What is an SDK?

What is an SDK?

The SDK is one of the most commonly used tools in advertising technology (AdTech). Although most publishers and advertisers routinely use SDKs for serving ads, you may be wondering about the details: what it is, how it works, and what it contains. Understanding what SDKs are and how developers use them is critical to understand what makes one suitable for your needs.

Definition & Meaning of an SDK

SDK stands for Software Development Kit. Alternative terms include “devkit” or “dev-kit.

SDKs are software packages containing multiple programs and tools designed to create computer applications. The SDK can be considered the computing equivalent of a toolkit.

The type and nature of an SDK’s tools vary depending on its intended purpose. They may include documentation, compilers, code libraries, code samples, development environments, editors, debuggers, testing and analytics tools, and many more.

SDKs are typically designed for building an application on a specific operating system or platform using one or more programming languages. For instance, developing an Android application usually requires an Android-specific SDK.

Resources and Sets of Tools Found in SDKs

Although each SDK is unique, most contain the same types of tools. Below are some of the most common types of SDK tools and software.

Compiler

The compiler is one of the most critical elements of an SDK. Compilers are specialized software capable of translating a program’s human-readable source code into machine-readable, executable code. 

Developers need compilers to create applications and programs from code written in a specific programming language for a particular operating system or environment. 

For example, a developer building an application using the C++ programming language meant for a Windows system needs a compiler that can read and interpret C++ code and compile it into a format executable by the Windows operating system (e.g., a .exe file).

Most compilers work according to a 5-step process:

  1. Lexical and syntax analysis: The compiler splits the source code into lexical tokens, which can be viewed as the programming equivalent of sentences. It then reads each sentence and checks for syntax errors. If it finds none, the compiler proceeds to the next step
  2. Semantic analysis: The compiler analyzes the code a second time to verify its accuracy and check for logic errors.
  3. Intermediate representation: After verifying the source code has no semantic errors, the compiler translates it into a format known as Intermediate Representation (IR). IR code is a representation of the source code in a format closer to that of machine-readable executable code but isn’t yet ready for execution.
  4. Optimization: Compilers optimize the IR code to ensure it runs faster and more efficiently (consumes less computing resources). Optimization may trim, tune, or rewrite specific parts of the IR code to make it leaner, but it cannot change the code’s functionality or meaning.
  5. Output: The compiler uses the optimized code to generate a machine-readable executable program.

Debugger

Debuggers, also known as debugging tools, are another category of essential tools found in SDKs. Debuggers are specialized software capable of reading other programs and checking for software bugs, a broad term encompassing a range of programming flaws, errors, unintended behaviors, and other faults.

Although debuggers cannot detect and remove every bug in a program, they are crucial to the development process because they can help developers remove as many errors and issues as possible from the software or application before release.

Developers primarily employ debugging tools during the testing phase of a typical software development cycle, which takes place just before deployment and release and after design and development. 

Debugging occurs relatively late during a program’s development cycle because it is essential to a program’s testing and quality control phases. It can only be efficiently performed after the code no longer needs fundamental changes, as adding new code after debugging carries the risk of introducing new, undetected bugs.

APIs

API stands for Application Program Interface. Although SDKs are often confused with APIs, they are not the same and perform different tasks.

An API is a set of functions designed to allow communication between two different programs, applications, or computing platforms. SDKs typically contain multiple APIs designed to facilitate development. Although the purpose of an SDK is to develop applications, a developer can also use the tools in an SDK to build their own APIs.

Documentation

SDKs typically feature documentation detailing how to use each of the tools and elements it contains. SDK documentation may either be offline and included in the SDK in the form of readable files or hosted online on a website. Besides text file documents, an SDK’s documentation may also include sample images, illustrative graphics, FAQs, and even tutorials.

Code Samples

Code samples are snippets of pre-written code. In SDKs, code samples feature functional examples of what a developer can do with the SDK, helping them contextualize the SDK’s capabilities.

While most code samples can function as examples to draw inspiration from, developers know that the code samples included in an SDK are already functional and potentially usable for developing an application. Consequently, many developers may also choose to integrate code samples (or parts of them) directly into the source code of a new application.

Programming Libraries

A programming library (or code library) is a packaged collection of prewritten code designed to perform specific tasks arranged and organized by function. Developers rely on libraries to solve common tasks and issues more quickly, reducing overall development time and improving the source code’s reliability.

Because code libraries must contain prewritten source code, each library is specific to a programming language. For example, a developer writing an application using the Python language can only use libraries containing Python code, such as NumPy or TensorFlow.

Frameworks

At first glance, a framework may seem similar to a programming library: both contain code snippets designed to solve specific tasks and save time. However, many SDKs include both code libraries and frameworks, and the specific ways they help a developer are fundamentally different.

The best way to understand the difference between a programming library and a framework is with the calling analogy. With a code library, the developer’s source code calls on the features in the library to achieve a specific task. In other words, the developer uses libraries to control the application’s flow

In contrast, if a developer uses a framework to build an application, the framework serves as a foundation that calls on the developer’s source code. The developer may not integrate new functionality if it isn’t compatible with that framework. In other words, the framework controls the application’s flow.

API Testing and Analytics Tools

Many SDKs include additional tools alongside APIs, such as API testing and API analytics software. The purpose of these support programs is to test an API’s performance and verify it functions as expected while meeting all relevant security and reliability standards. 

Developers relying on one or multiple APIs to build an application may use these testing and analytics tools frequently during the testing stage of the development cycle.

What Does an SDK Do?

Each SDK is different, meaning there is no step-by-step guide that can be employed to use all SDKs. However, certain general principles apply to most SDKs: how they are made and distributed, what kinds of terms and conditions apply when using them, how developers might use the tools inside an SDK, and how SDKs impact the release of a finished application.

How SDKs Are Made

Before developers can use an SDK for building apps, another team of developers must design and create it. Most successful SDKs come from large firms that have developed their own operating systems, platforms, or applications.

