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By Anthony Loredo Sep 20 2016 Blog

Programmatic 101: Expand Your Display Buying with a DSP

We’ve already covered the basics of DSPs, for marketers and publishers, and I assume by now you’ve taken my advice to heart and started using a DSP. What’s that – You haven’t? Why not? Am I not persuasive enough?


Well, I should have told you this sooner so I didn’t waste your time, but I already use an ad network for display ads. Why would I use a DSP?
Great question, so glad you asked. Did you know that if you’re already using a display network — we’re talking Google Display Network, Yahoo Audience Network, Collective Display, Rocket Fuel, Undertone, to name a few — then the next natural step in your media mix should be a DSP? As a wise rapper once said: If you don’t know, now you know. I get it. You’re used to display networks. You’re comfortable with them, and it was your first introduction into the world of display buying. Makes sense. But the industry has evolved, and so has programmatic technology. The capabilities of different technologies – such as DSPs –have surpassed what display networks alone can do.

Oh yeah, so what do DSPs do?
Ultimately, it comes down to supplementing what you’re doing on a display network with real-time bidding on a DSP. If you want to make the most of your digital media dollars, you should be utilizing a DSP as a complementary display buying solution. Because it doesn’t have to be one or the other. It’s sort of like how I put 7 rings on my finger when I leave the house in the morning. Do I need 7 rings on my finger or do I need 1? The answer is: All of them contribute to making me the fashion icon that I am.

Display networks only scratch the surface compared to what a DSP can do – in terms of scale/reach, variety of inventory, audience targeting and real-time optimization.

Speaking of ‘scratching the surface,’ can you expand on this?
Sure, let’s start with scale/reach – reach, by definition, being the number of sites and impressions available. You can’t target an audience if you can’t find them or access them. DSPs are plugged into multiple supply-side platforms – like ad exchanges – and centralize access to that inventory. DSPS like Basis DSP give you access to over 40 billion daily impressions across all devices and channels.

Think of DSPs and display networks as swimming pools. The pool boy at the DSP swimming pool lets you bring in a bunch of fun toys – things like pizza rafts and basketball and one of those floatation devices where you can stash your beer – but the display network pool boy only lets you use their floaties, and you can’t bring any toys in from the outside. It’s a bummer of a time and everyone at the DSP pool party is having more fun. Display networks are built on their own inventory, while DSPs are more agnostic and offer more extension options.

What a great segue into inventory. With DSPs, it comes down to variety beyond banner ads and in-stream video. You can buy across multiple devices – desktop, mobile devices, tablets. You can buy pre-roll, mid-roll, post-roll, you can buy native. You can find your audience and show them your ads anywhere on the web.

And, finally, if we’re talking about DSP targeting benefits, the number of optimization levers you can pull to target are exhaustive. With a DSP, you can test over 20 different tactics from keyword contextual targeting to site lists, to auto-optimized predictive targeting, to different forms of retargeting. Using a DSP also allows for using both first and third-party data to target.

DSPs offer comprehensive targeting, inventory and ad formats, all centralized in one place.

For more information on DSP technology or on Basis DSP, visit www.centro.net.