The Adjust Mobile Measurement Glossary

Demand-side Platform | Definition

What is a demand-side platform?

A demand-side platform (DSP) is a type of software that allows an advertiser to buy advertising with the help of automation. Because they allow mobile advertisers to buy high quality traffic at scale with minimal friction, DSPs are a powerful marketing automation tool.

There are two important stages to how a demand-side platform works. First, the advertiser uploads creative, sets up targeting and puts down a budget for their campaigns. This can all be done via the dashboard. Once the campaign creative is uploaded, the DSP scours through its network of publishers for sites and mobile apps that fit the advertiser’s criteria and makes a bid for placement. After this, the DSP resolves the bid, places the ad, and manages payment – all in a matter of milliseconds.

Why are demand-side platforms important?

The most obvious way in which DSPs are important to mobile marketing also applies to automation in general: this process allows marketers to avoid spending time and energy on something that can be completed by an automated machine. Rather than manually contacting hundreds of publishers with offers to advertise, DSPs help advertisers quickly set up campaigns and manage them with ease. This allows user acquisition experts to spend more time working on other valuable areas – such as user base segmentation – to improve performance long-term.

Another reason why DSPs are proving particularly useful to mobile advertisers is that campaign performance can be managed in real time. Instead of having to wait for a campaign to end, mobile advertisers can easily adjust campaigns from DSPs without causing disruption.

This means that advertisers can invest money into a DSP more quickly if a campaign is performing well, and campaigns that are performing badly can be pulled to avoid unnecessary damage.

Furthermore, the automated element of DSPs means that advertisers can easily scale their efforts on mobile. Previously, advertisers’ efforts to expand could be held back by physical constraints such as geographical location. DSPs allow advertisers to overcome this by allowing them to buy traffic with new publishers, and in new locales, with ease. This helps mobile advertisers take advantage of the globalized nature of the mobile app economy.

Demand-side platforms and Adjust

While DSPs offer advertisers access to campaign management tools, comparing performance across DSPs can prove difficult. And with more networks running DSPs, it’s essential to compare and contrast advertising performance in the long-term.

With Adjust’s advanced mobile attribution tools, advertisers can easily keep track of how different DSPs are performing. By logging into the Adjust attribution dashboard, it is possible to compare the performance of different DSP providers alongside one another, broken down to the creative or placement delivered. Adjust also lists a number of DSPs as integrated partners (you can see our full list here). These platforms have integrated with the Adjust API, which means it is even simpler to examine performance. To learn more about the Adjust dashboard, take a look at our product page.