In these instances, the SDK is typically intended for developers looking to build apps compatible with a platform developed or managed by the SDK’s authors. For example, the Android Native Development Kit was developed by Google to allow developers to use C and C++ code for developing Android applications.

However, SDK development isn’t restricted only to large companies. Depending on the SDK’s intended purposes and applications, skilled developers can independently develop their own SDKs, provided they are intimately familiar with the target programming languages, operating systems, and APIs. 

SDK developers must also have the resources to build all necessary documentation, develop 100% functional and bug-free code samples, and, if needed, design custom tools (e.g., compilers, debuggers, etc.).

Who Can Use an SDK

The distribution channels employed to make SDKs available to developers vary depending on who built the SDK and what types of applications it is designed to build.

Although most SDKs are free, many come with licensing agreements outlining terms and conditions for the developers. For example, a freely available SDK may include licensing terms that allow developers to build applications but not permit redistribution of the SDK or commercial use of applications built using this SDK. 

Consequently, a developer must carefully review and understand the SDK’s licensing terms, as it can significantly impact their application’s development and publishing processes.

Some SDKs are not freely available and only accessible to developers under specific conditions. For example, some platforms require developers to purchase the SDK directly or pay to become a member of the SDK authors’ platform as a condition for accessing the SDK.

More rarely, specific SDKs may be private to a particular company or business and intended for internal use only. For example, a video game development company may develop an SDK for the sole purpose of aiding developer employees with building new games. Such SDKs are not intended for public usage and typically contain many proprietary tools and software.

How Developers Use SDKs for Software Creation

Generally speaking, after a developer has acquired the SDK that will let them develop an application in their chosen combination of programming languages and target platforms, the general usage steps are relatively simple:

  1. Install the SDK
  2. Start development using the SDK’s interface
  3. Use the tools provided by the SDK to expedite or facilitate specific aspects of development
  4. Compile the source code into a functional application

Although SDKs are described as the programming equivalent of a toolkit, meaning developers use the contents of an SDK as tools to build new applications, the industry frequently uses the term “integration” to refer to elements intended for direct use and insertion into the source code of a new application.

For instance, “integrating an SDK” doesn’t mean the developer includes the entirety of the SDK in the application’s code. Instead, it is a shorthand to refer to the elements of an SDK that a developer can directly integrate, such as code samples, code pulled from a library, APIs, and frameworks. 

A good way to understand the difference is to use the toolkit analogy and compare SDK tools to spare screws and screwdrivers: Some SDKs feature tools comparable to screwdrivers (e.g., compiler, debugger) and elements more like screws of specific kinds and sizes (e.g., library code, APIs). The finished product may contain the latter, but you wouldn’t expect it to include the former.

CodeFuel Can Help You Find the Best SDKs

At CodeFuel, we can help software developers and publishers find the best and most fully-featured SDKs to build and monetize applications as efficiently as possible. Our team can also help you find other avenues to monetize your digital properties and make the most out of your available assets. Contact us today for more information.

Top 10 SDK Platform Apps and Tools

Top 10 SDK Platform Apps and Tools

Mobile devices comprise the largest segment of Internet-connected devices, surpassing computers in the mid-2010s. Consequently, developing functional, powerful, and responsive mobile applications is crucial to ensure the best possible user experience.

Top-performing SDKs for developing applications on mobile platforms provide developers and publishers with the tools and functionality they need to build the best-rated apps.

What is an SDK?

A Software Development Kit (SDK), also called a dev kit, is a package containing pre-built software tools and functions that app developers can use to build new applications.

SDKs help developers save time while developing a program or application by providing ready-made code libraries, APIs, and other essential elements, without the need to code bespoke solutions from scratch.

Although SDKs aren’t exclusive to the mobile landscape (e.g., many desktop PC and Mac applications were built using SDKs), apps developed using SDKs are most commonly found in the mobile market.

Types of Mobile SDK App & Tool Frameworks

Application SDKs allow developers to build many different types of applications, grouped into three broad categories: native apps, web apps, and hybrid apps.

1. Native Apps

Native applications are mobile apps designed explicitly to run on a specific operating system. In the context of mobile applications, native app SDKs are grouped by mobile OS. For instance, you may find SDKs for building Apple iOS applications, SDKs for developing apps on Android, and SDKs for creating Windows Phone apps.

Generally speaking, native applications only work on one operating system. For example, an Android application (e.g., a .apk file) does not run on any Apple iOS device.

Occasionally, and particularly in the case of long-running operating systems that have been updated and iterated on for many years, specific SDKs let developers build applications that are only compatible with a particular range of version numbers.

In practice, such applications may not function or work reliably on old versions of that OS, requiring developers to exercise caution, especially if compatibility with a wide range of devices is a concern. For example, an application developed for Android 12 (release date October 2021) may not necessarily run on Android 3.0 (released February 2011).

Pros of native apps:

  • Consistent User Interface: A native application can utilize the operating system’s native UI, resulting in a consistent look, feel, and interface functionality.
  • Access to Device Features: Native applications can take advantage of the host device’s full suite of features and capabilities. For example, a native Android app designed to run on an Android phone could request access to the device’s cameras for the app’s functionality, in part or whole.
  • Optimized Performance: A native application isn’t dependent on any other program or shell to run, allowing it to use the device’s resources more efficiently than the other app types. If you want an application that runs well or demands significant system resources, native apps are the only reliable solution.

Cons of native apps:

  • Compatibility: By nature, a native app only works on a single operating system, and unless it is regularly updated to support newer versions of that OS, it risks becoming incompatible with more recent devices as time passes. The developers must regularly maintain such apps. Additionally, if you want the same application on a different OS, it must be effectively built a second time from the ground up using an appropriate SDK.
  • Storage: Native apps are much like computer programs on a desktop PC or Mac: they take storage space. Every time the application needs to be updated, the user must download the new version, requiring them to pay attention to their remaining storage space.

2. Web Apps

Although web applications may appear to have similar functionality as native apps, they do not run directly from the user’s device. Instead, a web app runs from a web browser and is effectively an advanced, application-like website. A web app comes with its own interface, which adapts itself to the user’s device and web browser.

