B&T – The ABC of DSPs

Demand-Side Platforms (DSP) are one of the most confusing concepts yet to appear in online advertising. An DSP essentially enables a media buyer to operate its own virtual advertising network, acquiring inventory on a real-time basis to fulfill the needs of its clients.DSPs work symbiotically with another new phenomenon, ad exchanges, which enable the real-time buying and selling of the advertising inventory that is used by DSPs.

Confused yet? The March 4 edition of B&T carries my cover story on DSPs and tries to explain what they are all about. While the story is not yet online, it should still be in newsagents for a few more days.

While this may not seem like the most stunning topic, DSPs and ad exchanges are part of a broader movement that I’m referring to as the Era of Big Data. What makes DSPs effective is the consumer behaviural data that is fed into them from a myriad of sources such as BlueKai (whose chief executive Omar Tawakol is quoted in A Faster Future). Services such as BlueKai enable the buying and selling of anonymous browser data, helping advertisers know a little more about how to make the placements effective.

It is this kind of technology that drives the effectiveness of online advertising, and is helping planners make much more strategic decisions about where they spend their media budget. In some ways it brings elements of the one-to-one advertising model created by search advertising to the display market.

As Tawakol says in A Faster Future; We believe that data is becoming more valuable than media”.