Programmatic Advertising
Author: Anete Jodzevica 13 minute read
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10 Best Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) For Programmatic Advertising in 2024

Demand-side platforms (DSPs) are vital tools that save time and enhance campaign effectiveness. These platforms connect advertisers with valuable digital ad impressions, optimizing the reach and impact of their marketing efforts. However, managing DSPs can be complex, so selecting the right platform that delivers great results, real-time performance data and robust support is crucial. 

This article delves into the top 10 DSPs, showcasing the leading players in the programmatic advertising ecosystem and helping you navigate your way to digital advertising success.

Brief Overview of Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising is the automated buying and selling of digital ad space. It uses AI and machine learning for real-time transactions instead of manual negotiations and predefined prices. 

The key elements of programmatic advertising include advertisers using DSPs to purchase ad inventory, publishers using SSPs to sell ad space, and ad exchanges acting as digital marketplaces. This automated process allows for efficient, large-scale access to publisher sites in milliseconds.

What is a Demand Side Platform (DSP)?

A demand-side platform (DSP) is a programmatic advertising platform that allows advertisers and agencies to buy ad inventory from multiple ad exchanges using real-time bidding (RTB) technology. DSPs typically provide a centralized interface where marketers can manage digital ads across various networks, including mobile apps, search engines, and social media platforms. 

How do DSPs fit into the programmatic advertising ecosystem?

DSPs are an essential part of the programmatic advertising ecosystem. Their strength lies in their efficiency in ad buying. DSPs enable purchases from multiple sources in one place, making the process faster, cheaper, and more streamlined.

DSPs represent the demand side, working for advertisers and agencies to purchase the best available ad spaces based on specified criteria such as audience targeting, budget, and campaign goals. They interact with SSPs, representing publishers looking to sell their digital ad space. This interaction occurs within ad exchanges.

Key features of DSPs

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.

DSPs allow advertisers to set ad creatives, manage and optimize bids, and do audience targeting.

Real-time bidding (RTB)

By using RTB technology, DSPs participate in ad auctions, bidding for ad impressions in milliseconds. This allows advertisers to optimize ad spend and make real-time adjustments based on immediate insights.

Audience targeting

DSPs utilize user data to enhance message relevance. They can target audiences by geolocation (country, city, time zone), demographics (gender, marital status, income, education level, language, interests), and device type (desktop, mobile, tablet). 

Features like frequency capping and dayparting make advertising highly individualized, while cookie-level retargeting helps to engage users who visited but didn’t convert.

Data management

DSPs empower advertisers with data analytics to track KPIs, analyze audience insights, and adjust campaigns in real-time for optimal performance. They store performance data and generate aggregated reports accessible through the user interface. 

User data storage, including ads viewed and audience segments, is crucial for frequency capping and retargeting features. DSPs may integrate with DMPs to access additional audience data essential for campaign optimization.

Ad inventory access

The success of RTB campaigns heavily depends on the choice of ad inventory. DSP platforms allow media buyers to pre-define the type of inventory they want, making purchasing easy and secure. Most DSPs offer inventory based on site traffic, site hits, and commission rates, providing extensive reach and flexibility.

Ad buying, management, and optimization

DSPs enable advertisers to purchase ad impressions across multiple publishers’ websites, targeting specific users based on parameters such as location and previous browsing behavior.

Additionally, advertisers can use DSPs to set ad creatives, manage and optimize bids, and perform detailed audience targeting.

Criteria for Evaluating DSPs

Using the criteria below to choose a DSP will help you find a platform that meets your advertising needs and supports efficient and effective campaign management.

Inventory and reach

A DSP should support various creative assets, such as display, video, CTV, and native ads, and optimize them with responsive and adaptive creatives across different screens. 

It’s also essential for the DSP to reach the right target audience and support your first-party data. Look for advanced targeting options such as demographic, geographic, behavioral, contextual, and predictive targeting to ensure that ads reach the right person at the right time.

Targeting capabilities

Since picking the right target audience is one of the core functions of a DSP, DSPs should offer robust audience segmentation and targeting features. 

A good DSP should enable filtering based on contextual attributes and insights, such as previous user interactions and behavioral points. The more audience filter options available, the better the DSP can select the most suitable audience for each campaign.

Data integration

Seamless integration with existing ad server data, DMPs, customer data platforms, and other relevant partners and platforms is necessary. This allows for effectively utilizing various data sources, enhancing campaign optimization and retargeting efforts.

User interface and ease of use

Given the complexity of adtech platforms, a DSP should offer a simple and intuitive user interface. This will help teams with limited programmatic advertising knowledge implement successful ad campaigns more easily.

