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How to choose a good DSP

By Ana Kealy

May 18, 2023

Are you wondering how to choose a good DSP? Interested in understanding why using a DSP is essential for your advertising success? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of demand-side platforms (DSPs), explaining what they are, why they are crucial for effective advertising campaigns, and how to identify the best DSPs available. Gain valuable insights to make informed decisions and optimize your digital advertising strategy.

Table of contents: 

What is a DSP?

A DSP (Demand-Side Platform) is a technology platform that enables advertisers to purchase and manage digital ad inventory from multiple ad exchanges and publishers through a single interface. It allows advertisers to target specific audiences and optimize their ad campaigns in real-time, based on data and analytics. DSPs are commonly used in programmatic advertising, where ads are purchased and placed automatically through algorithms and bidding processes, instead of being negotiated and placed manually.

Why use a DSP?

Advertisers use a DSP to streamline and automate the process of buying and managing digital ad inventory from multiple publishers and ad exchanges. DSPs offer advanced targeting capabilities and real-time optimization, based on data and analytics, to help advertisers reach the right audience with the right message at the right time. DSPs also provide transparency in pricing and ad placement, as well as streamlined campaign management, which can save time and resources for advertisers.

How a DSP Works

How to choose the right DSP?

Choosing the right DSP is not an easy task as the success of your programmatic advertising efforts depend on the technology you use and how performant this is. Before making a decision, advertisers must have a clear picture of what they want to achieve, who their target audience is, what their budget and goals are. Generally, when selecting the right DSP for your business, you should consider the following capabilities:

Reach and Scale

A good DSP should have access to a large number of publishers and ad exchanges. This means that the DSP can serve your ads to a wide audience across multiple platforms and devices. Look for a DSP that has relationships with a variety of networks and publishers, including websites, mobile apps, and social media platforms. This is crucial in determining whether the DSP can meet the advertising objectives of a business and deliver a satisfactory return on investment (ROI).

Targeting Capabilities

Advanced targeting capabilities are essential for effective advertising. Look for a DSP that allows you to target your ads based on factors such as demographics, behavior, interests, and location. This will help ensure that your ads are seen by the right audience at the right time, increasing the chances of engagement and conversion.

EXADS DSP for example, offers targeting options that provide high accuracy and guarantee maximum impact for your campaigns:

  • Country, Region & City
  • Language
  • Browser
  • Operating System
  • Device
  • Mobile Carrier
  • IP & IP ranges
  • Keywords
  • Behavioral Retargeting
  • Virtual Reality
  • ISP
  • Time Schedule
  • Domains

Some of the DSPs available on the market like the EXADS DSP, also provide advertisers with the ability to create custom key/value targeting options, including the use of first-party publisher data. This means that advertisers can leverage their own data or data from publishers to target specific audiences with greater precision and relevance. This feature allows advertisers to tailor their campaigns to specific contexts or environments. For example, they can target users who are browsing specific content categories or who are using particular devices or browsers.


When choosing a DSP you need to ensure that it can provide transparency in pricing, ad placement, and performance. This means that you should have access to detailed information about where your ads are being placed, how much you're paying for each impression, and how your campaigns are performing. This level of transparency will help you understand the true cost of your advertising campaigns and make informed decisions on campaign optimizations and advertising budgets.

User Interface

The user interface of a DSP is important for ease of use and campaign management. Look for a DSP that has a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate and provides detailed reporting and analytics. The interface should also allow you to set up, manage, and optimize your campaigns quickly and easily.

For example, EXADS has put great effort into developing an intuitive UI with a high degree of flexibility and customization. This in turn provides a wonderful UX which includes customizable dashboards, adjustable layouts, advanced statistical reports and a media library for all of your ad creatives, to name a few. The EXADS UI has been designed to make all the information that you need accessible and presented in a format that is easy to understand.

Data and Analytics

Data and analytics are critical for effective advertising. Choose a DSP that has robust data and analytics capabilities that enable you to track the performance of your campaigns and make data-driven decisions. The DSP should provide real-time data on ad impressions, clicks, and conversions, as well as detailed reports on audience demographics and behavior.

