The Changing Role Of DSPs

Demand-side platforms (DSPs) have caught my attention. I predict they will change dramatically during the next year, moving from simply connecting brands to ad servers, toward providing what a Forrester Research analyst calls "customer," or custom, "intelligence" to sort through a variety of data. While the Forrester analyst refers to these companies as Data Management Platforms (DMPs), which are completely different, I see DSPs moving into this role.

Segmented addressable audiences will become a bigger part of behavioral targeting across social media sites, and DSPs will take a bigger role when it comes to providing targeted data and audiences.

The Forrester analyst defines the most "powerful" DMP feature as the ability to create relevant audience segments from aggregated data and push it out to multiple digital media, such as display advertising and site-side targeting. She explains that while ecosystem remains "nascent, but rapidly evolving," brands and ad execs will reexamine new capabilities that partners can offer.

Late last week, for example, both DataXu and MediaMath released social platforms, based on their respective technologies, that uses social data from Facebook, and combine that data with display audience segments to more finely target ads to consumers in social sites. Facebook let advertises build a platform using member data to target and optimize ads on the site.

DSPs need to find their position in the advertising supply chain -- which should become to optimize media buys in real time. DataXu Product Marketing Director Shane Keats said his company will sit as the mediator to provide behavioral insights.

In the latest Forrester Research study, "The Future of Digital Media Buying," analysts explain how "successful buyers are 'always on' in monitoring and optimizing programs, through both automated and manual optimization processes." The study points to DataXu's and MediaMath's platforms, which continually assess available inventory, refining campaign optimization models, and making real-time bidding decisions.

These companies can look more and more like agencies, offering service and insight on top of the media buying tools available through their platforms. Yep, the DSP continues to evolve. What will it look like six months from now?

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2 comments about "The Changing Role Of DSPs".
  1. Andy Hunn from Resonate Networks , September 29, 2011 at 8:24 a.m.

    The best DSPs can do is regurgitate what 3rd party data providers tell them is true about an audience. And there's been numerous articles of late about the suspect nature of this cookie data which makes it unreliable. Lack of the right data continues to hamstring scalable campaigns through the DSPs. We're well down the path of providing insights to advertisers - real consumer values insights for brands.

  2. Jackie Kmetz from SpaceCurve , September 30, 2011 at 1:39 p.m.

    Andy, while there has been alot of question about the accuracy of cookie data, there are plenty of other companies putting significant research dollars and effort into other forms of analysis such as semantic as well as cross-referencing with other data sources to validate and improve consumer info for increased targeting. My company's social media monitoring platform, Visible Intelligence, for example is using these techniques for sentiment, psychographics and website analysis.