Technologies and SDKs used to develop web apps are similar to those needed to create websites and include programming languages such as HTML5, Javascript, Ruby, PHP, Python, Perl, and many others.

Pros of web apps:

  • Lowest Development Costs: The most significant advantage of a web app is the ease of development. There is no need to use SDKs or technologies specific to a particular mobile device’s OS; the general rule of thumb is that if it runs on a web browser, it can run on any web browser and, therefore, any device.
  • No Downloads: Users access web apps like websites; by visiting the corresponding URL from their browser, then letting the app load. All functionality is immediately available, with no file downloads.
  • Easy Maintenance: When developers must update the app, users don’t need to download files; at most, refreshing the page is all that should be necessary on the user’s end. This trait makes updates painless and eliminates the need to rely on app stores.

Cons of web apps:

  • Online Connectivity Required: Unless the apps use special technologies that allow them to function at least partially offline (e.g., Progressive Web Apps), web apps typically stop working or become unavailable if the user doesn’t have an Internet connection.
  • Browser Dependency: Unless your web app only uses the most basic functionalities found on most web browsers, user experience (UX) may vary depending on the device and browser they use, which diminishes UX consistency.

3. Hybrid Apps

Hybrid applications are a technological bridge between native and web apps, offering a mixture of both technologies to balance performance and ease of maintenance. Hybrid apps are, at their core, web apps augmented with an array of tools and technologies to make their behavior and performance closer to a native app.

For example, hybrid apps may have app icons like native apps, offer partial or full offline functionality, or access device features like the microphone, cameras, or accelerometer.

Consequently, the SDKs used to develop a hybrid app usually include a mix of tools and libraries useful for both native and web apps. Programming frameworks include React Native, Flutter, and Ionic.

Pros of hybrid apps:

  • Balanced Performance and Costs: The development costs and performance of a hybrid app both fall between native apps and web apps. They are cheaper and faster to develop than native apps but offer better reactivity, use of the device’s capabilities more efficiently, and provide a more consistent UX than web apps.
  • Reliability: Developers building apps for markets with slow or unreliable Internet connections may find hybrid applications an attractive solution because they load quickly and maintain partial functionality even when the connection is lost.

Cons of hybrid apps:

  • Performance Compromise: While hybrid apps offer many advantages, they cannot use the device’s resources as optimally as a native app, and they are, by nature, more complex and more expensive to develop than web apps. Developers and publishers must carefully consider the app’s goals before choosing this type of application.

Top 10 Best SDK Apps and Tools

Most of the top-performing applications available for app stores and web browsers today were developed using industry-standard SDKs. Here are the top 10 SDKs today:

1. Best SDK for Ad Networks: Google Mobile Ads SDK (Google AdMob SDK)

The Google Mobile Ads SDK is the official Google AdMob development kit. Google Mobile Ads SDK is designed for integration into Android and iOS applications and allows developers to monetize apps by integrating Google Ads. The primary purpose of this SDK is to access Google’s extensive advertiser network and generate revenue with your application.

The Google AdMob SDK is the most commonly utilized ad network SDK and one of the most widely used dev kits in the mobile market overall, with over 1.65 million apps (1.38 million on Google Play, over 270,000 on the Apple App Store) integrating this SDK.

2. Best SDK for Communication: OneSignal

The leading Software Development Kit for adding communications channels to an application is the OneSignal SDK, available for Android, iOS, Huawei, and web.

OneSignal is a notification service for native, web, and hybrid apps. It includes the powerful OneSignal API, allowing developers to use the service to send push notifications, native (in-app) messages, and even send messages via SMS and email. Over 325,000 applications use OneSignal, covering 57% of all applications using a communication SDK.

3. Best SDK for Socials: Facebook SDK

Leveraging social media platforms can be vital to an effective digital property monetization strategy. The most prominent social media platform today is Facebook, and the Facebook SDK contains tools and software for developers to monetize apps using the platform’s extensive ad network and audience targeting solutions.

For example, it is possible to use Facebook SDK components to implement a Facebook login page into an application.

Facebook SDK is available for Android, Apple iOS and tvOS, and web programming languages (e.g., PHP, JavaScript). It has the largest market share of social SDKs, with over 527,000 apps on Google Play and over 288,000 apps on the Apple App Store integrating its features and components.

4. Best SDK for Marketing Analytics and Attribution: AppsFlyer

Marketing analytics and attribution SDKs contain tools and APIs designed to capture marketing activity and performance inside an application. Developers typically implement this type of functionality into applications to collect and manage customer data, calculate acquisition rates, and evaluate marketing campaign effectiveness.

AppsFlyer is the leading marketing analytics and attribution development kit for Android, iOS, and web applications, with an app share of 33% and a download share of 53% on Android. The AppsFlyer business model is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), providing its functionality directly through the internet using a subscription system.

5. Best SDK for UX Optimization: UserExperior

User experience (UX) is a critical aspect of any mobile application. However, measuring and quantifying user experience and satisfaction while using a mobile application can be challenging, as overall experiences are often subjective.

However, UX optimization SDKs such as UserExperior can help break down an experience into quantifiable elements, measuring the most critical aspects of an app’s usability and providing actionable information to developers and publishers.

6. Best SDK for Mobile Commerce: Google Play In-App Billing

Mobile commerce SDKs are primarily utilized for implementing payment systems and billing functionality into mobile applications. Although useful for eCommerce apps, mobile commerce SDK tools are also integrated into many games, facilitating transactions for premium purchases.

The most widely employed mobile commerce SDK is Google Play In-App Billing, which lets developers directly integrate Google Play’s pay interface into apps and games. Because this SDK is intended to function with apps on Google Play, it is only available on Android.

7. Best SDK for eCommerce Apps: CleverTap

Software Development Kits for eCommerce applications typically contain APIs and functions to measure and optimize customer engagement, conversion rates, retention rates, and other critical eCommerce key performance indicators (KPIs).

