Can a single DSP give an advertiser access to all of the desired impressions available on the ad exchanges? I used to think the answer was yes. I thought each DSP had access to the same inventory and that each DSP had the capability to process ALL of the available opportunities from the exchanges. Ahhh, the naïve days of the early DSP era (my thinking was so 2009). I posed this question to most of the DSP owners that I work with and I am pleased to report that all of them were honest about the fact that their DSP couldn’t make every impression available to a single advertiser. The reality is that a single DSP can’t connect/ interact with the exchanges in a way that gives an advertiser full access to the inventory they are seeking.
So what is an advertiser to do? Use multiple DSP’s? (Yes). And what does this mean for potential DSP owners? If you are large holding company thinking about buying a DSP, doesn’t it reduce its value to you if you can’t build your entire “trading desk” around one DSP? I think the answer is yes. It seems to me that agencies need to focus on building a demand platform that has ability to integrate with the entire pool of available inventory. This will require working with multiple DSP’s, multiple ad networks and directly with publishers. For a demand side platform to be really valuable, and a single solution that can meet an advertiser’s needs, it needs to have access to all of the inventory in the marketplace (or as much as possible).
Imagine if a Search Marketing platform didn’t allow you to bid on all of the keywords that you wanted to purchase. You would end up using multiple platforms. Unfortunately, this is where we are with DSP’s. Will the answer be that DSP’s develop the capability to access all the exchange inventory, or will they end up differentiating themselves in another way? My guess is the latter. It is probably time to say goodbye to the concept of totally neutral platforms.