Should I Build Or Rent an AdTech Platform [Decision Tree]

AdTech Platforms, Custom Development & Integrations

Should I Build Or Rent an AdTech Platform [Decision Tree]

Published on September 30, 2019, Updated on November 10, 2020 by ,

The question of building or renting an AdTech platform, such as a supply-side platform (SSP), bidder, demand-side platform (DSP), or data management platform (DMP), is one that many tech companies, brands, and agencies often ask themselves.

In fact, this is often one of the main questions our partners ask when enquiring about our AdTech and MarTech development services. 

And while the decision to build or rent depends on a number of factors, there are a few main reasons why building or renting an AdTech platform is the only choice. 

To help our partners, as well as other tech companies, brands, agencies, and publishers, with making this decision, we’ve created a simple decision tree:

 A decision tree used to help companies decide whether they should build or rent an AdTech platform like a DSP, SSP, DMP, or bidder.

FAQs About Building or Renting an AdTech platform

What are the advantages of building an AdTech platform (DSP, SSP, DMP, etc)?

Below are the main advantages of building your own AdTech platform:

  • Data ownership — owning the data you collect makes it easier for you and your clients to comply with various data protection and privacy laws, such as the GDPR.
  • Ownership of the intellectual property (IP) — not only will this give you control over the code base and algorithms, but it can also increase the value of your company.
  • Control over the features and product roadmap — you can create proprietary features and algorithms to differentiate yourself from the competition.
  • Reduction of fees and commissions — most AdTech vendors charge a markup of 10% to 30%, which can add up if you have a large ad spend or inventory. Building your own AdTech platform can lower this amount and help you save millions of dollars per year.

The main drawback of building your own AdTech platform is that it requires a large financial and time investment, particularly in the beginning, compared to renting an AdTech platform.

However, if your goal is to earn revenue from the platform by offering this platform to clients, then this isn’t so much of an issue as you’re goal will be to get a return on your investment over time.

What are the advantages of renting an AdTech platform (DSP, SSP, DMP, etc)?

Below are the main advantages of renting an AdTech platform (i.e. using an existing platform):

  • You can start running campaigns straightaway — in most cases, you can start buying or selling media within hours of creating an account.
  • Lower upfront cost — a majority of AdTech platforms charge a percentage of media spend, meaning you don’t need to pay any upfront costs. This typically isn’t the case with some white-labelled solutions or larger AdTech vendors as these may charge an ongoing monthly fee on top of media spend.

The main drawbacks for renting an existing AdTech platform is that you have limited or no customization possibilities and no ownership of the data or technology.

How long does it take to build an AdTech platform?

This largely depends on the software development process. 
For example, the AdTech development teams at clearcode aim to build a working minimum viable product (MVP) within 4-6 months. 

The image below illustrates our software development process when building AdTech and MarTech products:

Clearcode's software development process
Click on the image above to view the full infographic

How much does it cost to build an AdTech platform?

Similarly to the above question, this will vary across software development companies. 

If you are evaluating different development options (e.g. an in-house dev team, outsourcing company, or a specialized technical partner), it’s important just as important to evaluate their experience in designing, building, and maintaining AdTech platforms as it is their proposed costs for the project. 

Working with an inexperienced development team may work out cheaper in the shorterm, but if they don’t know how the online advertising technology ecosystem works, then it might mean that you’ll spend $100,000 dollars on an MVP that doesn’t work at all or doesn’t meet the main business objectives (e.g. buy video inventory from premium websites).

How much will it cost to build your AdTech platform?

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