Real Time Bidding (RTB) for internet advertising is steadily gaining ground as everyone is benefitting from improvements in the technologies. When a user clicks on a page link, in the split second before it opens all the advertising features change to cater to their specific tastes and latest purchasing history, their data and the website information has been passed to an auction site and sold to the highest bidder in a fraction of a second. Readers feel more comfortable on the page and are likely to stay for longer, boosting search engine rankings. Advertisers benefit from a specially selected target audience, increasing the efficiency of the impressions they are purchasing. Website owners also gain from successful advertising keeping the revenues flowing, while a price floor prevents the minimum spend being eroded.
RTB advertising is an invaluable tool for marketers, providing a level of precision for reaching the target audience that has not previously been achievable. Bureaucracy has also been slashed as one transaction provides access to numerous premium sites, which are now obliged to deal in RTB to maintain market share.
A barrier to the success of RTB used to be the poor accuracy achieved, with up to 54% of transactions resulting in ‘out of view’ adverts. Pressure from advertising standards bodies has forced a move towards guaranteed viewing statistics, providing concrete figures to work with. This has helped to swing advertising away from big name sites with heavy traffic and opened up the market for smaller, niche sites, which target individual profiles more directly.
The main benefit of RTB is that it enables a company or brand to target the audience on an impression by impression basis, providing economy and precision that cost per mille (CPM) lacks. This not only avoids the inefficiencies inherent in blanket campaigns but avoids damaging the message with untimely adverts that annoy potential customers. The RTB providers compete for business with their targeting strategies, including demographics from offline sources such as household incomes and social grading, to complement online data. Profiles of audience interests are crucial for accurate targeting, so choosing a provider with data relevant to the business area is key, which makes plenty of room for niche specialists who can compete with larger but more general agencies.
RTB exchanges also depend upon the technology available to them to provide the quality of service that advertisers are looking for. The key areas to focus on are the visibility of the URL, the safety of the brand, quality of the media that is available and interaction with the customer. This remains a highly competitive area with companies striving for every tiny advantage, which then quickly becomes main-stream as rival companies develop their responses.
Although relatively new as a mainstream marketing tool the recent advances in the technologies available have firmly established RTB as a popular choice for highly efficient campaigns. Understanding the concept and the opportunities that RTB provides is becoming an essential skill for brands and companies seeking to take themselves forward.