Just What is Real Time BiddingThe marketing world changes fast, particularly when new and improved technologies mean that your digital ads can now be seen not just online and on mobile technologies, but also in stores. As technologies change, so does the way your advertising campaigns can be marketed; one of those differences is real time bidding (RTB) – but if you’re new to the changing technologies of digital marketing then here’s our guide on RTB and what it can do for your business.

At the moment, most advertisers target an audience on specific platforms or sites, usually at a very high premium as they’re essentially bulk buying impressions. RTB allows you to target all like-minded audience members across almost any platform and website – so long as it hosts RTB marketing – and potentially at a much lower cost. So, instead of purchasing ad space on a single website (site specific media buying), you’re bidding to spread your campaign across the entire World Wide Web (RTB) by purchasing impressions individually. In the space of time it takes for a page to load, bids for the ad space of said page are taking place, and whoever has the highest bid by the time it’s ready wins that particular impression.

Why do I want it?

Not only does this mean you can target specific demographics, behavioural levels and tailor your ad to the individual rather than the masses, but you can do all of this effortlessly. For the most part, site specific media buying is a manual process, involving hundreds of work hours, negotiation, planning, designing and implementing. Not so with RTB. While there are still manual elements involved, such as tech support, ad quality review, etc, the process can (for the most part anyway) be automatic, allowing you to publish across a variety of different publishers without having to manually negotiate, plan and implement your campaign with multiple publishers.

On the downside, your reach isn’t guaranteed when marketing through real time bidding. When marketing through a single website you’re paying to reserve a specific number of impressions, and your ad will receive those, guaranteed. Due to the uncertain nature of RTB, there’s no way to guarantee that your bids will win the number of impressions you want for your campaign at the price you set to pay for them. Not to mention that guaranteed buys have a higher priority than RTB, so if the demand for site specific media buying on a particular website rises, the amount of room for RTB ad space diminishes.

Price is another area where the two methods of marketing differ. When purchasing ad space from a specific site the price is fixed, so you know exactly how much you’re going to have to spend to achieve the ad views you’re after for your campaign. With RTB, you could be paying far less per impression for most of your hits, but others could be much higher, so your overall cost for the same number of impressions could vary to those of direct marketing, both lower and higher, while giving you the ability to spread your reach further than a single website. While RTB marketing is still a relatively low percentage of the advertising market, expectations are that it will become exponentially more widely used each year.