What are the Differences Between DSPs, SSPs and DMPs?

dsp adtech

Demand-side platform (DSP), supply-side platform (SSP), and data management platform (DMP) are the building blocks of advertising technology. All those platforms might feel similar, but in fact, they are not.

This article explains the key differences between SSP and DSP, as well as the importance of DMP and where they fit in the programmatic advertising ecosystem. 

Table of Contents:


A DSP allows advertisers to buy ad impressions across many publishers’ websites in the most efficient way, while an SSP does exactly the opposite–it allows publishers to sell their ad inventory to advertisers at the highest possible price.


*Users are allowed to use this table as long as they give credit to setupad.com

What is a Demand Side Platform (DSP)?

A DSP is a software used to buy ads in an automated way. It is used by advertisers and allows them to buy ad impressions from ad exchanges, like Google AdX

What is an ad exchange? 

An ad exchange is a place where publishers and advertisers come together to trade digital media, like display, video, and mobile ads. 

Publishers make their ad inventories available through ad exchanges, while advertisers purchase them via real-time bidding (RTB). Thus, there are no humans involved, and impressions are sold to the highest bidder. 

How does DSP work?

DSPs allow advertisers to buy ad impressions across multiple publishers’ websites targeted to specific users based on parameters like the users’ location or previous browsing behavior.

They also decide which ad impressions would be the most efficient and cheapest choice for the advertiser.

From a single interface, DSPs allow advertisers to:

  • set ad creatives;
  • manage and optimize bids;
  • do audience targeting.

Examples of DSP

Demand-side platform companies like Google Display & Video 360, Xandr, MediaMath, and Adobe Advertising Cloud are one of the best DSPs in adtech.

demand side platform companies

Many adtech companies (like Xandr) combine both an SSP and DSP under one roof. Some even integrate an SSP, a DSP, and a DMP (like Adform).

These full-stack solutions are designed to connect publishers with suitable advertisers and vice versa, as well as help both the buy-side and the sell-side to gain greater efficiency and transparency to manage their advertising operations.  

What is a Supply Side Platform (SSP)?

An SSP is a programmatic software that enables publishers to sell ad inventory to advertisers across different ad exchanges. By making their ad inventory available to large demand, an SSP helps to maximize the publisher’s ad revenue.

This platform is the opposite of DSP since publishers are the ones using it.

How does SSP work?

To put it simply, SSPs connect publishers’ ad inventory to multiple ad exchanges and DSPs. 

Supply-side platforms allow publishers to:

  • run an RTB auction and serve the ads;
  • evaluate the bids;
  • set the bidding range (aka price floors). 

SSP Examples

Some of the most popular supply-side platform companies are OpenX, Xandr, and PubMatic.

ssp examples

Bear in mind that the price obtained by one SSP might not necessarily be the highest price on the market. That’s because each SSP has its own buyers. 

Additionally, publishers can benefit from website monetization platforms like Setupad. Read how SSPs and monetization platforms differ here.

What is DMP?

DMPs make the data available to DSPs and SSPs to match the ads with the relevant audience. 

A data management platform (DMP) collects and categorizes first, second, and third-party data and is a part of the programmatic supply chain. 

DMP examples include Nielsen, Lotame, Oracle, and Salesforce Audience Studio.  

dmp examples


It’s not unusual for the best DSP platforms (like theTradeDesk) to have their own native DMP. That’s because, in order to make an ad inventory purchase, a DSP needs to extract data from a DMP. 


SSPs have a massive added value for publishers. SSPs help publishers efficiently manage collaborations with multiple ad buyers and networks. But in order to extract maximum benefit from this technology, you need more than one SSP. 

Setupad can connect publishers to 28 premium SSPs thanks to header bidding technology. This guarantees that publishers receive the highest possible rates for their ad inventory. Sign up today and see for yourself! 

About Alise Zaiceva
Alise is a content marketing manager at Setupad. She’s passionate about content and helping publishers scale their businesses through powerful digital marketing strategies. In her free time, she expands her knowledge of tech.