Supply Path Optimization: A Media Buyer’s Perspective

It’s Monday evening and you decide to run by the grocery store. Four different grocery chains line your route. All sell bananas, milk, and the Rice Krispies cereal you devour every morning. Do you stop by all stores to purchase each item individually, or do you take a streamlined approach visit only one preferred store? What criteria do you use to approach your decision: pricing, expiration dates, ripeness?

In advertising, this is called supply path optimization (SPO). The act of deliberately evaluating a supplier based on a variety of criteria.

The arbitrary relationships between DSPs and SSPs have long been established behind a curtain, out of view from programmatic buyers. In recent years, buyers have been successfully pushing for transparency, thus inciting the growth of SPO.

SSPs should be held to stricter standards in exchange for our advertising dollars. We, as media traders, are entitled to transparent answers to the way an SSP makes money, the type of auctions running, how they combat fraud, and if they are authorized to sell the inventory they offer. Taking the time to analyze and ask questions forces an increase in accountability on the supplier side, allowing us to take greater control as buyers.