Real-time bidding is being presented to advertisers as the latest must-have buying strategy. However, the reasons behind this claim often go unexplained, writes Ciaran O’Kane
Real-time bidding (RTB) is the hottest and most talked about acronym in the online display market. Every day you see more content around the subject in the mainstream trade press. And there seems to be an increasing number of industry people attending RTB-related and ad trading events in the UK and Europe.
I feel sometimes that RTB is too often touted as a must-have buying strategy without explaining the reasons why to marketers. So what can it do for a marketer? What is the ROI for advertisers? And why should they employ an RTB strategy and devote human and financial resource to real-time trading?
Real-time targeting reduces wastage
The idea of being able to value and buy single impressions in a matter of milliseconds is a big evolution in this space. If anything, impression-level buying will reduce huge amounts of waste in display. Instead of buying impression by the thousand, an exchange buyer can bid on a single impression based on data passed from publishers.
The information passed to a perspective buyer can be a range of variables, including site context and behavioural data gleaned from activity across the web. The data provided in that 50-100-millisecond window gives you a better chance of converting that particular user, helping to reduce waste and increase efficiencies in your display buys. RTB allows a buyer to serve the right ad to the right user at the right time.
Real-time creative can increase relevance
Retargeting has gained nearly as many column inches as Facebook display over the past 12 months. The reason for this is mainly down to its success at driving conversions. Being able to target a particular user with a creative based on site behaviour in real time is very effective. It’s been particularly successful for ecommerce advertisers that use dynamic creative solutions to insert product feeds from their own sites based on a user’s past behaviour.
Often retargeters can get the frequency capping horribly wrong and overwhelm users with the same ad creative. But if you can get this right, RTB is a massively effective way of remarketing to your audience.
Real-time actionable data
With this type of programmatic buying, marketers can get closer to the truth in terms of performance and pricing. Rather than using a black-box media-buying solution, marketers can get real-time actionable data from RTB activity. What bidding strategies are working? What creative is working best? What sites are performing better than others? What performance patterns are they seeing in their media buys? Whether marketers are working with an agency trading desk or exchange buying specialist, this kind of transparency and real-time data should be available to ensure campaign goals are being met.
These are just some high-level reasons why marketers should be looking at RTB as a buying strategy for online display. As marketers develop their expertise around this area, they’ll start to come across new opportunities/challenges around RTB, such as bid inflation and data management, making its adoption even more powerful.
Gina Lovett is away. Ciaran O’Kane is editor-in-chief of ExchangeWire