The CleverTap SDK is the most widely employed dev-kit for real-time tracking of customer insights and eCommerce KPIs. This SDK is available for Android and iOS.

8. Best SDK for User Data Analytics: Google Firebase

General-purpose user analytics offer a plethora of insights and data points regarding the users of an application, allowing developers and publishers to adjust and optimize the app’s performance accordingly.

Google Firebase is the current leading development kit in the data analytics segment. Powered by Google’s well-known analytics technology, the Firebase SDK is one of the most widely implemented in the mobile landscape, found in over 2.26 million Android and iOS applications. On Google Play alone, the share of applications utilizing the Firebase SDK is 93%.

9. Best SDK for Data Intelligence: AltBeacon

Data intelligence devkits allow app developers to integrate functions and tools for obtaining, processing, and interpreting location and sensor data. One of the most common purposes for this type of SDK is collecting user location data for retail and eCommerce applications.

AltBeacon is one of the most widely employed data intelligence SDKs on today’s mobile app landscape, with an Android app share of 14% and over 2.61 billion app downloads. This SDK uses the AltBeacon Specification by Radius Networks, which enables advertising via Bluetooth proximity beacon broadcasts.

10. Best SDK for Stability: Google Firebase Crashlytics Fabric

Although most Software Development Kits are designed to help developers build or enhance app functions, other SDKs turn toward application performance and reliability. The general category of stability SDKs encompasses devkits, APIs, and tools designed to measure the health and performance of an application (e.g., number of crashes, types of crashes, frequency, etc.) and ensure it behaves as expected.

Google Firebase’s Crashlytics Fabric SDK is the leading stability SDK, providing mobile app developers with real-time monitoring of app stability issues as well as features for easy triage and prioritization, letting developers decide what to fix and in which order to repair or restore an app’s functionalities.

Benefits of Using SDK Apps and Tools for Publishers

Publishers and developers greatly benefit from using Software Development Kits to build and optimize mobile applications. They contain libraries containing pre-written code and tools that can accelerate the development of an application and help developers and publishers.

Consequently, these tools are crucial for shortening development time and either releasing, updating, or scaling applications as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Cutting development times also helps save significant amounts of money and effort, eliminating the need to program 100% bespoke solutions for each application. In short, SDKs streamline app development and help maximize revenue from app monetization avenues.

FAQs

  • 1. What does SDK stand for?

    SDK means Software Development Kit. SDKs contain third-party tools and libraries to aid developers when building or updating applications.

  • 2. Is SDK a framework?

    A Software Development Kit should not be confused with a software framework. The primary purpose of an SDK is to serve as a toolkit. In contrast, a software framework is a platform that provides developers with a foundation to develop an application for a particular operating system.

    Some SDKs are designed to work with specific frameworks (e.g., Microsoft Windows SDKs and Microsoft .NET Framework).

    In short, while an SDK isn’t the same as a framework, each can complement the other and help a developer build applications more efficiently.

  • 3. What is an analytics SDK?

    Analytics SDKs include tools and elements that developers can integrate into their applications to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) and other vital metrics. Developers and publishers can use the data to obtain insight into the application, its users, and other relevant details.

  • 4. Which SDK is best?

    There is no best SDK for all purposes, as it depends on the intentions of the developers and the publishers.

    The types of SDK you might need most depend on the type of application you intend to build, whether you’re looking to monetize it, which operating system you are developing for, and what functionality you wish to add to the application. It’s not uncommon for developers to integrate multiple SDKs into the same application to leverage their functions and development tools.

Let CodeFuel Help You Choose the Best SDKs to Optimize Your Apps

CodeFuel’s digital property monetization experts have the resources to help you make the best decisions. Our team can help you choose the best SDKs, APIs, and other development tools to build the most profitable and efficient applications possible. 

We can also help you find other high-efficiency monetization options and make the most of your apps. Get started with CodeFuel today.

What is a Supply-Side Platform (SSP)?

What is a Supply-Side Platform (SSP)?

Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs) are a critical element of today’s advertising technology (adtech) tools and one of the most widely used aspects of programmatic advertising. Learn everything you need to know about SSPs, who is the primary user of this technology, how it works, and its pros and cons.

What Are Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs)?

Supply-Side Platforms, also called Sell-Side Platforms, are a type of adtech software system employed since the late 2000s by digital advertising publishers to manage and distribute their ad inventories as efficiently as possible. SSPs help publishers offer the ads to advertisers using a Demand-Side Platform (DSP).

SSPs and DSPs are two sides of the same technology: programmatic advertising, which automates numerous aspects of digital advertising, such as purchasing and placing ads through Real-Time Bidding (RTB), according to the criteria and parameters set by publishers and advertisers (e.g., target audience characteristics, channels, etc.)

How Do Supply-Side Platforms Work?

Although SSPs can sell a publisher’s ad inventory directly to advertisers or ad networks, the most common transaction is through RTB auctions. Here’s how this process works:

Infographic

  1. Publishers use an SSP to make their ad inventory available for bidding by sending ad requests on an ad exchange
  2. Advertisers use a DSP to bid on an ad request meeting specific criteria (audience, platform, geographic location)
  3. The DSP with the highest bid (measured in Cost Per Mille or CPM) on a given ad request sends the ad to the corresponding SSP’s publisher
  4. The publisher receives the ad and the user sees it on their device

Main Features of an SSP

SSPs provide an essential service to publishers with ad inventories to sell, helping simplify and expand the ad selling process to a greater number of advertisers. This programmatic approach has replaced traditional in-person meetings between advertisers and publishers to negotiate advertising contracts.

Here’s how SSPs support publishers and the ad selling process.

  • In Supporting the Ad Selling Process

    One of the primary benefits of an SSP is the ability to manage ad inventories of any size and enable publishers to complete advertising arrangements with dozens of potential buyers without having to meet and sign contracts with each one individually.

  • In Supporting Publishers

    SSPs let publishers automatically sell ads to multiple ad exchanges and ad networks, making it a more efficient approach than the traditional demand waterfall (e.g., offering inventory to ad exchanges one by one until a bid is accepted).

