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What are the best DSPs for programmatic advertising

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Best DSPs for Programmatic Advertising

Ted Jordan shares his list of best DSPs for Programmatic Advertising so you don’t have to lose time searching the internet to find the right Demand-Side Platform for your campaigns.

Advertisers often ask Ted Jordan what the best DSPs for Programmatic Advertising are and how to choose one. Using a good Demand-Side Platform is key to succeed and reach potential converters. With a large number of managed and self-served DSPs in the Programmatic ecosystem, it may be difficult to pick a platform. How to choose the right one for you?

Used by small and medium businesses, and marketing agencies, DSPs give advertisers access to domains and ad spaces they could not deliver on otherwise. Depending on the ad format, it is sometimes harder to track post-click conversions but analytics and insight tools, available on Demand-Side Platforms, are usually good enough to track the data needed for optimisation.

How to pick a good DSP?

To pick a good DSP, you have to take numerous factors into account: planning tools, bidding rules, ad inventory, etc.

Our Programmatic Expert, Ted Jordan, combined for you a list of important factors to consider when choosing a Demand-Side Platform. This way, you’ll have all the necessary information to pick the best DSP for your Programmatic campaigns.

Podium for the best DSPs for Programmatic Advertising.

Factors to consider when choosing a DSP

Before choosing a DSP for your Programmatic ads, take these factors into account:

  • Cross-platform/cross-device possibilities.
  • Access and granularity of planning tools.
  • Data privacy and compliance.
  • Type of DSP: self-serve or managed.
  • Integration and compatibility with other platforms and APIs.
  • Support system (chat, mails, tickets, estimated time to receive an answer).
  • Ad formats and ad inventory.
  • UX (user experience).
  • Transparency and cost of platform fees.
  • Analytics tools (filtering options, formats, etc.).
  • Traffic health/ad fraud/brand safety measures.
  • Bidding rules (CPC, CPM, CPA).
  • Access to demo campaigns to test the DSP features.
  • Day parting and scheduling options to deliver when it’s the most profitable.

Considering all these decisive points, here is Ted Jordan’s best DSPs pick for 2024.

Best DSPs in 2024 – Our pick

There are 7 DSPs in our top list this year: Zemanta, The Trade Desk (TTD), Hawk, Xandr, Adform, Google Display & Video 360 (DV360) and Amazon Advertising.

Each of these Demand-Side Platforms has pros and cons and specificities, that’s why we pick the best DSPs for Programmatic Advertising per category.

Best for Display and Native – Zemanta

Zemanta is definitely the best DSP when using Display and Native ad formats. This multi-channel Demand-Side Platform is specialised in post-click behaviour optimisation, which makes it a great advertiser’s ally.

Zemanta’s self-serve DSP offers great features such as automatic campaign optimisation, Google Analytics (GA) and Adobe Analytics integration (server-to-server also called S2S) and competitive CPCs. This DSP also offers content recommendations based on your content and performances: this is the best DSP for performance Native and Display campaigns.

Pros

  • Competitive CPCs and audience fees.
  • Analytics tools integration.
  • Ad format, subdomain and domain optimisation options.
  • Great planner tool granularity for benchmarks.
  • Automatic campaign optimisation.
  • Content suggestions based on content and performances.
  • Customer service is available through various channels: mails, live chats.
  • Plenty of resources available to learn from.

Cons

  • Only focus on Display, Native and Video ad formats.
  • Deals can be time-consuming to set up with the use of specific SSPs.
  • Platform fees calculation based on advertisers spending.
  • Price range on the high side so it might not be the best for small businesses.
Zemanta logo.

Best for cookieless ad formats – Hawk

The best DSP for Programmatic Advertising across multiple channels is Hawk. This cookieless centric platform gives you all the tools you need to deliver across all devices: DOOH, CTV, Audio, etc. For example, its planning tool for DOOH and Audio is so precise you’ll never get any bad surprises when delivering on a specific screen.

Tracking post-click conversions is under development at the time we share this list with you. But drive-to-store data is collected accurately thanks to device IDs. Advertisers can track how many customers went to a store and bought a product after hearing or seeing an ad, for example.

Also, Hawk’s reporting tools are available on a specific interface, which speeds reporting up. You can track all your KPIs and campaigns performances in one place.

Pros

  • Multi-channel DSP with a cookieless formats focus.
  • Great O&O inventory thanks to Azerion.
  • Optimised insights and analytics tools on a separate interface.
  • DOOH and Audio planner granularity and precision.
  • Drive to store tracking performances thanks to Mobile ID.

Cons

  • Cookies tracking under development.
  • Display bidding rule not optimised.
Hawk logo.
Audit to find the best DSPs in Programmatic Advertising.

Best eco-friendly DSP – Adform

DSPs and SSPs generate massive carbon emissions. Just in the US, for example, “58.8 grams of CO2 emissions are wasted on fraud for every 1,000 impressions” (source: Scope3, The State of Sustainable Advertising, December 2023).