Reporting and analytics

Effective DSPs provide comprehensive data analytics and insights, allowing users to track KPIs like ROAS, conversion rates, and CTRs. Look for real-time reporting and dashboards, which are important for clearly displaying campaign performance.

Customer support and service

Strong customer support is vital for maximizing a DSP’s benefits. Look for DSPs with robust training resources, detailed documentation, and reliable customer service. 

Note: some DSPs only provide dedicated account management support during onboarding to ensure a smooth transition and effective platform use. 

Best Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) in 2024

DSPsRetargetingFrequency cappingMobile advertisingPrivate marketplaceContextual targeting
Google Display & Video 360YesN/AYesYesYes
The Trade DeskYesYesYesYesYes
Xandr Invest (Microsoft Invest)NoYesYesNoNo
Amazon DSPYesYesYesYesYes
SmartyAds DSPNoNoYesNoNo
Criteo Commerce MaxYesYesYesN/AYes
Yahoo! Advertising DSPYesYesYesN/AYes

1. Google Display & Video 360 

Display & Video 360 is a comprehensive programmatic advertising solution within the Google Marketing Platform, suitable for businesses of all sizes. It includes five key modules: creatives, campaigns, audiences, inventory, and insights. 

The platform supports cross-channel media planning, various ad formats, audience management, and robust fraud prevention. With numerous integrations, including Analytics 360 and YouTube, and ongoing feature updates, Display & Video 360 offers powerful tools for reaching global audiences and optimizing ad campaigns, providing a seamless experience for advertisers.

Google Display and Video 360

2. The Trade Desk

The Trade Desk is a self-serve digital advertising platform founded in 2009, renowned for its transparency and robust data capabilities. It supports diverse ad formats, including CTV, display, mobile, social media, and programmatic audio, with advanced targeting options through RTB, PMP, direct, and guaranteed deals. The platform offers insights, automation, and optimization for cross-channel advertisers, enabling real-time audience reach at scale with guaranteed viewability and execution. 

Integrating first-party data, The Trade Desk boasts a network of over 225 partners, including Hulu, Disney, and Spotify. Key features include full-funnel attribution, real-time customized reporting, expert dedicated support, and top-quality traffic monitoring, making it suitable for experienced advertisers and newcomers.


3. Adform

Adform DSP streamlines ad operations by combining DSP, DMP, and ad-serving capabilities within a single integrated platform. Serving a global client base of 25,000, Adform provides advanced marketing capabilities and seamless campaign management. Its comprehensive solutions include an ad server, DSP, DMP, Adform FLOW, SSP, and a tailored platform for publishers. 

Adform’s DSP technology enables advertisers to drive sales and transactions through digital media ad campaigns. It offers tools for expanded reach, fully automated bidding, and smart investment decisions based on real-time performance data from exchanges and ad networks.


4. Xandr Invest DSP (Microsoft Invest) 

Xandr Invest, now owned by Microsoft but created by AT&T, is a DSP specializing in CTV and digital video ad inventory. Formerly known as AppNexus, it offers extensive targeting with over 2,500 audience segments derived from high-quality first-party data. 

Xandr supports various cross-channel ad formats, including display, mobile, video, in-app, OTT, and CTV, optimized for different environments and resolutions. Its real-time attribution and comprehensive reporting system provide clear performance insights. 

Additionally, Xandr ensures brand safety and fraud prevention through rigorous traffic monitoring and integration with safety providers.

Microsoft Invest

5. Amazon DSP

Amazon DSP is a robust platform that enables purchasing display, video, and audio ads across a vast network of publishers, including Amazon-owned sites like Zappos and Audible. It features customizable ad templates, effective analytics with Amazon-specific metrics, audience insights for market comparison, and A/B testing capabilities. 

By leveraging Amazon’s extensive consumer data, it offers robust targeting options, cross-device tracking, and seamless integration with Amazon’s ad ecosystem, making it ideal for e-commerce brands. Available to both Amazon sellers and non-sellers, Amazon DSP provides both managed (typically requiring a $50k minimum spend) and self-service options.

Amazon Ads

6. StackAdapt 

StackAdapt DSP excels in native advertising by seamlessly integrating ads into relevant content and enhancing user engagement. Recognized among North America’s top digital marketers, this cutting-edge programmatic platform leverages advanced machine-learning capabilities and offers a user-friendly experience. 

StackAdapt optimizes ad fetching at scale for app developers and mobile advertisers, with SSP partners providing premium mobile ad space. Its ad server and real-time DMP ensure maximum flexibility with minimal latency. Tools such as geolocation, in-app data, and ADID tracking enable advertisers to gain valuable audience insights and improve performance.


7. SmartyAds DSP 

SmartyAds DSP is a leading full-stack programmatic advertising solution, providing essential functionalities for managing and optimizing profitable ad campaigns. Ideal for advertisers and agencies seeking global reach, PMP, and direct deals. 

