7 Factors to Consider When Choosing a DSP Partner

Better advertising starts with a data-driven approach that includes transparency and control


s media consumption continues to evolve, every marketer knows the rules are changing for them as well. Gone are the guardrails that once helped you guide your customers through awareness, consideration and purchase. Now, consumers are in the driver’s seat, choosing everything from how they find the products they like to how they purchase them.

This complex environment presents obvious challenges for marketers, and a flood of technology companies have arrived to address them, offering expertise in specific aspects of the journey. But in a lot of cases, they’ve really just created more complexity without actually helping marketers reach their consumers and provide the best experience.

Finding the right demand-side platform (DSP) partner to help you manage your digital advertising can be daunting. We suggest focusing on seven key areas to find a partner that can deliver the results you’re seeking.

1. The ability to control your data

In today’s digital world, data could be considered the new oil—your most valuable asset. It helps you understand what your consumers care about, what motivates them and why they end up making a purchase. So, it must be the foundation of everything you do. You want to keep your data close and you want to keep solid control of it. Your DSP partners must allow this and make all data accessible to you as the client.

2. Transparency and independence

Where is your money going? To your data partner? The publisher? Your tech partner? Complete transparency regarding every dollar and impression is a must. So, you should know: Is your DSP partner choosing the right channel and inventory source based on what matters to you or based on their own bottom line? Are their algorithms covering all types of inventory or do they prefer sites that are within their portfolio? Do they have access to premium inventory? How do you know your messages will be placed in the right context? Maintaining that alignment by choosing a partner that is independent and transparent is key.

3. Actionable insights in real time 

One of the biggest reasons transparency matters so much in choosing a DSP partner is that it allows you to see the whole picture and know exactly what is happening. This means not only understanding what’s helping to drive your business, but also being able to make critical changes in real time. What information will your partner provide so you can make immediate adjustments to your campaign? If you need to wait a week, a month or three months for your reporting, it will be too late to make adjustments.

4. Sophisticated targeting

How are you able to segment your audience to ensure you’re reaching the right prospects. Demographic segmentation—things like household income, age or gender—are simply table stakes for sophisticated digital marketers. Are you able to target people by interests? What about website behavior, such as time spent on page? What triggers are you able to identify? All this is critical to ensuring that you’re delivering the kinds of ad experiences that will be of interest and will engage your targets, and more effective in achieving your business goals.

5. Analytics and insights

What do you know about the actual performance of your campaign? If your program is not resonating, why not? Is it a targeting issue? A creative problem? Maybe the product itself isn’t resonating. Your DSP partner needs to provide you with the kind of actionable information that can let you understand what’s working and what’s not across multiple channels. For instance, if most of your acquisition comes from a single publisher on a single channel, it’s only a matter of time before that model breaks. Data analytics are crucial.

6. Service and support

This is, of course, true for choosing any business partner, but gauging the kind of service and support you can expect from your DSP should be a part of your selection process. This involves understanding what kind of service and support they will really provide—in presale mode, throughout the proof of concept and beyond. When the lights go off and it’s just you and the technology platform, you need to know who’s going to be managing it. Does my team have the right skill set? Will they need retraining? Are they even the right fit for this role? And how does my agency fit into the picture? These are all questions you’ll want to consider.

7. Personalized ad content

Your DSP strategy should be about delivering the kinds of rich, personal experiences that engage and delight your customers. This means you need to be able to customize and personalize your messaging across all the various touchpoints of the customer journey. The truth is, unless you actually have a good story creating a compelling experience that’s based on what your consumers care about, they won’t stop and pay attention, much less make a purchase. They have no reason to.

And finally, these solutions must all work together and be part of a streamlined technology stack that enables you to seamlessly move through each and communicate effectively. Find a partner who can deliver this, and you’ll have the confidence you’re making marketing decisions based on the right information and delivering a truly satisfying advertising experience.

Hosana Thomas is manager, product marketing at Adobe Advertising Cloud. Previously, she worked across sales, learning and development and product marketing for TubeMogul for almost five years. 


Note: This article originally appeared on Adweek.

Hosana Thomas