To reduce the industry’s carbon footprint, Adform uses a “carbon reduction feature” powered by Scope3, a platform checking the carbon emissions of advertising and tech platforms. You can optimise your campaigns based on carbon footprint: isn’t it exceptional? This makes Adform the best eco-friendly DSP in Programmatic Advertising so far.

This Danish DSP is also great for data privacy compliance and is considered as one of the main competitors of The Trade Desk (TTD). The top 3 countries to deliver with Adform, with 100% viewable traffic, are Denmark, Spain and the US.

Some of the key features of Adform are the automatic bidding improving system and automatic campaign optimisation technologies. Some advanced bidding strategies are used, such as CPA.

Pros

  • Strong ad server and variety of ad formats.
  • Eco-friendly Demand-Side Platform.
  • Adform academy: courses and certifications.
  • Strong CTV and DOOH traffic in European cities.
  • Detailed Analytics.
  • 100% viewable traffic.
  • Automatic bidding improving system and campaign optimisation.
  • Data privacy compliance.

Cons

  • Reach may be limited outside Europe and the US.
  • It takes some time to understand how to use this DSP despite getting access to the Adform academy.
Adform logo.

Best user-friendly DSP – The Trade Desk

The Trade Desk (TTD) is the easiest DSP to use and one of the best platforms for CTV (Connected TV) ads. Experts and new users are able to buy ad spaces easily once they access the platform. Unfortunately, it may sometimes be hard to get an account on this self-serve DSP.

The main selling point of TTD is its strong network: The Trade Desk works with 400+ partners (Hulu, Disney, FOX, Spotify, ESPN, etc.). Mid-May, Netflix announced that its inventory will be accessible through TTD*, which adds even more advantages to this Demand-Side Platform. It’s also possible to integrate many analytics platforms to track your campaigns data.

Another great feature is audience pricing. Indeed, if you select audiences created from the same cookies, from different data providers on TTD, you’ll pay the cheapest fee for these audiences.

Pros

  • Great and available support team.
  • Platform and creatives upload are user-friendly.
  • One of the best platforms for CTV.
  • Strong network with 400+ partners.

Cons

  • Hard to get an account.
  • Algorithm to be improved.
  • Targeting by subdomain is not possible.
  • Reporting tool filtering is lacking (not possible to filter demographic data, for example).
  • High platform fees and minimum spend.
TTD logo.

*Netflix announced in May that its inventory will be available on Microsoft Advertising (Xandr), DV360, TTD and Magnite. Previously, this premium inventory was only available on Xandr.

Best for reach and accessibility – Xandr (Xandr Monetize)

Our top pick for reach and seat accessibility is Xandr (formerly AppNexus), Demand-Side Platform of Microsoft. This Premium DSP is easy to access; even small businesses can create a seat on Xandr. Access to good DSPs is often denied to small businesses, or the minimum spend requested by these platforms is usually too high.

Xandr gives advertisers access to reputable worldwide publishers. The use of first-party data, thanks to Microsoft, provides great data relevance. Additionally, cross device and platforms targeting are on point.

Another reason to choose this Demand-Side Platform, is the large video inventory it offers. Indeed, Xandr’s inventory covers up to 90% of Smart TV households thanks to huge streaming platforms like Netflix.

Pros

  • Seat accessibility.
  • Netflix DSP access and large video inventory.
  • Microsoft’s data and publishers.
  • Robust analytics tools.

Cons

  • Slow creative approval.
  • High CPCs for Display.
  • No access to Hivestack via Xandr.
  • Waiting time when reaching the support team (ticketing system).

Best O&O DSPs – DV360 and Amazon Advertising

There is a tie between Google Display & Video 360 (DV360) and Amazon Advertising for the best O&O DSP place. If you don’t know, O&O means Owned and Operated content in Advertising.

Data is the distinguishable element for these two DSPs: Amazon and Google inventories. On DV360, you can access the Google’s ecosystem such as YouTube. While on Amazon Advertising, Twitch and Prime’s ad spaces are available to use. But great news for DV360 users: Netflix’s inventory will be accessible through DV360 after Q2 2024.

Accurate targeting based on browsing habits, past purchases and search queries allows advertisers to drive sales more easily than on other Demand-Side Platforms. Unfortunately, that’s all the pros for DV360 and Amazon Advertising.

Pros

  • O&O Inventory.
  • Netflix ad spaces for DV360.
  • Data’s accuracy.

Cons

  • Algorithm.
  • High minimum spend and high fees.
  • Limited reach outside of their O&O inventory.
DV360 logo.
Amazon ads logo.

Which DSP will you choose?

Remember, in order to pick the best DSP you need to take into account important features and information such as your budget, your goals and the DSPs features. You now also know what the advantages and disadvantages of each DSP are.

You can, of course, use one or more Demand-Side Platforms to advertise. But in order to save time and money, considerate all the information we have shared with you.

Now that you know how to choose a good DSP, based on your budget and needs, which one will you choose?

If you need help with picking or using a Demand-Side Platform for Programmatic Advertising, reach out to Ted Jordan. This Programmatic Expert will be able to help you.

Feel free to check these other articles on Programmatic Advertising to learn more: what are DSPs, what is Programmatic Advertising, what are SSPs.