Finding the right Demand Side Platform (DSP) for your needs is not easy, but it’s crucial to running successful digital marketing campaigns.
As you seek out the best DSP for your business, consider the needs of your app first. What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want to reach a broad audience? Or do you need to define more specific targets to achieve the results you desire?
To help with this process, we’ve created a list of features that set apart the best DSPs from the rest.
Demand Side Platform (DSP) is a media-buying tech platform, ideally with AI and deep-learning capabilities that communicate with ad exchanges, ad networks, and Data Management Platforms (DMPs) to bid in real-time for ad slots on offer by the Supply Side Platform (SSP). A more straightforward interpretation: a DSP enables advertisers to buy ad impressions at scale.
As there are a lot of DSPs in the market, how to choose the right one?
You can analyze the worth of a DSP by its features, services offered, and adaptability to your requirements.
Basic Features Of DSP
To help you better analyze the capability of different Demand Side Platforms, we are dividing this article into two parts.
Basic features of DSPs include the list that is available with almost every DSP in contention. However, the quality of each feature may still vary among different players.
1) Campaign Management
Campaign management’s primary responsibility is to build, track, and optimize your ad campaigns. Most of the leading Demand Side Platforms offer managed services in the form of account and campaign teams consulting and servicing you on the best campaign setup and optimization options.
Depending on your business needs, you may be running various campaigns simultaneously. Having a team of experts who understands your business and are committed to your success positively impacts your advertising strategy. Choose a DSP that can provide a direct and effortless experience in setting up, tracking, and optimizing campaigns.
2) Analytics and Reporting
You need to know how your campaigns are performing, and it is the role of DSP to inform you. Various DSPs have different levels of campaign reporting options, which can offer multiple campaign insights and dashboards, such as ad impressions, clicks, uplift, bought inventory, and other information.
Depending on DSP’s choice, you can leverage the benefits of advanced analytics that give you transparent and accurate insights into more in-depth metrics at the bid, aggregator, and creative performance levels. With tools like SliceX, analyzing the data becomes more accessible and comprehensive. It allows you to generate the reports you need and better understand how your campaign is performing at all times.
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 to extract the best results with varying ad partners and campaign goals.
4) Audience Building
Picking the right target audience is one of the core functions of a DSP. So, expect DSPs to offer audience segmentation targeting features. These allow you to filter your audience based on contextual attributes and insights such as previous user interaction and behavioral points to segment the right audience for each campaign. Depending on the capabilities of the DSP, these filters can vary. The more audience filter options you get, the better it is to pick the best audience for each campaign.
5) Targeting Options
Once you have built the audience for your campaigns, targeting options help decide the ad frequency, recency, dayparting, formats, and other such options. AI-driven platforms like RevX learn and adjust these options while the campaign is running. However, it also allows for a certain level of manual intervention to optimize and train the DSP at the campaign’s initial stages.
6) Access to Quality Inventory
DSPs communicate with Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) to bid for the inventory on which your ads are being run. The efficiency of running ads depends significantly on access to high-quality and scalable inventory, as it is eventually the route to securing ad placements and obtaining the user’s attention. While choosing a DSP for your campaign, keep an attentive eye on which ad inventory they offer and how they assure its quality.
Premium Features Of DSP
Premium features of DSP are easy differentiators to aid you in choosing the perfect DSP for you. Some of these features may not be available with every DSP. So, creating a checklist of these options and comparing them across the different partners you are considering will help you make the right choice.
1) Transparency is the Top Differentiator
Demand Side Platforms are a hub to several pieces of information of bids, sites, creatives, and numerous campaign aspects. These pieces of information can help you solve the jigsaw puzzle of connecting to the right audience and driving incremental campaign results. Moreover, it reduces ad fraud susceptibility.
However, some DSPs may not be comfortable being transparent with the details of how they run campaigns, handle data or provide insights. Choosing a DSP that gives you 100% transparency at the bid, app, creative, and audience level reporting is recommended to gain better visibility and optimization opportunities.
2) Self Serve Platform Choice
A platform with a self-serve option for your business allows you to bring your programmatic efforts in-house: you can set up, manage, and train the DSP for your ad campaigns. It offers you more control while reducing dependency on a managed service. If you’re a mobile business that invests in programmatic advertising consistently and substantially, having a self-serve platform can be a good option if you want to build in-house expertise for programmatic. Some advertisers and agencies prefer to use a white-labeled platform, but note that setting and training a DSP platform to work just as you want takes time.
However, the self-serve option is not the preferred option for new apps or a business that doesn’t have a large team that can take up all the work that running a programmatic ad strategy entails. If this is your situation, opt for the managed service instead of a self-serve platform where you get assigned a dedicated account manager to run your campaigns. The ideal choice would be to run your programmatic advertising with a DSP that offers both options.
3) Platform Focus
We can divide Demand Side Platforms into two types: platforms that serve both web and mobile web/app or focus on only one of the options.
Because of their different operating technology and user experience, it is generally more convenient to opt for a DSP built for mobile if you are a mobile-first business.
While considering the choices of DSP, prefer the one that resonates with your needs. At RevX, we offer a mobile-focused marketing platform.
4) Account Management Support
Partnering with a new DSP can be a daunting task unless it offers a dedicated account management team to your account that can focus on your business’s specific goals and challenges.
Some DSPs offer account management support only during the onboarding process or with minimum account spending. However, that may not be sufficient to fulfill your growth expectations. Even if you are opting for a self-serve DSP, the need for assistance may arise if you are trying to test new features or product updates. While documentation can help, having a dedicated expert that can guide you and do the job is better.
5) Data Science Capabilities
While every mobile marketing platform might boast about its data science and machine learning capabilities, 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. While complying with leading IAB and privacy laws standards, we process the data at various stages to add pinpoint precisions in targeting and maintaining an enhanced ad experience.
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 for the advertiser as the campaign progresses.
6) 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.
7) Dynamic and Hybrid 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.
Ensure that DSP can run dynamic and hybrid ads with custom product feed integrations. It empowers your ads by serving ads that automatically present product offerings most likely to engage users.
Different categories have individual variations in their details, product, and ad display needs. While eCommerce advertisers like to show ads with product recommendations from the same category, the Edtech app will have a 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.
8) Creative Innovation and 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 a life-saver, particularly when season demand surges. So, it’s a good idea to give some brownie points to the DSP with a creative team in its offering. Make sure that they can consult you on your creative strategy and offer support with different formats, like rich media, images, and videos.
9) Campaign Types
‘What got you here will not get you there.’ You follow different strategies with your branding, user acquisition, and retargeting campaigns.
Unless your Demand Side Platform can support different strategies, you might have to switch between platforms. There is a significant investment of time and effort when picking a Demand Side Platform. When choosing a DSP, consider its adaptability to the different campaign types seriously. Don’t hesitate to ask for case studies of various kinds of campaigns they have run to validate their potential.
10) Incremental Lift Measurement
Incremental lift is the measurement of your campaigns’ impact versus other organic traffic or paid campaigns. It is a scientific approach to determining the incremental impact of each channel, platform, and format on the revenue, conversions, or other campaign goals that you may have. It helps you go beyond the clicks and impression measurements by directly analyzing the revenue impact.
By measuring uplift, you can adjust your expenses and strategy in the channels driving better revenue.
Programmatic is an integral part of a mobile marketing strategy, and when done right, it can significantly impact advertising revenue and productivity. We hope this article helped you see the potential for greater traffic and engagement using a DSP.
We hope this exhaustive list of features discussed in this blog will help you narrow down your DSP options. If you want to know how RevX fares on these features, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.