SmartyAds sources traffic from top-tier countries such as the United States, India, Israel, Canada, and various European nations. Their people-based approach offers both a self-serve platform and managed services, ensuring comprehensive support and effective campaign management.


8. Criteo Commerce Max

Criteo is a leading adtech platform renowned for its advanced retargeting capabilities and extensive omnichannel reach. It serves over 1.2 billion ads annually across various formats, including desktop, mobile, tablet, and video. 

Its key features include precise targeting options, real-time reporting, and access to a vast network of premium publishers supporting CPC and CPM-based campaigns. 

Commerce Max, Criteo’s self-service DSP, offers brands and agencies a unified platform to access retail media inventory onsite and across premium publishers offsite. This enhances retailers’ ability to integrate marketplace and in-store monetization technologies.

Criteo DSP

9. Yahoo! Advertising DSP

Yahoo! Advertising DSP offers a robust platform with extensive reach and advanced targeting options, enabling advertisers to deliver personalized ad experiences and maximize performance across Yahoo’s properties and partner sites. 

The platform provides transparency, premium capabilities, unique insights in a cookieless environment, comprehensive measurement tools, and access to premium content. Compatible across various ad formats, Yahoo! Advertising DSP empowers advertisers to reach their target audience and drive campaign success effectively.

Yahoo advertising dsp

10. MediaMath

MediaMath is a leading DSP with one of the largest networks of supply partners. It is actively used by over 4,000 advertisers globally. It supports various ad formats, including DOOH ads, and offers a strong support team. 

Additionally, MediaMath stands out with its use of machine learning algorithms. The platform continuously learns from user interactions and adjusts targeting parameters to deliver more relevant ads. Thus, it’s a good choice for advertisers who value innovation and precision in their ad campaigns.


Niche DSPs for Specific Needs

Mobile DSPs

Mobile DSPs focus on serving ads on mobile sites and apps and ensure that ads are properly formatted for different screen sizes, providing a seamless user experience. 

These DSPs connect to various ad exchanges, SSPs, websites, and mobile apps, providing access to a broad range of mobile traffic sources. Additionally, mobile DSPs usually support advertising across both mobile and desktop platforms.

  • Example DSP: InMobi

Video DSPs

Video DSPs specialize in the programmatic buying and delivery of video ads across various digital platforms. These platforms focus on video content and are designed to optimize video ad placements to reach the most relevant audiences. Video DSPs provide advanced tools for targeting, managing, and measuring the performance of video ad campaigns.

  • Example DSP: TheTradeDesk

Native advertising DSPs

Native advertising DSPs specialize in delivering ads that seamlessly blend with the content of the websites or apps they appear on. Unlike traditional display ads, native ads match the look, feel, and function of the media format in which they are presented. 

This integration makes them less intrusive and more engaging for users, often leading to higher engagement rates and better overall performance.

  • Example DSP: Taboola


Choosing a proper DSP is crucial for successful programmatic advertising. Some of the best DSPs provide advertisers and media buyers access to broad reach and essential functionalities for launching, managing, and analyzing ad campaigns. 

To select the right DSP, identify your specific needs, review each platform’s features, and consider user feedback. Understanding your brand’s goals, target audience, and resources will guide you to the perfect DSP match. 

Remember to explore thoroughly and try a few options to make the best choice for your ad strategy!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between a DSP and an SSP?

A DSP  allows advertisers to buy ad space programmatically, while an SSP helps publishers sell their ad inventory.

How do DSPs ensure brand safety?

DSPs use advanced algorithms, blacklists, whitelists, and third-party verification tools to ensure ads appear on safe and appropriate sites.

What are the costs associated with using a DSP?

Costs typically include a platform fee (percentage of ad spend), data usage fees, and potential costs for additional features like premium targeting options.

How can I measure the success of my programmatic advertising campaigns?

Success can be measured using KPIs such as CTRs, conversion rates, ROI, and overall engagement metrics.

Can small businesses benefit from using DSPs?

Yes, DSPs can help small businesses achieve efficient and targeted ad placements, often with flexible budgets and scalable solutions.

What role does artificial intelligence play in DSPs?

AI in DSPs optimizes ad placements and targeting by analyzing vast amounts of data to predict user behavior and improve campaign performance.

How does a DSP handle user data and privacy concerns?

DSPs comply with data privacy regulations (e.g., GDPR, CCPA) by using anonymized data, obtaining user consent, and providing transparency in data usage.

About Anete Jodzevica
Anete is a content marketing specialist at Setupad. In addition to writing articles, she works at gathering information, verifying data, and explaining complex concepts to others. Anete believes that simplicity is the key to brilliance.

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