    SSPs also possess tracking and analytics features, serving as crucial sources of information for publishers to gauge the effectiveness of their ad campaigns and obtain accurate data regarding audience and impressions.

Main Components of an SSP

Supply-Side Platforms comprise five essential elements: the backend and infrastructure, integrations with other adtech platforms, incorporated ad exchange functionality, data tracking, and a reporting database.

  • Backend and Infrastructure

    No software system functions without a robust backend and supporting infrastructure, and SSPs are no exception. SSP backend components are typically hosted on another party’s hosting infrastructure, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).

  • Integrations

    SSPs are designed to integrate with other adtech platforms and systems to help sell a publisher’s ad inventory (e.g., integrations with DSPs, ad servers, ad exchanges, etc.).

    They can also feature integrations with data management platforms (DMPs), which collect first-, second-, and third-party data, organize the data into segments for improved targeting and help publishers maximize revenue.

  • Ad Exchange

    One of the critical functions of an SSP is its incorporated ad exchange functionality, helping publishers connect to an advertiser’s DSP directly. This function helps facilitate direct deals between advertisers and publishers, providing an alternative to classic external ad exchanges.

  • Trackers

    SSPs use trackers to collect data regarding the publisher’s website and its audience. They collect demographic and behavioral data, which is then processed to create a user profile for each visitor. Publishers can use these user profiles to determine audience trends and improve the targeting of their ad strategies.

  • Reporting Database

    Part of the data collected by trackers goes to a reporting database, which automatically generates analytics reports measuring the performance and effectiveness of each ad in the inventory: fill rates, impressions, clicks, etc.

How Do SSP Support the Ad Selling Process?

SSPs support the ad selling process in four critical ways:

  • RTB Transactions: SSPs and RTBs can automate selling a publisher’s ad space to an ad exchange, allowing publishers to sell more ads to more platforms.
  • Ad Network Relevancy: An SSP can filter and select only the most relevant ad networks for the publisher’s inventory.
  • Ad Request Optimization: An SSP sells individual ad impressions and shows publishers who buys their ad inventory at the impression level. In turn, publishers control their ad inventory and can optimize their ad requests anytime.
  • Frequency capping: SSPs and DSPs can track the number of times a specific visitor has seen a specific ad. This feature is critical for advertisers who want to implement frequency capping: limiting the number of times a visitor can see the same ad before cycling to a different ad.

Benefits of Using SSPs

Supply-Side Platforms offer many features to publishers, and taking advantage of them grants many benefits. Here are the primary reasons you should consider using an SSP for your ad campaign.

  • Increased Advertising Efficiency

    The most evident benefit of employing an SSP is the immediate beneficial effect on your ad fill rates. The fill rate is calculated using the number of filled ad spaces in a publisher’s inventory and comparing it with the number of vacant spaces. The higher the fill rate, the fewer vacant ad spaces, resulting in increased revenue.

    An SSP can ensure the sale of all available ad spaces to the highest bidders, optimizing advertising efficiency by increasing the fill rate and maximizing the revenue per ad space. Many SSPs also come with integrated brand safety tools, preventing malicious advertisers from serving your ads aggressively or in a manner that harms user experience (UX) and keeping the quality of your ads as high as possible.

  • Expanding Your Ad Campaign’s Reach.

    In the past, publishers often offered ad space at severely reduced prices to fill the ad inventory. Although this method worked to sell ads, it was inefficient as the set price was typically too low to be profitable.

    Supply-Side Platforms prevent publishers from resorting to these methods by establishing a price floor: a minimum value under which no bids will be accepted. However, if your ad campaign features new and exceptional content, SSPs can be adapted and offer a new, appropriate price point. This feature ensures that new campaigns get maximum reach, allowing publishers to prioritize expansion instead of profit optimization when needed.

  • Better Revenue Yield

    The amount of revenue earned from ads is referred to as yield or ad yield. The primary purpose of an SSP is to select the best bid prices for your ads and optimize ad displays to minimize fatigue (e.g., displaying the same ads over a long period). However, it isn’t designed to pick the highest bidder every time, as the highest price isn’t necessarily coming from the most relevant advertiser.

    For example, an SSP will ignore an advertiser in a different geographic area with content that doesn’t match any of your requirements, even if it were to offer the highest CPM bid.

    Instead, SSPs consider your needs and requirements and attempt to match your content with the most relevant advertisers. They will only look for the best prices within these parameters, resulting in a better and more optimized yield.

Challenges of Using SSPs

Although SSPs offer many benefits to publishers, it is critical to remain aware of the challenges involved in their use. Here are some of the most prominent.

  • SSP Market Fragmentation

    The global SSP market is divided into various segments, depending on the region, industry, business size, and applications. For example, region segmentation includes Europe, North America, South America, Asia-Pacific (APAC), and the Middle East and Africa (MEA), whereas industry segments include education, manufacturing, IT, telecoms, and finance.

    One of the biggest challenges of using SSPs is finding the right one for your region, industry, applications, and specific needs.

  • Complexity

    Although finding the right SSP can help you reduce the complexity of managing and selling ads to advertisers, the nature of programmatic advertising means that changing small details may sometimes require interacting with multiple options and interfaces.

    Consequently, many SSP solutions introduce their own degree of complexity, making it more difficult to manage your ad inventory if their workflows aren’t efficient or intuitive. The only way to ensure a particular SSP works for you is to try it and determine whether it can help you work more efficiently.

  • Service Costs

    Although every platform offers its own pricing plans, most charge a percentage based on the total ad spend amount. Average rates vary between 15% and 35%. However, each SSP may charge additional fees for extra services such as fraud detection, improved viewability, and brand safety tools, potentially increasing the total service costs to 30-50% of the ad spend.

Where Do SSPs Sit in the Online Advertising Ecosystem?

The online advertising ecosystem between advertisers and publishers comprises numerous elements: DSPs, media agencies, ad networks and exchanges, ad servers, data suppliers, and other smaller elements.

