What is a SSP and DSP in OOH?

It’s an exciting, though challenging, time for the D/OOH world. Evolving this traditionally analogue medium in the digital age means so much more than replacing posters with screens. The biggest leap is the one we are embarking on. Moving into the third era of transaction, where traditional and digital OOH media are bought and sold automatically, online, with the click of a button.

While we still have a way to go, significant strides have been made towards automation. This is, in part, thanks to technological developments bringing the tools and expertise needed to make this happen. On the sell side, this technology is called a Supply Side Platform or SSP. On the buy side, simply, a Demand Side Platform or DSP.

Let’s take a look at what these platforms offer and how they work together.

Image showing automation puzzle coming together

First of all, who are we talking about when we say Demand Side and Supply Side in OOH?

In the UK OOH world, agencies do the majority of media buying and make up the Demand-Side. The largest agencies are Mediacom, Kinetic, Posterscope, Talon, Adcity and Rapport.

The Supply-Side in the UK is dominated by the five largest media owners: JCDecaux, Clear Channel, Ocean Outdoor, Exterion and Primesight. Then there are around 50 smaller media owners, including Limited Space, Outdoor Plus, 8 Outdoor, Boomerang and Kong Outdoor. Individually the inventory of these media owners is small relative to the big five, but when combined, they offer great opportunities for media buyers to reach different, and very specific, audiences.

So, what is an OOH Demand Side Platform?

Put simply, a DSP is a software that automates and streamlines the purchase of D/OOH media for media buyers. Whether they be for a poster specialist, media agency, direct to an advertiser or an open, online marketplace.

A DSP offers media planners an easy to use platform that will “plug into” a media owners inventory. The mission of the DSP is to empower buyers to build, manage and analyse campaigns, from multiple sources, from a central location. They also simplify and open the doors to different purchasing models such as buying by impressions or audiences.

Current OOH DSPs include:

    • Ecos – Posterscope
    • Plato – Talon
    • Adcity – Havas Media
    • Project X – Adstruc (US)
    • Adform (Europe)
    • Outmoove (Europe)
    • Platform161
    • Splicky
    • Vistar
    • VIOOH by JCDecaux
    • MediaMath (US)
    • Campsite (Canada)


What about a Supply Side Platform?

An SSP is the DSP’s reciprocal development and powered by similar technology. An SSP offers software that automates and streamlines the selling of a media owner’s D/OOH inventory.

An SSP’s mission is similar to the DSP but from the opposite side of the transaction. SSPs allow media owners to connect their inventory to multiple DSPs, streamlining existing trading and opening them up to new markets and more potential buyers. SSPs also focus on increasing efficiency and automating monotonous tasks. But unlike DSPs, they work to sell a media owner’s inventory for the highest price possible.

In OOH, SSPs are rarely all-encompassing solutions but tackle one element of the greater Supply-Side ecosystem. For example, Signkick’s modular software offers solutions to different parts of the puzzle: Hub is a light sales and booking system while Uplink makes the connection between the different platforms from pulling live availability right through to invoicing.

Other companies offering solutions to different parts of the supply-side ecosystem include:

  • Fusion – Key Systems
  • Smart Bricks – JCDecaux
  • Ayuda
  • Live DOOH
  • Broadsign
  • Scala
  • OneLan
  • Campsite (Canada)
  • And, of course, Signkick!
A look inside Signkick's supply-side software

A look inside Signkick’s supply-side software

For media owners, this offers the flexibility to choose a combination that best serves your business. But it is also important to understand how these platforms connect and interact before you dive in, as this isn’t always a simple process. We believe the onus should be on the technology company to make this connection seamless for media owners, but not all companies think the same way.

There are many hurdles overcome as the industry adopts these platforms and moves towards automated trading. For this reason, it is critical that buyers and sellers of D/OOH work with experts with not only the skills and experience in automation and software but who also understand how to navigate the complex world of D/OOH. Working with a technology company that specialises in asking the right questions to navigate these complexities will give buyers and sellers a big ‘leg up’ towards the new era of transacting.

At Signkick we’re always happy to have a chat and offer advice. Simply get in touch with the team.

3 replies
  1. Eva Pusztahegyi
    Eva Pusztahegyi says:

    Great post. You have a good summary of the current players in the space, though may I mention that Campsite has been operating as a fully programmatic DOOH DSP, exchange and SSP in the Canadian market since 2016? Leading our SSP accounts I definitely share your point of view and agree that the onus is on the technology companies (both platforms and software providers, read: CMS) to integrate media owners as smoothly as possible into this complex ecosystem
    Thanks 🙂


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