If you’ve been noticing your advertising campaigns not quite cutting it, especially on the Google Display Network, then you might be interested in trying something new.

Leveling up can mean going programmatic, which isn’t as scary as it sounds. But getting a head start can be a huge help, and a good starting point might be nailing down a few key acronyms.

Before we get going here, it should be noted that this isn’t an exhaustive list of acronyms used in advertising. Advertisers are super busy people who don’t have time to speak in with entire words. Apparently.

What is a DSP

Here’s what G2 Crowd says:

Demand-side platforms (DSPs) are advertiser campaign management products that provide advertisers features for buying ad placements online in real time.

Who would use a DSP?

DSPs are meant for advertisers who buy ad space for their ads on websites. A DSP is where they buy ads in real-time through a process appropriately called real-time bidding (RTB). DSPs connect to SSPs to allow advertisers to purchase ad space while members of their audience are visiting the website.

What is an SSP

Again, here’s what G2 Crowd says:

Supply-side platforms (SSPs) allow publishers to make money from their websites by creating and selling ad inventory to marketers on an impression-by-impression, or visitor-by-visitor, basis.

Who would use an SSP?

SSPs are meant for publishers who monetize pages on their website. An SSP is where they control advertising real estate and the system connects to an advertisers DSP so they (the advertiser) can buy ad real estate on the publisher’s website.

What is a DMP

One more time, here’s what G2 Crowd says:

Data management platforms (DMPs) are central hubs that store and analyze all of a company’s customer, audience, and marketing data.

Who would use a DMP?

DMPs are used by both publishers and advertisers. Advertisers and marketers might use this data to create detailed segments that leverage the vast information in their database. Meanwhile, a publisher would use a DMPs to get a better understanding of their visitors.

Bringing DSPs, SSPs, and DMPs Together

I think understanding SSPs and DSPs is probably pretty easy. SSPs are where you go to sell, DSPs are where you go to buy. It seems logical that the way people sell ad space isn’t the same way people buy.

Think about vendors in grocery stores. The way grocers sell shelf space to vendors like Lays Potato Chips is handled one way. Meanwhile, being a vendor like Lays Potato Chips and buying that shelf space is handled a different way.

DMPs are where things get a little more complicated

I think a big reason why DMPs are so confusing is that not everyone needs them. Plain and simple.

A DMP helps to store all kinds of anonymous data of users through cookie tracking, mobile app interactions, call centers, and even offline behaviors. They don’t assist in buying ads, like DSPs, they just help collect the audiences for whom ads will be deployed.

One advantage of a DMP (and another differentiator), is that it can plug into multiple DSPs. This gives advertisers the ability to buy ads for similar audiences across many exchanges and publishers.

Hopefully, that clears up the meaning of some basic acronyms in advertising.

Happy advertising!