Real-time bidding was one of several emerging technologies in online advertising last year that we believed would drive the resurgence of display in 2011. Based on the most recent data from advertisers and agencies that have already used the functionality, it is well on its way to becoming one of the year’s biggest trends.
Google and DIGIDAY conducted a survey of more than 300 online advertising professionals in February, and more than 90 percent of those who have used real-time bidding said they will continue to spend at least some budget on the functionality this year. Almost half (47 percent) said that real-time bidding was the most satisfactory method for buying online display ads, whether through a demand-side platform, ad exchange or network.
In real-time bidding, advertisers make bids on impressions based on the website, the placement of the ad, the number of impressions desired and any data for use in retargeting and other segmentation. The sellers then auction off the ads in real time based on the bids and the users who are actually visiting the site at that time.
This method holds a lot of value for advertisers and agencies because they are purchasing highly targeted audiences at costs they can control. For publishers and ad networks, the biggest advantage is that they can sell their inventories quickly and seamlessly to the highest bidders, often at a premium.
But real-time bidding still has a long way to go before it reaches the mainstream. There is definitely still an unfamiliar aura about it and only 4 percent of online advertising was bought in real time in 2010. That spending is due to increase by 133 percent in 2011, according to Forrester, as advertisers continue to invest more in display, video and rich media.