idea to give some brownie points to the DSP that had a creative team in its offering. Make sure that they can assist you with different formats, like rich media, images, and videos.

11. Campaign Types

‘What got you here will not get you there’.

There are different strategies that you follow with your branding, user acquisition, and retargeting campaigns. Unless your Demand Side Platform is capable of supporting different strategies, you might have to switch between different platforms. There is a significant investment of time and effort while picking a Demand Side Platform.

Considering that DSP's role is to give you easy access to all your campaigns in a simplistic manner, managing multiple DSPs for different types of campaigns can be a tedious and time-consuming task. While choosing DSP, give serious consideration to its adaptability to the different campaign types. Don't hesitate to ask for case studies of various kinds of campaigns they have run to validate their potential.

12. Incremental Lift

Incremental lift is the measurement of the contribution that your campaigns get from different touchpoints in the campaign. It is a data-driven approach to determine the impact of each channel, platform, and format on the revenue, the number of sales, or other campaign goals that you may have. It helps you go beyond the clicks and impression measurements by directly analyzing the revenue impact.

When your DSP is enabling your campaigns to approach and recommend actions across multiple touchpoints, the understanding of their respective contributions gives your clarity on future decisions. You can accordingly adjust your expenses and strategy in the channels that are driving better revenue.

Final Note

We hope this exhaustive list of features discussed in this blog will help you narrow down your DSP options. You can consider case studies, testimonials, and platform demo to confirm your choice. If you want to know how RevX fares on these features, you can drop us a message at marketing@affle.com to request the battle card.


Nishant kadian

Nishant Kadian takes care of content marketing for Affle. With RevX, he likes sharing his learning on the programmatic ad technologies that enable advertisers with branding, user acquisition and retargeting.