Connected TV 10 Min Read

DSP Versus Performance TV

Written by Melissa Yap

The first post in our battle series proved a noticeable trend to demonstrate the effectiveness of Performance TV, however the advantages don’t stop there. Let’s take a step back and see why it outperforms on a foundational level. 

Traditionally, DSPs (Demand Side Platform) have been used by performance marketers seeking variety and performance in their ads. Times have quickly changed, rendering this form of advertising less popular. A study by Pathmatics showed the number of DSPs reduced by 40% between January 2016 and April 2018 with a continual decline, as new platforms and technology emerge. Some of the remaining DSPs have started offering Connected TV inventory, however their offerings aren’t perfect and beg for a better solution. Enter Performance TV, which isn’t considered a DSP by any means, but is superior in more ways than one:

  1. Intermediary Required:
  • DSP: Requires an intermediary, such as a media buyer or agency, to execute the process and place a bid for ad inventory. This often results in a complicated setup that can be a bit of a headache. Sometimes multiple DSPs are used to get a wider ad inventory, so as you can imagine the costs add up quickly.  
  • Performance TV: No intermediary or complicated bidding process here. Our user-interface allows automated campaign set up, where you can provide your budget, goal, and even access first-party or third-party data with Oracle Data Cloud – the world’s largest audience data provider – within the platform to segment and target different audience groups.  
  1. Lower Quality of Ad Inventory
  • DSP: Ad inventory works off an open marketplace, where the type of inventory available can be overwhelming. Too much choice isn’t always a good thing, though. This means your ad may be served across many platforms, none of it quality or reaching your audience in the way it should. Any type of streaming inventory here is passed off as Connected TV, which is not a true Connected TV experience. For example, these ads are usually skippable, whereas Connected TV ads can stream for up to 30 seconds and are watched to completion.  Furthermore, you can never be certain that the DSP is serving against brand-safe content. So while DSPs offer inventory in bulk, it won’t drive the performance you’re hoping for because it’s not tailored for that purpose. 
  • Performance TV: Specialized, premium content is the cornerstone of SteelHouse Performance TV, where we focus on getting the best price for specific inventory. Our partnerships with major Connected TV networks like CNN, ESPN, CNBC, Food Network and more, are much lower than what a DSP can offer, which empowers advertisers of all sizes to launch campaigns on a large scale. Not to mention that our Living Room Quality ads are both non-skippable, HD, and effectively tell your brand’s story. You aren’t getting random, non-brand-safe inventory with SteelHouse.
  1. Clunky Reporting Infrastructure
  • DSP:  Allows ad performance to be tracked to monitor conversions, ad viewability, retention rate and other key metrics, however the reporting tends to be all over the place as piecemeal, making it hard to piece together a coherent data story. Their reporting infrastructure, akin to their inventory, does not allow for specialization. This takes valuable time away that could otherwise be spent setting up and optimizing campaigns, and furthermore, the type of inventory they offer just doesn’t lead to good performance.  
  • Performance TV: SteelHouse is built as a direct response performance channel with a specialized offering, and is reflected the same way in the way we approach reporting. We have set the gold standard of the industry for its full integration with Google Analytics alongside your other performance marketing channels, all on one intuitive user-interface. Advertisers can customize their reports at any level or metric. The platform even offers network-level reporting, which informs advertisers on which streaming network their ads are most effective. 
  1. Pricing Discrepancies
  • DSP: DSPs offer a marketplace of ad inventory and charges a fee for use, however there are many hidden costs that can quickly add up. Each DSP has different targeting and audience list capabilities, each with their own sets of costs and becomes expensive if multiple DSPs are required (often the case). The pricing model isn’t transparent either, as there are known cases where DSPs sneak in additional audience segments with a markup and arbitrage inventory, among others. How can an advertiser know who to trust, and have confidence that they are truly getting the best return from their ad spend? 
  • Performance TV: SteelHouse curates the top performing partners on Connected TV, so you can rest assured that you will get the best performance from the best partners. Price transparency is paramount, with a suite of creative and reporting technology inbuilt within the platform that can be accessed for free. We don’t charge for use of Shutterstock and first or third party targeting through Oracle Data Cloud, our Google Analytics platform, and many others. 

Performance TV is the clear winner across all of these major adtech pain points, but it doesn’t stop there. Learn more about this performance machine on our website here.