Supply Side Platform (SSP) explained

Ana Kealy

Ana Kealy



Supply Side Platform (SSP) explained

Programmatic advertising has changed the game of digital advertising, and helped both advertisers and publishers diversify and grow. It is an advertising method that yields great results and has proven to be targeted, scalable and efficient. In a previous blog post, we looked at the Demand Side Platform (DSP) as the programmatic advertising platform available to Advertisers to increase their reach and revenues. Publishers in turn, can use a Supply Side Platform (SSP). So what is an SSP, how does it work, and how does it benefit Publishers? In this article, we are going to answer all of these questions and more.

What is a Supply Side Platform (SSP)?

A Supply Side Platform (SSP) is a programmatic advertising platform that allows Publishers and digital media owners to manage and automate the selling of their ad inventory. 

The SSP is an essential part of the Real Time Bidding (RTB) process and it helps Publishers connect simultaneously to multiple ad exchanges, ad networks and DSPs. By offering their ad inventory to a multitude of demand sources, Publishers are guaranteed the best returns. 

How does a Supply Side Platform (SSP) work?

Digital advertising has moved on from the traditional deals that Publisher sales teams were closing with advertisers. As the world turned to digital technology, the demand for ad space has grown exponentially so the manual placing of ads is no longer a viable option. This is where programmatic advertising comes into play. 

To explain how an SSP works, we will break down the process in a few steps:

  1. Publishers create their sites and zones on the platform: they add their website URLs, assign the ad formats they wish to their ad zones, and they filter the ads through the various criteria available. 
  2. The SSP through its connections with ad exchanges and DSPs has advertisers looking to place their ads.
  3. Once a user visits a publisher site, an ad request is sent to the SSP, which, in turn, performs bid requests to the different demand sources matching the previously set criteria, allowing them to bid for the available ad space.
  4. The winning ad is then displayed on the publisher site. 

A Supply Side Platform enables the Publisher to have different settings for each of their ad zones. They can Block ad types or specific products, customize their ad zones, set different rates and use all of the existing targeting options to define the partners they want to use for different segments of traffic. 

What are the benefits of a Supply Side Platform (SSP)?

  • Variety of demand sources: an SSP gives Publishers the opportunity of making their inventory available to more Advertisers by integrating with multiple DSPs, ad exchanges and networks. 
  • Maximizing revenues: having multiple high quality demand sources means more bidders take part in the real-time bidding process, driving higher value bids.
  • Pricing control: SSPs also give publishers the ability to set “Floor prices” through which they can set a minimum price for their inventory.
  • Transparency and control: Publishers can monitor their ad inventory sales and have full control when selecting and integrating their demand sources. 
  • One platform: the ad inventory as well as all demand sources can be managed from just one platform.
  • Automated selling: an SSP automates the selling of Publisher inventory, thus removing all the manual processes.
  • Brand protection and relevancy: Publishers can set various criteria to ensure that they only sell their inventory to specific advertisers, or allow only certain types of ads.  

EXADS Supply Side Platform (SSP) Solution

With EXADS SSP, Publishers can connect to the programmatic Real Time Bidding process to sell their ad inventory and ensure that no excess inventory is left unmonetized. There are a large number of features available to Publishers looking to build and customize their own Supply Side Platforms with EXADS technology. Below we will look at some of these:

Customizable and white-label 

It is a well known fact that using an off-the-shelf ad serving platform will save you time, money and resources. However, the ad tech solutions offered by EXADS are more than this. They are all customizable. 

In the case of Publishers, requirements can differ quite significantly depending on the type of digital media owned or business model. For this reason, our Supply Side Platforms can be customized to include all the features you need, whether you own one or multiple websites.

Our SSP solution is also a white-label platform, which means that it will carry the Publisher’s logo, preferred colors and a unique domain of their choice. EXADS builds platforms that reflect and reinforce the Publisher’s branding. 

Powerful Reporting Tools:

One of the prerequisite features of a programmatic advertising platform is the ability to monitor performance. With EXADS SSP, Publishers can get granular reports that provide insights regarding their advertisers and fill-rates. 