The EXADS DSP has some of the best features when it comes to analytics. It provides detailed real-time statistics, including conversions tracking, which gives you full visibility on your media buy. Using EXADS you can avail of data covering over 50 metrics, 25 filters and 25 dimensions to evaluate the performance of your campaigns. Coupled with customizable dashboards, saved filter sets and an intuitive user interface, you have all the tools you need to stay in total control of your digital advertising.

Integration with other tools

Integration with other marketing tools is important for streamlining your advertising efforts. Look for a DSP that can easily integrate with other marketing tools, such as analytics platforms, data management platforms, and ad servers. This will help ensure that your campaigns are as effective as possible and that you can easily manage all aspects of your advertising efforts in one place. 

For this reason, EXADS DSP can be easily integrated with a variety of third party tools as we kept this process as simple as possible. Most importantly, EXADS has integrations that are readily available with a wide number of supply partners and additional OpenRTB supply or custom RTB integrations require minimum effort on the client side. 

Campaigns Optimization and Automation

Programmatic advertising can demand a lot of time and resources to manage. This is why automatic optimizations are important, as they can help you save time, money and effort. Automation tools that use machine learning are a powerful differentiator when applied to bidding for the best ad zones or any other aspect of campaigns. 

EXADS offers two automatic optimizations for your bidding strategies:

  • The first one is the Bidder, which intelligently adjusts your bids for ad zones according to how many conversions they get, and block those that don't convert. In a recent case study, we showed how this feature can help you to reach your targets.  
  • The second one is Smart Bid. This feature automatically determines an optimal bid for your campaigns by analyzing campaign data, and ultimately providing you with your desired Target ROAS or Target CPA. To showcase the extent of the effect that Smart Bid can have on your campaigns, see our case study

To assist you even further, EXADS also provides optimizations for your ad variations and landing pages. This means that you can select from several traffic distribution algorithms, to ensure that the best performing Landing Page and the Ad Variation with the highest conversion rate for a set goal will receive the bigger share of traffic.

Support and Service

Good customer support and service are important for ensuring that you get the most out of your DSP. Choose a DSP that provides responsive customer support, including training and ongoing support. The vendor should also provide regular updates and enhancements to the platform to ensure that you have access to the latest features and capabilities.

One of the key support and service offerings from EXADS is technical support. Our team of technical experts is always available to troubleshoot issues and provide guidance on best practices for using the platform. This support is available 24/7, to ensure that you have the support you need, whenever you need it.

Following a straightforward onboarding process, led by your dedicated Customer Success Manager, you will have access to a range of educational resources and training materials. All of this is designed to help you achieve your advertising goals with ease and efficiency.

What are the best DSPs on the market today?

As per the points discussed above, there is no single best DSP. The most suitable DSP for an advertiser will depend on their specific needs and goals. However, here are a few examples:

  • Google DV 360: Google's DSP offers advanced targeting capabilities and real-time bidding across multiple ad exchanges and inventory sources.
  • The Trade Desk: A popular independent DSP that offers advanced targeting and reporting capabilities, as well as integrations with other marketing tools.
  • MediaMath: A feature-rich DSP that offers advanced targeting, real-time optimization, and comprehensive reporting capabilities.
  • EXADS DSP: A unique white-label programmatic DSP, providing full flexibility for your media buy, with great features.
  • AppNexus (now part of Xandr): AppNexus offers a comprehensive DSP with advanced targeting, real-time optimization, and integrations with other marketing tools.

It's important to note that there are many other DSPs available in the market, and making the right choice will depend on the specific needs, goals, and budget of each business. It's recommended to evaluate several DSPs and compare their features, pricing, and support before making a decision.


In summary, the list of essential criteria such as targeting capabilities, real-time optimizations, integrations, pricing, and support, can guide you in your decision making process when it comes to choosing the right DSP for your business. However, it all depends on what your business goals are, your budget and your expectations. It is recommended to evaluate several DSPs from the ones that are currently available, and compare their features before making a decision.

If you want to learn more about EXADS DSP, contact one of our team members today for a demo!

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Ana Kealy