Forrester clients can see the research here.

It’s been a couple years since SSPs (and their buy-side cousin DSPs) were truly the rage in ad tech investor circles; nonetheless, they remain more relevant for their clients than ever as monetizing indirectly sold inventory continues to challenge digital publishers. The 6 vendors we reviewed – Admeld, AppNexus, Doubleclick ADX, Pubmatic, Right Media, and Rubicon Project – are by no means new to this game. Still, we were astonished at how quickly these vendors and enhancing and expanding their product offerings – even over the course of the Wave process. With that in mind, here a couple of key observations on the SSP landscape that will lend some useful context for the report:

·         For SSPs, yesterday’s innovation is today’s tablestakes. As little as a year ago, publishers consistently worried about insufficient controls for managing indirect sales – especially via RTB. Given today’s SSP landscape, that really shouldn’t be the case.  Admeld may have led the way in introducing many publisher controls, but today, tools like block lists and price controls are now standard among vendors. While differences in flexibility and ease-of-use remain, publishers should be encouraged that even the most laissez-faire of vendors (namely Google) has embraced the trend towards greater publisher control.

·         Meanwhile, SSPs are expanding their scope of offerings. Most notably, audience data management capabilities are becoming part of many SSP offerings as SSPs look to consolidate the tools publishers use for audience selling.

I encourage you to read the full report and would love to get your feedback.