Glossary | D | Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs)

What are DSPs?

There are two sides to the mobile advertising equation—on one side, there is a supply of millions of mobile apps (and the billions of people who collectively use them each day), and on the other, there is demand from advertisers, who compete with one another to place ads inside those apps. 

Demand-side platforms, or DSPs, represent the advertiser’s side of the equation. These software platforms provide advertisers the tools to bid on available advertising space, and deploy their ads to millions of mobile apps with as little friction as possible. 

Advertisers bring their ad campaign assets, budget and audience parameters to the DSP, which helps them activate the campaign at scale, buying ad space programmatically using real-time bidding, or RTB. 

Transactions occur within milliseconds—someone will open a mobile app, and the app will instantly ask for an ad to serve to this person. DSPs then open real-time bidding for the ad space, and then close the bidding milliseconds later, delivering the winning ad back to the app nearly instantaneously.  

In the middle of that process, the app shares a snapshot of customer data with the DSP, which matches the customer’s profile with its available ad inventory. Those ads then engage in a head-to-head bidding process, and a winning ad is chosen. 

DSPs include advanced performance tracking capabilities, which allow advertisers to find their audiences and deliver ads to them in a cost-efficient way.