The Future of the SSP
Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) have been an integral part of the programmatic supply chain since its inception, allowing publishers to connect to thousands of buyers to effectively monetise their available ad inventory. Over the last decade or so, the SSPs primary and almost sole focus has been on how they can maximise revenue for their publisher clients, by supporting them through technological changes such as header-bidding, as well as integrating with them to facilitate the monetization of new channels and formats as digital continued to grow at a rapid pace.
2023 - An Inflection Point for SSPs
We are now at an inflection point where the SSP landscape and role is changing. No longer is scale the sole name of the game for publishers; where historically publishers would integrate as many SSPs as possible in order to maximise every sliver of demand, they are now being more selective and deliberate in their use of SSPs.
On the advertiser side, SSPs for a long time were simply seen as intermediary tech that was the responsibility of the publishers. That idea is also changing and buyers are becoming increasingly savvy about the role that SSPs play as the gatekeepers to quality inventory and are looking to form closer and more strategic relationships with SSPs.
These two sides of the equation are leading to consolidation in the SSP market and we expect to see further consolidation towards those SSPs who can finely balance the demands of both their publisher clients and the advertisers spending via their platforms.
Differentiation - Where Should SSPs Focus?
As differentiation and tech capability becomes paramount in the SSP space, here are 3 areas of focus that SSPs could focus on in 2023:
Curation & Data – SSPs will focus on inventory curation and add additional buy-side capabilities to facilitate targeting across curated inventory deals or auction packages
Supply Quality – as advertisers demand more direct routes to supply for quality, transparency and sustainability reasons, SSPs will prioritize direct integrations with their publishers. Additionally, as advertisers reduce the number of SSPs that they work with based on supply quality, we will see publishers prioritizing those SSPs who are bringing the demand.
Identity Resolution – as cookies diminish, resolving identity will be critical for publishers to maintain CPM levels and overall revenue. SSPs have the opportunity to support publishers in the deployment and testing of the different identity solutions available for the future. Beyond this, SSPs could create an identifier device graph to ensure that any identifiers being used by advertisers or publishers can be monetized against.
SSPs are facing many headwinds but there are huge gains to be made for those that are able to capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead. As we see further consolidation in the space, this creates opportunity for growth for those who are able to satisfy both publisher and advertiser demands!
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