Today, we start our first “series” of articles! This series will be composed of a number of articles sharing the same theme and following the same approach. For our first “series”, we will look at the various e-marketing channels whose definition may sometimes seem confusing.
Our first episode deals with a channel to which we have all been exposed: RTB Display (Real-Time Bidding).
RTB Display: what’s that?
In order to understand the principle of RTB, you need to understand where it originates from. In the early days of the Internet and until the mid-2000s, there were only two ways to buy display: the first, directly through publishers, and the second, via media agencies. As the latter had much more human and financial resources, this is the solution that was most often favored by advertisers.
Nevertheless, the arrival of Google was to disrupt the display market, particularly because of Google Adwords, operating via an auction system which, at that point, was very new. Display would build on this method to gradually move towards what is now called RTB Display.
Indeed, RTB Display is a variation of classic display that works via an auction system, posting the advertising from the winning bidder instantly. RTB display is fully automated. This allows real-time display when a user logs on. RTB Display is also a great way to optimise your campaigns, as it instantly displays an ad, it can directly target the desired audience based on the information of the user’s profile.
How does RTB Display work?
Whenever a user visits a site that commercialises ad placement, the system is triggered. It will then send the user’s profile to advertisers via the data collected about him or her (location, pages visited, keywords used, etc). Advertisers interested in the profile will then make an offer via a DSP platform (Demand Sale Platform), which will be responsible for negotiating the auction on AdExchange (DoubleClick Type AdExchange, FacebookAdExchange, or Microsoft AdExchange). The latter will be responsible for maximising sales by connecting advertisers and advertising agencies or publishers. The winning advertiser gets the right to display its ad.
What’s different from classic Display is that the advertiser won’t choose the broadcast medium that will be read by their target, but will choose a location where they can all meet their audience, regardless of the site. Indeed, thanks to RTB, advertisers no longer have to buy thousands of sites without knowing whether they will prove profitable or not.
As stated above, advertisers will have to define a “profile” for the targeted user using various criteria: geographic area(s) to target (Country, City, Zip Code, etc), the target segments to reach (by social class, age, interest). Campaign optimisation is boosted as the users’ data is RTB main weapon. By analysing data in real time, RTB helps qualify and target the audience precisely. The right person in the right place at the right time.
About RTB Display: some figures
RTB Display is currently experiencing strong growth. A study by the SRI (Internet Agencies Authority) outlined that the weight of purchase by RTB (or programmatic) in Display increased from 1% to 22% in 3 years (€3.4 million in 2011 to €84.7 million in 2014), and a similar growth is expected in 2016. RTB Display has been adopted by the majority of web advertisers and is evolving very rapidly: new RTB formats are appearing, especially with rich media ads, RTB broadcasting or RTB video that appears on various video platforms such as Youtube. Forecasts by IDC (International Data Corporation) only confirm the sky-high growth of RTB worldwide. RTB advertising spend in 2017 is expected to reach $427.8 million in France, and $20.8 billion worldwide.
All in all, RTB is on track to overtake “old-school” display, thanks to the strong adoption of this technology. Predictions suggest it has a bright future ahead!