Check Out Our 15 Questions to Ask Your CTV Ad Partner 

25194164105 159743919891 164947799710 170424822844

Self-Service DSP vs. Managed Service CTV Advertising

Self Service vs. Managed Service in OTT/CTV Advertising

CTV advertising unlocks the potential to precisely target viewers on the most important screen in the household: the living room TV.

But running effective campaigns is complex. And making the most out of your investment requires hands-on resources.

Today’s agencies and brands have two choices when approaching CTV: a self-serve demand side platform (DSP) or a managed service partner like Strategus. Curious about which model is best for your needs? Check out our decision tree and read on for details.


Self-Service vs. Managed Service

Programmatic advertising requires close attention to detail. Different messages need to align precisely with diverse audiences across other networks. To ensure that all of the campaigns reach the right audiences at the most optimal moments, advertising teams can choose between self-service models or managed services.

Unlike the self-serve model, a managed service partner acts as an extension of your team — providing the dedicated people and expertise required to fully own media strategy and execution.

In the article below, we take a deeper look at how managed services can benefit organizations of any size and industry interested in CTV.


Self-Service Programmatic Advertising Models

In self-serve models, the advertising organization must completely control the process. Self-service clients oversee all of their media purchases, often through a demand-side platform and by having a large team to manage all the details. 

They need to control the bidding and scheduling of advertisements across diverse channels. If your organization runs omnichannel campaigns across various CTV platforms, this means juggling multiple dashboards, budgets, and reporting systems. 

Large organizations that can manage all of their programmatic advertising tasks in-house may opt for self-serve models. This means training internal staff to maintain all of the moving parts and concurrent campaigns. Likewise, the onus will fall on them to monitor campaign performance and optimize based on real-time data.


Managed Programmatic Advertising Models

A managed service partner like Strategus acts on behalf of an agency or direct advertising customer to purchase media. Managed services offer different levels of control, insight, and hands-on execution. Most managed services will offer plans based on impressions or clicks and provide a fixed spend.

The service will handle all of the tasks required to deliver an effective campaign, including planning, purchasing media, monitoring engagement, and creating reports.

In addition, managed service providers sometimes offer ongoing monitoring and optimization to ensure all of the ads align with the KPIs and goals of a given campaign.

3 Reasons to Opt for DSP Managed Services

Programmatic advertising is complex, and the CTV landscape is always evolving. Extensive specialization with a hands-on partner is a must for brands and agencies lacking in-house expertise.

If you know that your organization needs to pivot and prioritize programmatic advertising, the next step is choosing between self-serve and managed services. Next, consider the size of your organization, the knowledge, and bandwidth of your available advertising and marketing staff, and what efficiency-related KPIs your organization is prioritizing.

Here are three key reasons to choose a managed service over investing in a self-serve model:

1. Results

When you choose managed services, you're immediately reaping the benefits of working with industry experts who know the ins and outs of programmatic advertising and buying media. They also have technological solutions that power efficient purchasing and robust analytics.

Ultimately, managed services give you better results, both right out of the gate and in the long term. Whether you're focused on results for the holiday season or you need strong annual and quarterly results, choosing a managed service cuts through the startup costs and inertia.

With a managed service, you get a complete solution with:

  • Access to high-quality inventory

  • More efficient pricing

  • Industry expertise and experience with best practices for CTV advertising

  • Tech solutions for full geotargeting, attribution, and analytics

Self-service models, on the other hand, can limit the results. For example, you'll see less inventory for the initial media purchasing stages and won't have easy access to prime windows of customers' attention.

You'll also have reduced targeting and attribution powers, which can be essential for zeroing in on positive results and duplicating them in subsequent campaigns.

2. Better CPM

Pricing is a factor in every marketing decision. When you choose a managed solution, the price tag may look higher than the initial costs of self-serve DSP models. But it includes everything you need to get your CTV advertising running.

You'll have access to complete campaign management, industry experts, and the technology and inventory to make the process run smoothly. In addition, because a managed service oversees bigger blocks of media, individual organizations benefit from a stronger negotiating position.

Managed services can also cut down on costs in the future. For example, at Strategus, we advise our clients to avoid costly advertising mistakes that reduce campaign effectiveness. We also cover our clients for over-delivery and similar errors.

Self-serve models can have a smaller price tag, but much less is included in that price. This can leave your organization paying for unexpected add-ons, the costs and lost time of training your internal staff, and even hiring costs for bringing a full-time expert onto your team. You also face potentially steep charges for mistakes that will happen as your team takes on this niche area of advertising.

3. Specialized Team

If you manage your own programmatic CTV advertising efforts, you have a new full-time job on your plate. But when you choose managed services, you still have time to manage your responsibilities.

By working with a third-party service of industry experts, you can immediately benefit from their experience, industry relationships, analytics tools, and knowledge of best practices. This advantage can instantly boost your advertising results.


Choose Comprehensive CTV Advertising Services From Strategus

At Strategus, we offer comprehensive managed services for agencies and brands that demand measurable results.

As the first organization to run a programmatic CTV campaign in 2015, we take a CTV-centric approach and build out comprehensive campaigns that leverage the rest of the digital ecosystem to deliver results.

By leveraging our industry-leading attribution and measurement capabilities, you're able to quantify ROI at every touchpoint and continuously optimize your campaigns based on real-time data.

We connect our clients with 188+ tech and data partners to ensure hyper-targeting at scale. This means integrating third-party data sources like Oracle, first-party CRM data, Amazon shopper data, and more. From there, we curate a vast library of premium inventory across 843 individual deal IDs.

So what are you waiting for? Contact us today to learn more about how managed CTV advertising services can take your omnichannel campaigns to the next level without overburdening your teams or overstretching your budget.

Traci Ruether is a content marketing consultant specializing in video tech. With over a decade of experience leading content strategy, she takes a metrics-driven approach to storytelling that drives traffic to her clients' websites. Follow her on LinkedIn at or learn more at

Strategus Favicon

Strategus is a managed services connected TV(CTV) advertising agency with over 60,000+ campaigns delivered. Find out how our experts can extend your team and drive the result that matter most.

Talk to an Expert