Supply-side platforms are one of the elements closest to the publishers. They help publishers reach advertisers by directly reaching ad exchanges, ad networks, DSPs, and DMPs.

SSP vs. DSP

SSPs should not be confused with Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs). A DSP is a software platform designed to help advertisers buy ads from publishers across multiple ad exchanges. In other words, a DSP is to an advertiser what an SSP is to a publisher, fulfilling the same essential role; technology that helps advertisers and publishers connect and reach deals on ad spaces.

Examples of Supply-Side Platforms

Here are some of the top SSPs on today’s market and what unique value propositions they offer.

  • Google Ad Manager

    Google Ad Manager is unique for being both a Supply-Side Platform and an ad exchange, combining the features and services of both platform types under the same roof. Google Ad Manager is certified by the Trustworthy Accountability Group as a platform safe from piracy, fraud, malware, and other risks to brand safety.

    Ads offered on Google Ad Manager are subjected to the unified first-price auction system, where the winning bidder must pay the bid with the highest price. The service also offers a complete suite of management tools for video ads, native ads, and other formats. Additionally, using Google Ad Manager is free to publishers with over 5 million monthly page views.

  • OpenX

    OpenX is one of the largest and best-performing SSPs available today, consistently ranking among the top 10 options for publishers. It has access to over 30,000 top-rated advertisers and provides customers with a wide range of analytics tools and custom reports.

    Due to the highly sought-after nature of its advertisers, OpenX is only open to publishers with 10 million monthly page views.

  • Magnite

    Formerly known as Rubicon Project, Magnite is one of the oldest and most well-established Supply-Side Platforms. Magnite has offered its services to publishers since its foundation in 2007, being one of the most consistent top performers and partnering with some of the world’s largest clients, such as Fox, Discovery, Hulu, and Disney.

    Magnite is well-known for offering a wide selection of static and dynamic ad formats, fitting virtually any publisher’s ad space. They also offer a privacy-friendly platform, compliant with the most prominent regional regulations (e.g., GDPR, CCPA), helping improve worldwide reach.

  • PubMatic

    PubMatic is another older and well-established SSP, established in 2006. PubMatic’s services are trusted by high-profile clients such as Verizon, Dictionary.com, and Electronic Arts.

    With access to over 400 DSPs, exchanges, and networks, numerous configuration options and controls for publishers, and an easy-to-use interface, PubMatic is often described as one of the best SSPs to maximize ad yield. The company also uses moderation tools to maintain ad quality standards, ensuring only the best-performing content is served to publishers.

  • Xandr

    Xandr, known as AppNexus until 2018, is a multi-faceted adtech company offering an SSP, an ad exchange, a DSP (Xandr Invest), and an ad curation platform (Xandr Curate). Monetization is open to publishers with a minimum of 10 million monthly page views.

    Xandr’s monetization schemes primarily focus on header bidding and television advertising (e.g., OTT, Connected TV). They offer an exclusive private marketplace exchange to publishers with a unique inventory, allowing them to increase the value of their ad inventory and offer their ad slots to a curated selection of partners.

Alternatives of Supply-Side Platforms

Although SSPs offer many valuable features to publishers, top-performing platforms often have strict requirements that can be challenging to meet. Here are a few solutions if you’re looking for alternatives to the most common SSPs to help you monetize your content.

 

  • CodeFuel

    CodeFuel serves as an alternative to SSPs and DSPs by offering tools to help publishers grow engagement and increase their website’s value through website performance optimization and the creation of new revenue channels.

    For instance, CodeFuel offers ways to implement or optimize the monetization of your website,  mobile apps, or search engine experience, helping you engage with more users and increase your yield.

  • Amazon Publisher Services (APS)

    Amazon Publisher Services (APS) Publishers is Amazon’s unified ad marketplace for publishers looking to display ads on the retail giant’s website. It features server-to-server bidding integrations and a highly responsive, centralized dashboard. Although an Amazon account is required to use APS, no fees are required.

  • Bing for Partners

    Microsoft’s search engine offers a partnership program with advantageous features for publishers, such as ad syndication (Bing ads on your website), Bing search engine ads, and cross-device compatibility (responsive and optimized results on PC, smartphones, and tablets).

FAQs

  • 1. What does SDK stand for?

    SDK means Software Development Kit. SDKs contain third-party tools and libraries to aid developers when building or updating applications.

  • 2. Is SDK a framework?

    A Software Development Kit should not be confused with a software framework. The primary purpose of an SDK is to serve as a toolkit. In contrast, a software framework is a platform that provides developers with a foundation to develop an application for a particular operating system.

    Some SDKs are designed to work with specific frameworks (e.g., Microsoft Windows SDKs and Microsoft .NET Framework).

    In short, while an SDK isn’t the same as a framework, each can complement the other and help a developer build applications more efficiently.

  • 3. What is an analytics SDK?

    Analytics SDKs include tools and elements that developers can integrate into their applications to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) and other vital metrics. Developers and publishers can use the data to obtain insight into the application, its users, and other relevant details.

  • 4. Which SDK is best?

    There is no best SDK for all purposes, as it depends on the intentions of the developers and the publishers.

    The types of SDK you might need most depend on the type of application you intend to build, whether you’re looking to monetize it, which operating system you are developing for, and what functionality you wish to add to the application. It’s not uncommon for developers to integrate multiple SDKs into the same application to leverage their functions and development tools.

  • What is a Data Management Platform?

    A Data Management Platform (DMP) is another aspect of programmatic advertising. DMPs collect various types of data from advertising campaigns, websites, and users, storing and categorizing it to provide relevant insights to advertisers and publishers. DMPs achieve these insights by building personalized user profiles, which can be used to determine trends and help improve the efficiency of an ad campaign.

  • How does header bidding work?

    Header bidding is a function incorporated into most SSPs. They allow publishers to receive bids from multiple advertiser DSPs simultaneously. Header bidding can significantly help a publisher optimize their yield as it helps them visualize how much each ad is worth to a wide range of advertisers in a short period.