Publishers can access information like who are the advertisers that bid on their inventory, the prices that the inventory sells at, the number of ads that an advertiser buys, with details on geo, inventory type, devices, and many more metrics. All of this information will help Publishers in making important decisions regarding optimizations required and how to best sell their inventory. 

Publishers can create up to 50 customized dashboards to see in real-time the metrics that matter to them. They can create in depth reports, save and share them with their teams.

Custom Integrations

The major benefit of using an SSP and programmatic advertising is that you can expand your demand sources. This means that the programmatic platform employed must make it extremely easy to integrate with ad networks, ad exchanges and Demand Side Platforms (DSP). 

Through the EXADS SSP solution, Publishers can avail of integrations that are already in place, with an array of demand sources, or they can easily add other sources using a few straightforward steps. EXADS custom integrations can help you set up and start offering your ad inventory in no time! 

Header Bidding 

Header bidding is without a doubt the most talked about advanced technique used in programmatic advertising. You can find all the information you need in our previous blog article,  The Ultimate Guide to Header Bidding and Prebid.js, where you will also find an example of how to integrate header bidding with EXADS RTB (Real Time Bidding). 

Ad Inventory Management

With EXADS SSP, Publishers can create as many Sites and Zones as required, each with their own settings.

The EXADS Supply Side Platform offers Publishers a variety of options to set the criteria for the types of advertisers that can bid on their ad inventory and the ads that are allowed to be displayed on their sites and zones. Depending on the content and audience of their sites, the platform owner can decide on what filters should be included and the criteria based on which advertisers and ads can be blocked.

Set Relevant Targeting

When opening ad inventory to multiple demand sources, on one hand it is important to show ads that are relevant and meet the expectations of the site audience. On the other hand, the better targeted the ads, the more revenue they will generate for the Advertisers meaning that the demand for the ad inventory will grow. 

This is why EXADS has advanced targeting features which allow Publishers to ensure that the ads they display meet both of these requirements. 

EXADS SSP allows Publishers to configure their demand partners to be called within very specific segments of traffic. So for example they can say that partner A is used only for USA and mobile traffic, but partner B is used for all USA traffic, etc. So when creating exchange campaigns (which serve as pointers for the system to perform those external bid requests), Publishers can use any of the existing targeting options.

The targeting options include: Category, Country, Language, Device, Operating System, Browser, Mobile Carrier, Keywords, etc. Moreover, with Frequency Capping, Publishers can control the amount of times an end user is shown the same ad. 

Variety of Ad Formats

EXADS SSP supports a large variety of ad formats, giving Publishers the ability to manage their ad inventory for display, video, native, mobile, etc. Some of the formats available are: 

  • Banners, including classic Display Banners in various sizes, Sticky Banners or Large Footers. 
  • Interstitial Ads - Desktop Full Page Interstitial, which fills the full desktop screen when the user navigates a site, Mobile Full Page Interstitial or Native Interstitial.
  • Native Ads - Native Recommendation, a fully customizable widget that features a responsive or custom size image and a short text: title and description, or Native Exit.
  • Video Ads with In-Stream Video (VAST), Video Slider, Outstream Video, Video Banners or In-Video Banners (VAST).

Additional ad formats available include Email Clicks, Instant Messages, Popunders and Push Notifications. 

Intuitive User Interface (UI)

The ultimate role of an SSP is to help Publishers to maximize their revenues from their ad inventory in an automated way. However, in order to avail of all the functionalities and features, the user, in this case the Publisher must be able to navigate the Supply Side Platform easily. This is why EXADS Supply Side Platform has an intuitive UI that makes it easy to use by beginners as well as more experienced users. From managing campaigns to managing billing, or enabling different features, everything can be quickly found and accessed.


To conclude with, the Supply Side Platform is the part of the programmatic ecosystem that was created for Publishers to maximize their ad inventory. The SSP puts the control back into the hands of the media owners and gives them the transparency they need. 

If you are looking for a powerful SSP where you will be able to sell your inventory directly or through RTB auctions, then contact us today and let’s start planning your journey with EXADS! 

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Ana Kealy

Ana Kealy

Product Marketing Manager

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