Demand-Side Platform Stats: 5 Key Metrics for B2B Marketers

Adam Smartschan

Partner & Chief Strategy Officer

If you’re using a demand-side platform, you’ve grown up from native Google Display and Google Search. You know, the basics. And if there’s one thing you’ve probably learned, it’s that programmatic advertising can be a little confusing at times.

Google Display and Google Search are basic PPC platforms. You put in how much you want to pay for a click, and then you pay about that much. Targeting is mostly good for B2C, not B2B marketing. Simple stuff. 

But when you get into the world of programmatic, it starts to get a lot more complex. Rather than paying for the click, you’re often paying for the impression. So when it comes to demand-side platform stats, you need to think deeper.

We’re probably not selling you on the benefits of DSPs right now. In fact, we’re making them seem a bit confusing. But their automation and targeting are so much better. Going programmatic is definitely worth the extra effort and time.

What Is a DSP?

A DSP, the acronym for demand-side platform, is nothing more than a layer on top of an ad exchange. It automates bidding and offers granular targeting. Do you want to show your ad to lawyers aged 25-34 in Des Moines? A DSP can make that happen. It’s called “programmatic” advertising.

You can’t say the same for Google

(Google, we love you, but you know it’s true). 

So if you’re trying to get more out of your DSP in B2B advertising, here are the five demand-side platform stats you need to know.

Key DSP Stats

  • Stat #1: Spend
  • Stat #2: Win Rate
  • Stat #3: Impressions
  • Stat #4: CPM
  • Stat #5: CPA
Demand-Side Platform Stats

DSP Stat #1: Spend

Automating bidding sounds like great fun. But how much do you actually want to spend? This is where you start. What’s your budget, and how long – called “flight dates” – do you want your creative to run.

You’re going to be spending in two different areas: data and bidding.

If you want that specific lawyer targeting, you need to pay someone for that. That will cost you a set amount per impression. 33Across, for instance, offers access to 95,820 chemical engineers for a $2.01 increase to your CPM.

(We’ll get to “CPM.”)

Most DSPs let you “stack” these audiences using “and” and “or” rules. Say you want someone who’s an engineer AND they’re in the pharma industry OR food manufacturing. You can do that.

First-party data, like retargeting, is typically free to use. Some DSPs will let you upload and match individuals in your CRM. There’s often a small fee for that.

Beyond data, one of the key demand-side platform stats is your bid. This is what you’re offering the ad exchange to actually show your stuff. This directly impacts …

DSP Stat #2: Win Rate

The win rate is the percentage of times you win the ad “auction.” There are a million people who want to show ads, but only so much inventory. How do you get the spot?

This is where that second bid comes in. The higher it is, the more likely you are to win the auction and get your ad shown.

What’s a good DSP win rate? Shoot for 15% or so, unless you’re running a hyper-targeted campaign. If you need to reach people at a specific trade show in a specific convention center over two days, juice that bid. A win rate is a percentage of inventory; the less there is, the more you need to spend to make an impression.

DSP Stat #3: Impressions

With digital advertising, you’re buying eyeballs. That’s impressions. And that makes it a majorly important demand-side platform stat.

A higher bid = a higher win rate = more impressions

Keep a close eye on this one. You’re often paying by the impression, so you don’t want to go crazy. But you do want a number high enough to make inroads in your industry. It all comes down to your budget.

DSP Stat #4: CPM

CPM stands for “cost per mille,” and mille means thousand. So, this is what you’ll pay for every thousand impressions.

There’s no “good” total CPM. (Understanding your demand-side platform stats would be easier if there were.) We tend to keep them below 10 bucks, and ideally below $7. Much lower than that, you’re probably targeting too broad.

The key to making the most of your CPM spend is your click-through rate, or CTR. You want this above 0.1, and 0.2 is basically the top of the probability curve. Yes, that’s only 1 or 2 folks out of 1,000, but such is the world.

Ultimately, your CPM and CTR translate into your cost per click, or CPC:


This is what you can compare directly with traditional advertising methods. You want it about in line with what you would have bid on Google. That would mean you’re running a more targeted campaign for the same spend.

DSP Stat #5: CPA

What is a lead worth to you?

It’s going to be different for every company – but you have to be willing to spend some dough to acquire that prospect. 

Think about it: If you’re selling a $50 product, you need your CPA really low. If you’re selling something that’s $50,000/year – and it renews year after year – you should be OK with spending a few hundred or thousand dollars for a lead.

CPC * Website Conversion Rate = CPA

tl;dr: Demand-Side Platform Stats to Know

If you’re looking to get the most out of your shiny new DSP, you need to watch these five stats closely:

  • Spend: Look at both data and bidding.
  • Win-rate: Bid spend will ensure you secure a spot.
  • Impressions: See how often you’re showing (sometimes you want it high, sometimes you want it low).
  • CPM: This should be pretty static (hitting the $7 range is solid).
  • CPA: Go that extra mile to get a lead.

New year, new you. By watching these five key metrics when using a DSP, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your digital advertising as you roll into 2021.

Adam Smartschan

Adam Smartschan heads Altitude's strategic marketing and branding efforts. An award-winning writer and editor by trade in a former life, he now specializes in data analytics, search engine optimization, digital advertising strategy, conversion rate optimization and technical integrations. He holds numerous industry certifications and is a frequent speaker on topics around B2B marketing strategy and SEO.