What are BidSwitch Targeting Groups?

BidSwitch Targeting Groups, also known as T-Groups, offer a sophisticated layer of customization between DSPs and SSPs, helping DSPs hone in on more of the traffic they really want. 

The ad tech ecosystem is fraught with complexity, and mastering the mechanics between DSPs and SSPs is no small feat. But when the name of the game is optimization and precision targeting, a generic one-size-fits-all approach just won't cut it. That’s where BidSwitch Targeting Groups, or T-Groups, come into play. But what do they do, and how do they work?

Here's everything you need to know about T-Groups. 

What are BidSwitch Targeting Groups?

Before diving into the particulars of BidSwitch Targeting Groups, it’s useful to have a brief recap on BidSwitch itself.

You can get the full picture in our previous blog post, but to summarize, BidSwitch provides technology and services that link DSPs and SSPs via a single contract and integration—allowing them to connect and trade with multiple partners almost instantly, without having to secure and maintain multiple direct technical integrations or commercial relationships. 

At present, BidSwitch is integrated with more than 300 DSPs and SSPs, facilitating over 3,000 trading pairs among those platforms, and processing nearly 1.5 trillion bid requests every day. Enabling trading at that scale requires not only a highly optimised global infrastructure, but also a highly intelligent way to filter traffic between buyer and seller to ensure buyers get the highest percentage of supply they find attractive, within the QPS limits they set.

That’s where Targeting Groups come in. T-Groups are just one of many levers and optimization tools built into BidSwitch (including SmartSwitch) to make the bidstream work as efficiently as possible for both supply and demand partners. For SSPs, that means higher fill rates for their inventory, and for DSPs, it means being able to satisfy campaign delivery needs with lower processing and listening costs.

As a critical step in the process of transmitting inventory between SSP and DSP inside BidSwitch, we wanted to take this chance to provide a bit more detail on what T-Groups are and how they work to optimize trading for all BidSwitch partners. 

Bid request filtering

Starting at the beginning of the overall ‘bid journey’, a supply partner will send some or all of its bid requests to BidSwitch; these hit a preliminary filtration mechanism which removes any requests that have specific errors or are flagged as invalid traffic (IVT).

The bid requests then get to BidSwitch Targeting Groups, a tool that lets DSPs stipulate the exact parameters of traffic they want to receive from all of their BidSwitch-connected SSP partners. 

For example, they may want to receive only US-based CTV inventory from SSP 1; traffic from synced users from SSP 2; deals-based inventory from SSPs 3 and 4; ads.txt DIRECT traffic from SSP 5; and ads.txt DIRECT and RESELLER, user-synced display and video traffic from SSPs 6 and 7 (yes, it DOES get pretty granular!). T-Groups represent the bid filtering mechanism that allows them to manage all of this.

In the overall flow from bid request sent to bid request received, T-Groups are placed before SmartSwitch (BidSwitch’s intelligent traffic routing system that uses machine learning to deliver bid requests based on individual DSP buying patterns). In other words, it means demand partners use T-Groups to give BidSwitch highly explicit instructions as to what kind of traffic they want to receive from each of their trading partners, thereby narrowing down the bidstream before algorithmic shaping is applied. 

The range of T-Group filters

Targeting Groups allow DSPs to filter bid requests by traffic type (open exchange or deal traffic only for example) or auction type (first-price or non-first price). Targeting Groups can also be set up for all supply partners or a selected group; a buyer might want to receive display traffic from all supply partners for example, but video from a much smaller list, which is achieved using two T-Groups.

Geography, language, and device type can all be specified, as can Supply Chain Object completeness and ads.txt status (direct, reseller, unknown), both of which are valuable to DSPs for whom supply path optimization (SPO) and hygiene are critically important.

And there are plenty of other options for selecting which inventory a DSP wants to receive, including allow and block lists, matched users and specific user ID source.

This gives an indication of the breadth of filtering that Targeting Groups enable. And with the potential to set up 100 different T-Groups, it’s possible for DSPs to get quite creative to ensure bid request handling is the best possible fit for a campaign.

The benefits introduced by T-Groups

The benefits of Targeting Groups primarily accrete to demand-side partners, and can be summed up in the following 3 key categories:

  1. Control - Targeting Groups put the power to dictate what kind of supply gets passed through from seller to buyer firmly in the hands of DSPs. They can set these filters at the SSP level themselves, directly inside the BidSwitch UI, and can change filtering rules any time, at their own discretion. This removes the need to work with and rely on suppliers to shape their own traffic based on DSP instruction, a process which can be slow, resource-intensive, and unreliable. 

  2. Granularity - Targeting Groups allow DSPs to filter the supply BidSwitch sends them in highly flexible and granular ways to satisfy a variety of different supply targeting, quality, and SPO objectives. High-level filters can be applied to all supply partners universally, while more granular filters can be applied to individual SSPs or groups of SSPs in non-intersecting ways. For example: a DSP creates one T-Group that specifies it wants to receive iOS inventory in the US from SSP 1; that same DSP creates another T-Group to specify it also wants to receive Android traffic in the UK from the same SSP 1. In this way, T-Groups allow the DSP to receive US/iOS and UK/Android inventory, without having to listen to US/Android or UK/iOS supply, a huge cost and processing savings.

  3. Efficiency - Targeting Groups allow DSPs to listen to only the inventory they care about, and filter all the rest. This enables them to fill the QPS they allocate to BidSwitch with supply they are likely to bid on, thereby driving up monetization potential while reducing processing burden and listening costs. 

While Demand Partners see the greatest value from T-Groups, Supply Partners also benefit from reports available inside BidSwitch that highlight how much of their supply is getting filtered out at the DSP level thanks to DSP-set Targeting Group filters. Armed with this knowledge, SSPs can then engage DSP partners through a more strategic lens, finding ways to improve supply quality and relevance to satisfy specific buying needs at any given time.

The next stage in the BidSwitch story

Targeting Groups are part of the ongoing evolution of BidSwitch. They’ve been set up to reflect what DSPs need today in terms of specific and granular targeting. At the same time, they enable SSPs to enhance their partnerships with demand side players by helping them better understand the specific needs of the DSP. 

But Targeting Groups are just one of many tools BidSwitch provides to help our trading partners get maximum value from their programmatic connections. In this series, we’ll discuss some of those other tools in more detail, including True Price and SmartSwitch.

Have questions about Targeting Groups or any other BidSwitch feature? Reach out to learn more.