  • How can price floors help with yield optimization?

    Most SSPs let publishers set price floors as a way to maintain control over the pricing of their inventory. The primary purpose of a price floor is to let publishers not allow the sale of an ad under a specific price. This type of price floor is referred to as a hard price floor (HPF).

    For example, if you set an ad’s HPF at $4.50, bidders offering less than $4.50 CPM (e.g., $4.00 and $4.19) will be automatically rejected.

Need Help Implementing an SSP? CodeFuel Can Help You

If you’re looking for help choosing, implementing, or configuring a Supply-Side Platform for your website, CodeFuel can help. Our dedicated team of experts can provide the guidance you need to optimize your website’s monetization and maximize your ad revenue yield. Visit our website today for more information.

Why Chatbots are Essential for Businesses

Chatbots are those things you see that pop up on sites asking you if you have questions or need additional help.

Sometimes, there is a real person on the other end of that chatbox, but most often, these are bots that are programmed with responses based on frequent questions or algorithms.

These bots aren’t just another bit of code to add to your site. They can actually have a big impact on your success. Here’s why:

Users Actively Engage with Them

Chatbots aren’t typical pop-ups that annoy users and send them searching for ad blockers.

Users actually engage with these bots and rely on them for information. Many have reported that they feel like they are working with their own personal assistants on the site to find the information they need or achieve their goals, such as finding the right car to buy or the right couch to have with children around.

Bots end up improving the user experience on the site, which makes people feel better about your brand and be more likely to return. Bots also help people find exactly what they need, which means that you are helping to solve their problem and potentially earn a customer.

Think about how bots can help users find information on your site and incorporate them effectively. Make sure you set up the design to show users how they can be helpful, and include information encouraging them to engage with the chatbot in a way that shows this usefulness.

They Don’t Require Downloads

Users are very leery of downloading software or information on their own computers, especially from sites that they have just started using.

Bots don’t require that users download anything, which means that people are much more likely to use them. Therefore, you will get more usage, which increases your chances of generating a lead or making a sale.

Since bots don’t require a download, they also put less strain on your coding and hosting capacity.

Bots are Optimized for Mobile

Mobile marketing is the focus of the future for all brands. There are now more mobile searches than there are desktop searches, and mobile users are growing constantly.

If you want to remain relevant, you have to develop a strong marketing plan for mobile users. That includes optimizing your design and your content for these smaller devices.

Bots are optimized for mobile without you having to do anything else to make them that way. Bots were used on mobile devices for many years, so their design has already been perfected for mobile users. You can be sure that they are helping you to capture more of this important demographic for your site.

They Have Minimal Cost

Unlike developing a dedicated app, bots have a very low cost. You won’t have to spend thousands of dollars to incorporate them into your site.

Bot platforms have created the basic infrastructure for creating bots, so you don’t have to hire a team to do all the extensive development required for building a program from scratch.

In addition, bots require minimal maintenance, so you won’t have to make a big investment of time or money to keep your bot up to date or secure.

Not only do you not have to pay a lot of money to get or maintain a chatbot, but you will get a huge return for having one on your site. Users will feel more engaged, you’ll get more leads, and you’ll make more sales as a result of having the bot on your site.

They are More Popular because of WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a popular messaging platform that allows users to send messages without using a texting service. People can instantly send messages without having to pay for an additional service or without using the data on their plan.

Because more people are using WhatsApp, they are comfortable with these kind of messaging services and are more open to using them. That means that when they see the chatbot on your site, they are going to be more willing to engage with it.

They are going to understand that they can communicate easily and without being charged for the privilege. The more they use the bot, the more likely they are to get the information they need and to become a lead or a paying customer.

The more you can include on your site to increase user engagement or to promote sales, the more successful you will be. If you are not already using chatbots on your site, it is important that you look into how to incorporate them and start developing one.

You may find that a simple bot that answers frequently asked questions is enough to get the results you need, or you may find that you need multiple bot models depending on the user and the device. Either way, you will find that the investment is well worth it.

Microsoft Edge Browser: Pros and Cons

The new Microsoft Edge Browser is the Windows 10 answer to Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox, and, of course, Internet Explorer.

This new internet browser promises to be sleeker, slimmer, faster, and better, but does it deliver?

Let’s find out.

Overview: What Edge Brings to the Table

Microsoft Edge began as Project Spartan, a code name for its successor to Internet Explorer. While Internet Explorer will still be available to existing corporate customers and those who don’t upgrade to Windows 10, Edge brings plenty of new features to the table.

Here are just a few:

  • Lightweight design – Edge learned from the mistakes of Internet Explorer and the improvements of competitors, such as Chrome. Its lightweight design uses less memory, so it cuts down on initial load time.
  • Faster surfing – Likewise, Edge’s lower memory use makes for faster surfing, quicker page loading, and a much better user experience.
  • Super-smooth scrolling – The lightweight UI carries over to the browser. Like the latest version of Word and other Windows 10 products, Edge decided to cut out the jerky stop-motion scrolling that characterized past versions of Internet Explorer. This detail may seem small, but once you try it, you may be impressed.
  • Distraction-free reading – Edge has a distraction-free reading mode, which allows you to trim back on irrelevant content, download pages, and read them at your leisure. When you find articles you want to take with you, simply download them with the push of a button, then open up the Reading List at your convenience.
  • Instant answers – Like many of the other tech giants, Microsoft is beginning to offer immediate gratification, with services such as Cortana. Since Cortana is integrated with Cortana, Edge can offer instant answers to a number of common questions. When searching for weather, for instance, Edge displays it directly in the browser.
  • Note-taking – Ever want to write directly on a web page? Well, now you can. With touch-screen devices such as Surface, or even the mouse, you can write, doodle, and highlight directly on the web. Once you push the “Make a web note” button, you can add your notes, then share that annotated page with friends, family, or coworkers.
  • Enterprise-grade security – Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge tout their security features, acknowledging that cybersecurity is more important than ever. Windows itself has enhanced Smart Screen and Windows Defender, and all new Microsoft products have integrated Microsoft account functionality. While personalization and productivity are both big benefit of such integration, security is another – Windows Hello, for instance, greets users with a friendly login screen that doesn’t store passwords on devices.

