How to differentiate between an SSP and DSP?

DSP and SSP are acronyms of two technologies in the advertisement industry that help manage ad inventories. Let’s have a look at what each of them really are to better differentiate between a DSP and SSP.


A platform that allows advertisers to buy many ad spaces from various publishers. 

DSPs allow advertising agencies and online marketers to get the best available ad spaces to display their ads.

They enable it through audience targeting and to sort the web content using their parameters. 

In addition to choose the correct inventory, a DSP will allow advertisers to deliver and keep track of the ads for optimization processes.


A technology that allows website owners to manage their ad impressions and raise their income from digital media. 

They help gather many types of advertising demands for publishers. They do this using ad exchanges and traditional Ad Networks. DSPs will collect the advertising demand to let advertisers know publishers’ demands for ads. This enables the publisher’s inventory to be bid from the SSP using a Real-Time-Bidding (RTB) system.

Main difference between DSP and SSP

To conclude, DSP makes it easier, fast, and less pricy to search and analyze segments of target audience. For example, gender, age, income, location, etc). 

As for an SSP, it is used by website owners to maximize their ad revenue and sell ad impressions to various ad exchanges and DSPs directly.

The customer for DSPs is the advertiser.

The customer to use an SSP is a website owner or publisher. 

Let’s conclude and help you understand with an example of how an SSP and DSP work. For example, you open a browser and search for a nearby Chinese restaurant. The details of the restaurant and your details are forwarded to an ad exchange or SSP. This makes the upcoming ad you see per your interest. The ad comes under auction. It then passes to the bidder with the highest auction price and one who is in search of customers having details like yours. Real-Time Bidding aids in the process to load targeted ads. 

Therefore an SSP, DSP, and RTB are all related to each other. They help advertisers and media buyers in sale and purchase of ad impressions.