Interactive Advertising Bureau
09 September 2020

IAB Europe Releases Industry Guide to Supply Path Optimisation (SPO)


9th September, Brussels, Belgium: IAB Europe, the leading European-level industry association for the digital advertising and marketing ecosystem, has today released an Industry ‘Guide to Supply Path Optimisation (SPO)’. Written by industry experts from across the supply chain including Bloomberg Media, DoubleVerify and Vodafone, the aim of this guide is to educate all stakeholders on the importance of a good SPO strategy and implementation.

The increased sophistication of the programmatic ecosystem, with the introduction of new supply paths such as Header bidder, has led to a loss of transparency and increased opacity for advertisers and agencies, specifically related to the fees charged by intermediaries. This is where SPO offers critical help, allowing buyers to hone in on the buying paths that are low cost, transparent, and high quality. With 87% of brands, agencies and demand side platforms (DSPs) actively implementing SPO, citing brand safety, reduced fraud and improved KPIs as the main benefits, this guide is a call to action for all stakeholders to adopt SPO as one of their core business functions.

Commenting on the importance of the guide, David Goddard, Senior Director of Business Development at DoubleVerify and Chair of IAB Europe’s Programmatic Trading Committee said “SPO is a skill that any organisation at either end of the supply chain will never regret investing in. It will deliver efficiencies across the board, whether it be cost, an improved win rate, a better yield or a greater reach across quality inventory or audience. This guide will take the reader through the need and the basics of SPO and aid them to dig deep into the weeds, ask questions, demand data and challenge assumptions.”

Members of IAB Europe’s Programmatic Trading Committee came together to write the guide. Contributors from Adform, Bloomberg Media, DoubleVerify, Magnite, MediaMath, Index Exchange, PubMatic, SpotX, Verizon Media, Vodafone, Xandr, Xaxis and Yieldbird share their expertise on what SPO enables, demystify common misconceptions, highlight the importance of SPO for the different stakeholder groups, and provide a step by step guide on how to start and implement SPO.

Supply path optimisation (SPO) is an important tool for both the buy-side and the sell-side as it drives efficiency across the ecosystem” comments Chloe Gilman, Director for Northern Europe, Xandr. “For buyers and advertisers it enables them to reduce overall cost, increase working media and allows more control over where they are buying. Equally for publishers it gives greater control over the monetisation of their inventory and ensures their inventory is bought via the most efficient path, ultimately increasing yield by maximising buyers’ working media. This guide will help both sides to understand the benefits of SPO and provide advice on building a strategy.”

While programmatic advertising has been available to advertisers for over a decade, the technology has now reached a point of maturation allowing buyers to better understand audiences at scale across different devices.” comments Graeme Lynch, VP Demand EMEA, SpotX. “Supply path optimisation (SPO) is an essential component in this continued development, particularly as the media industry shifts to predominantly programmatic trading. This report from the IAB Europe illustrates the benefits of a more transparent and streamlined ecosystem and how businesses can build strategies to achieve this.

The guide also features an overview on Demand Path Optimisation (DPO) for publishers. As explained in the guide, DPO enables publishers to understand how their inventory is being bought and by whom, providing publishers with more transparency into their relationship and revenue split with supply side platforms (SSP). Through the practice of DPO, publishers can then gain valuable footholds in negotiating better terms with buy-side platforms.

Commenting on publisher perspective featured in the guide Simon Baker, Head of Programmatic EMEA, Bloomberg Media said "The IAB Europe Guide to SPO is a fantastic industry initiative that not only details the state of play in the market but provides readers with tangible action points to implement within their own day to day business from agencies to publishers. As part of   a data and tech company with transparency at its core, Bloomberg Media recognizes that DPO helps drive this similar quality within the programmatic ecosystem."

Download the Guide here and the SPO 101 Factsheet here

The Guide to SPO webinar – Interested parties can also register here for the upcoming IAB Europe webinar on SPO. The webinar will feature contributors from the guide and will include an audience Q&A for any additional SPO or DPO best practices and guidance. It will take place on Tuesday 13th October at 4pm CET.


For more information, please contact:

Helen Mussard, IAB Europe ( / +44 7399 919 594)

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