Jon Fletcher 2020-06-17

The 8 best SSPs for publishers

The monetization options for online publishers are now more varied than ever. But, with choice comes the need to know the differences between all the options available and what is right for your business. 

To give you the objective information to make the right decisions, we’re examining the unique offerings of SSPs and the highest-paying SSPs used by Marfeel publishers. 

What is an SSP? 

An SSP is a Supply-Side Platform. It connects publishers’ ad inventory to multiple ad exchanges and demand-side platforms. SSPs sell individual ad impressions (not bundles like ad networks) using real-time-bidding (RTB) technology to auction off inventory on an impression-by-impression basis.

Ad networks ‘group’ multiple publishers’ inventories and break them down by category, demographics, and ad formats. Ad networks often specialize in a specific area such as ad format (e.g. video), pricing, or specific audience demographics. 

Buyers then inform the ad network of their campaign criteria and the ad network matches it to a group of available inventory.
With an SSP, a publisher’s inventory can be sold across multiple ad networks. Based on historic information, an SSP will determine which ad network to connect to when impressions become available on a publisher’s website.

Ad networks solved the issue of having to buy inventory on a specific website but they are still limited to a specific vertical. By grouping the specializations of multiple ad networks, SSPs give advertisers the granularity to target even deeper, finding exact buyer personas at the impression level. 

So, for publishers that want to add the power of an SSP to their monetization efforts, we’ve compiled a list of the highest-paying SSPs used by our network of publishers and what sets each of them apart from each other. 

8 highest-paying Supply-Side Platforms for online publishers

Google Ad manager

Like many aspects of publishing online, Google is the biggest player in the sector and this is no different for the world of SSPs. The biggest ad revenue generator for publishers is Google Ad Manager. 

However, despite the value for publishers, joining the AdExchange platform is not totally straightforward. There is an invite and approval process that makes it difficult for small to medium publishers to access it. Publishers with fewer than a million monthly sessions have to use Google’s AdSense platform. AdSense is Google’s individual ad network, different from the ad exchange that includes thousands and thousands of networks.

Rubicon Project

The Rubicon Project is an alternative to Google's Ad Manager, offering secure demand from hundreds of DSPs and trading desks, and the tens of thousands of advertisers they represent. It represents a more transparent process than Google, yet their recent merger with Telaria will create the world's largest independent sell-side advertising platform, giving them major power. 

Rubicon requires publishers to have a minimum of 5 million monthly sessions. 


Teads is probably most well-known for being the pioneer of out-stream video advertising. They offer advertising from premium brands and fortune 500 companies so they demand their publishing partners offer premium, brand-safe inventory. Publishers also need to have a minimum of 1 million page views per month to be accepted by the platform.

If you are accepted, Teads frequently delivers CPMs of between $10-$20, making a premium channel for publishers to earn ad revenue from.

Index exchange

Wide-reaching, a curated collection of buyers from the largest DSPs to the top Agency Trading Desks. Index Exchange prioritizes neutrality, openness, and reliable technology. Ads are also individually certified to ensure standards of quality and brand safety. 
Appnexus houses over 34,000 publishers and 177,000 brands transact in their marketplace. They assist buyers and sellers in the improvement of their campaign performance and maximize revenue. 

Their Publisher Suite enables publishers to increase yield through advanced machine learning to deliver constant optimization—processing about 250 Terabytes of data each day or 6 million queries each second, resulting in 11.4 billion impressions each day!

Improve Digital

Working with over 250 of the world's top media owners, an audience of more than 600 million unique visitors, Improve Digital supports a network of 112,000 advertisers each month. A Swisscom company, Improve Digital is an international force with offices located in London, Amsterdam, Munich, Antwerp, Milan, Barcelona, and Paris. 


Criteo is a more specialized SSP, focusing mainly on retargeting and available to publishers with lower traffic numbers and no stated minimum. This focus on specific user profiles means that CPMs from Criteo are often 2-3 higher than from Adsense. However, their fill rate generally fluctuates between 10% - 40%. 

Performing well on shopping and lifestyle sites that can retarget users with specific products, it’s advisable to use Criteo with a passback to other SSPs. 


OpenX developed an integrated technology platform that combines ad server and a real-time bidding exchange with a standard supply-side platform ensuring high real-time value for any inventory. 

They are also known for supporting a wide variety of ad formats including Image Ads, Flash Ads, HTML Ads, Third Party HTML Ads that engage a huge audience,  Linear Video Ads Mobile HTML Ads, Mobile Image Ads, and Native Ads. The minimum traffic requirement for OpenX is 10 million page views per month

While each SSP offers something unique, they all aim to connect premium ad networks and higher-paying advertisers with publishers. 

What are the advantages of connecting to an SSP?

Higher competition; higher revenue

Having more bidders increase the chance of a buyer valuing your impression more than another. By connecting multiple ad networks, ad exchanges, and DSPs, SSPs enable numerous buyers to enter a real-time bidding process. With demand driven up, publishers can expect a better yield. More participation from more advertisers also helps increase the fill rate. 

Inventory control

SSPs offer publishers further control over their inventory. Through seeing what advertisers pay for certain impression types, publishers can optimize their ad requests to find the value of location and demographic types to advertisers. 

What are the downsides of connecting to an SSP? 

Minimum traffic requirements

Connecting to an SSP usually requires publishers to have a minimum amount of visits per month, in order to make it worthwhile. While any advertising system requires a healthy stream of traffic, SSP requirements vary between 3-10 million monthly users. This excludes many publishers from the advantages of SSPs.

Multiple connections

In addition, to maximize results, publishers have to connect to multiple SSPs which means complicated management, broken-up reporting, and third-party consolidation efforts.

Server Fees

Finally, SSPs will charge publishers ad server fees, anywhere between 0.015 to 0.005 CPM to the publisher for using their technology. 

To achieve the highest CPMs, Marfeel can connect publishers in a one-point integration with the SSPs listed here. As a publisher platform, you do not have to meet the traffic requirements to access these SSPs. A Marfeel connection is all that’s required. 

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