Microsoft Edge for Developers

While Edge is not problem-free, it offers so many advantages that some are willing to drop their previous browsers just to use it.

One of the biggest issues with Edge is its lack of extension support. Those who want to install plugins will have to wait until corresponding add-ons have been developed.

Developers need not worry, however, since Microsoft already has a developer portal, which has several features that developers can find useful.

  • There are virtual machines for testing and development purposes.
  • RemoteIE allows free testing with Azure Remote App.
  • A GitHub page contains open-sourced demo sites.
  • A screenshot generator lets developers see how their page would look across different generations of browsers.
  • A roadmap shows where Windows 10 and Edge are headed in the future.

Clearly, Edge is ready for further development.

There is already plenty of opportunity for developers who wish to expand their offerings to Edge.

As for users who are hesitant to adopt Edge due to its lack of plugin support, they probably won’t have to wait too long before plugins start appearing.

Microsoft Edge and Windows 10: Roadmap to the Future

It’s obvious that Edge is more than just an upgraded Internet Explorer.

Learning from its own customers and the state of the marketplace, Microsoft Edge and Windows 10 have taken big strides towards a more connected world.

Tech giants are scrambling to offer streamlined, omnichannel experiences that bring personalized, immediate value to users, regardless of their device. While Microsoft has made some blunders in the past, its foothold in the tech industry gives it the ability to innovate right alongside companies such as Facebook and Google.

Windows 10 and Microsoft Edge are perfect examples of this innovation. With this new release of Windows and its latest browser, Microsoft has been able to offer much – if not more – of the value that its competitors are offering.

For instance:

  • Edge offers the same sleek minimalism and speed that Chrome does, and promises a future full of plugins, add-ons, and apps.
  • Cortana, Microsoft’s personal assistant program, competes with Siri, Google Now, and Facebook’s new assistant, M.
  • With Windows 10, Office 365, and Microsoft Edge, Microsoft has introduced a new era of easy online collaboration for the workplace, friends, and family.
  • The Microsoft operating system and software suite will help bring the web and multimedia to the HoloLens and similar AR and VR devices.

With Edge and the latest wave of Microsoft products, the tech giant has proven that it can still innovate.

5 Things Software Management Services Have in Common with Software Monetization Services

Software management services are offered by companies who help you procure, maintain, and operate software for your business. Even if you have your own IT department, it often makes the most sense to choose and use software management services for your business.

In the same way, software monetization services – such as those provided by CodeFuel help you procure, maintain, and operate software monetization for your business. And if you’re in the business of software, it often makes the most sense to utilize professionals who are experts in monetization.

At first glance, these two businesses may seem like apples and oranges, but remember that apples and oranges do have something in common – they are both fruit. To be a little more concrete with our analogy: they are both third-party experts in their respective fields.

A side-by-side comparison will highlight not only the benefits of both, but the overall benefits of outsourcing certain business functions to an external agency.

Here are 5 benefits that both services share:

1. Compliance

Software management services help a business comply with industry regulations, licensing standards, and more. Deploying enterprise-level applications and installations can be trickier than it sounds. Expert outsourcing can be the answer that you need to help you find out what your business can and cannot do when it comes to software.

Software monetization services, likewise, know the monetization industry inside and out. They provide pre-packaged solutions or customized solutions that comply with marketing standards set forth by the FTC and other government bodies.

2. Best Practices

Not all business software is created equal, and not all implementations are best for your business. Software management services know industry best practices and they can help you find the ones best-suited to your specific needs. This prevents you from wasting money on the wrong solutions and keeps you from the trial-and-error that can cause delays for the rest of your business.

Software monetization services also know industry best practices. Despite the fact that the monetization industry is a rapidly changing environment, there are certain practices that have proven themselves to be more effective than others. From display advertising to search monetization, consulting with a software monetization company can help you find the right solution and the best implementation.

3. Licensing Knowledge

Anyone who has ever dealt with enterprise-level deployment knows how much of a pain licensing can be. There are different levels, different pricing plans, different deals, and more. Knowing the various licensing requirements across an industry can help your business know where to save money and the best deployment solution for your business. Software management services know their industry inside and out, so you don’t have to.

In the same way, software monetization services dig deeply into the advertising and monetization world to discover the most money-making and money-saving licenses. Creating a proprietary search monetization solution, for instance, would require in-depth knowledge and specialization. Rather than hiring a team of people to develop proprietary tools for you, it is always more cost effective to find experts to do the job.

4. Industry Knowledge Means Better Deals

The right software management services company spends its time finding and providing business software implementations for their customers. If you go directly to the software vendor, they may attempt to upsell you or offer a less-than-stellar package that makes them more money. Software management company knowledge includes everything from licensing to specific software packages and special vendor relationships.

And the same holds true for software monetization companies. In this case, having an industry insider is virtually necessary, since the industry is constantly in flux and always evolving. The best way to stay ahead of the game is by aligning yourself with one of the industry’s top players.

5. Frees Up Internal Resources

Having a third party handle the tedious and cumbersome task of software deployment frees up your company resources to do other things. An IT department, which may or may not be up to the task of choosing and implementing enterprise-level software, also has their core job function to focus on. Allocating internal resources – at least to the procurement phase – would simply be cost-inefficient.

And, due to the fact that software monetization is such an esoteric and complex field, allocating internal resources to this task would simply be inefficient. Lack of expertise, training, and industry knowledge would inevitably produce inferior results and cost more than outsourcing would. Your marketing and accounting departments should work with experts, not try to become experts.

 

While the similarities between these two disparate industries may seem superficial, they both bring into sharp focus the benefits of outsourcing to experts. Both of these external services provide your business with the expertise you need, when you need it, so that your business can stay on task.