Why Supply-Side Platform Fill Rate Is Just 1%


The overwhelming majority of the time that a bid request is sent out by a supply-side platform (SSP), offering an opportunity to advertise on a publisher’s website, no one responds.

The standard fill rate for SSPs is 1%. In other words, there is just a 1% chance that a bid request sent out by an SSP is met with a bid from an advertiser or their buy-side tech partners, according to executives from three large SSPs.

That doesn’t mean that most publishers’ inventory is unmonetized. Publishers work with many SSPs that can send separate requests for the same slot, especially since the advent of header bidding almost a decade ago.

What it does mean, as we all know but perhaps not to this extent, is that there is a lot of duplication—and at times inefficiency—in the programmatic supply chain.

Tons of supply paths exist, while not necessarily offering any distinction from one another. Coupled with that dwindling signal loss due to the deprecation of cookies next year, and monetizing the open web, an estimated $88 billion, is only going to get more chaotic.

“Header bidding has multiplied the number of supply paths,” said one SSP executive, speaking anonymously. “It’s an interesting question to see if they’re all adding value.”

Pruning supply paths

At SSP TripleLift, gross request volume is 100s of billions every day, despite there being around 5 billion people globally with internet access, said chief product officer Andre Eifler.

“Those numbers don’t really add up,” he said. “For sure, there are tons of duplicate supply paths.”

While brands and publishers have been pruning supply paths for years under the banner of supply path optimization (SPO), consternation about the inefficiencies of the programmatic supply chain is only building.

Trade body the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) recently found that the average advertiser uses 19 SSPs. Of the top 25 SSPs used by brands, fees range from 5% to 20% of media spend, while revenue paid to the publisher ranges from 40% to 83%.

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