RTB Wiki

The RTB Ecosystem: Understanding the role of the Trading Desk

Ever wondered what confusing Ad Tech terms like Trading Desk, DSP, SSP, and DMP mean? If so, keep reading to understand how these technologies are related to one another.

Trading Desks (TDs) are automated systems within the Real-Time Bidding ecosystem.They have a user-friendly interface, which allows for planning, configuring, running, optimizing, and reporting of display Ad campaigns. The RTB-Media Trading Desk takes it a step further and includes Social and Search all in one interface.

This Trading Desk technology provides a way to optimize Ad campaigns for peak performance.  They do this by utilizing tools and data, which are available through the various different Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs) and Data Management Platforms (DMPs).  A unique and integral feature of a Trading Desk that contributes to future success is the ability to store and process campaigns that have previously run.

The main role of the Trading Desk is to provide flexibility and ease of integration between all participants.  Simply put, a Trading Desk is a unified point of access to the entire RTB ecosystem.

To assess the role of the Trading Desk within the RTB ecosystem, we will need to consider the participant’s role and their relationships to one another.

The RTB ecosystem consists of the following participants:

DSPs are platforms displaying advertising in the RTB ecosystem.  They receive specific requests that include a variety of targeting criteria and parameters.  An example of a request might be for overages and frequency of the user, at which point the DSPs compare each request to an auction inventory.


In essence, a DSP is utility software called, “Bidder.”  It uses the Open RTB protocol to bet or obtain the right of displaying without an auction.  It simultaneously implements screening rights to a specific user.


However, a Trading Desk can use multiple “Bidders” from many different DSPs.


Sell-Side Platforms provide the advertising space for trading in real time.  SSPs represent the interests of advertising platforms i.e. publishers in the RTB ecosystem.  The SSP was designed for trading with DSPs and is not intended to work directly with an advertiser.


The role of the SSP in the RTB Ecosystem is to:

·      Collect suggestions about inventory from many advertising platforms.

·      Accumulate traffic and set the minimum price at which the marketplace is ready to sell the inventory.

·      Arranges auctions between DSPs and tries to sell available space for maximum price.

·      Protect user data and take care of brand reputation.

·      Provide a transparent system for placement monitoring and the built-in or plug-in technologies for brand safety.

·      Serve as an interface for owners of advertising platforms so they can manage their inventory, change the value of the show, and analyze their Advertising analytics.


Ad Networks and Exchanges connect advertising platforms with advertisers.  They provide a way to traverse a network of connected sites to sell their advertising in the RTB ecosystem.  They also make Ad space available for purchase to either an agency or direct advertiser.

One major advantage of using a Trading Desk over Ad Networks and Exchanges is its ability to connect with much more inventory, which lies outside of the Ad Networks and Exchanges.  This is because Trading Desks provide an option to buy Ad space from all of the SSPs / Ad Networks and Exchanges while connected to the RTB.

Data Suppliers provide segmented user data and also have relationships with those participating in the RTB Ecosystem.  They aggregate large amounts of user data to create themed segments.  Data Suppliers have the ability to provide a granular or wide range of data about a particular user.

The last participant in the RTB Ecosystem is the DMP, which is a flexible platform for data management.  DMPs allow for those involved in the process of buying and selling inventory a way to facilitate and manage the process of using third-party data from additional RTB platforms.

The data management processes include:

·      Storage and post-processing.

·      Segmentation or mixing of various data.

·      Connections to all major data suppliers.


For more information on the RTB Ecosystem or to try out our platform firsthand, reach out to our team atsupport@rtb-media.me.