Real-time bidding (RTB) is a means in which ads are purchased and sold by way of auction. Is the name implies, this is accomplished in real time. If you place a bid, and it wins, your ad is instantly published on the site in question.

Prior to the development of RTB, online media was fragmented. To some extent, it continues in this manner today. Marketers must establish reach and target specific groups. Relationships must be forged, and generating results is time consuming. Fortunately, the advent of RTB is changing this landscape.

Now, most display inventory can be accessed from anywhere in the world. It is easier than ever to take immediate advantage of opportunities to broaden reach and pinpoint target audiences. The primary components of RTB platforms are data, reach, and technology.

  • Data: Some platforms provide data that is specific just to that platform. Amazon’s, for instance, allows marketers to buy ads on various sites, including Amazon.com, Imdb.com, and Zappos.com (all of which are owned by Amazon). It utilizes a combination of data from these sources to target audiences.
  • Reach: Twitter is undoubtedly what comes to mind when you think of tools that extend reach. Should this social media site deploy its own RTB platform, it would give marketers incredible advantage. Both its desktop and mobile presences use targeted ads and promoted tweets.
  • Technology: A great example here is AppNexus, a customizable ad tech platform. Users can build trading desks, customize their exchanges, and more. This is a much better prospect than investing in a personal infrastructure that listens to endless ad impressions every day. If you get onboard with Appnexus, you can focus your attention elsewhere, such as developing unique USPs.

Why RTB Matters

It is now possible to maintain a centralized approach while still leveraging multiple platforms. You can consolidate monitoring, analytics, and reporting while optimizing your efforts in various areas. Ultimately, publishers, advertisers, and consumers will all be better served with RTB technology. This type of ad exchange addresses matters of inefficiency, scale, and control.

RTB aggregates and automates access to demand, which means that it decreases inefficiency faced by publishers who would otherwise have to work with numerous marketers directly. Also, features included in ad exchanges enable publishers to institute rules regarding who is able to access inventory, purchase it, and the prices at which it will sell. This offers greater control.

Consider the following example. A new app is released that supports advertisements. It has managed to earn phenomenal rankings and is enjoying a rapidly increasing user base. Soon, inquiries start pouring in from advertising agencies and marketers, all of whom are interested in purchasing ads in the application.

Unfortunately, the team behind the app isn’t sufficiently staffed to handle all of these requests, yet they don’t want to turn down opportunities for revenue. This is exactly the time to turn to real-time bidding. Publishers aren’t the only ones who benefit, either. When inventory is consolidated into specific resources, marketers no longer need to deal with supply fragmentation. Furthermore, they can also determine what they are able or willing to pay. This offers a remarkable level of precision, allowing them to make sure that they are influencing the right demographic at the best time.

Whether you’re an advertiser or a publisher, the effort it takes to learn about and experiment with RTB – and to understand how it can impact your business – will certainly be worthwhile.