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Real-Time Bidding: Innovative Marketing Opportunities in the CTV ecosystem

August 4, 2021

The rapidly developing technology in the Connected TV industry offers advertisers unrivaled opportunities to win eyeballs onto their message. Companies and brands are actively adopting and testing models that can provide lucrative returns. Choosing the best one, however, requires a bit of knowledge.
To gain it, let's take a closer look at the peculiarities of the most popular advertising model on CTV - RTB. So, what is the RTB platform?
RTB, which stands for real-time bidding, is an automated process for selling and buying advertising inventory on a per-impression basis. Every transaction takes about 100 milliseconds (a 10th of a second).

RTB in Plain English

Publishers sell ad space on their websites, and advertisers buy this space to display their ads to a target audience. RTB, in turn, selects which ad to display on a particular site.

Real-Time Bidding and Connected TV Advertising

Real-time bidding isn't solely for websites, however – CTV, as a digital marketing channel, can work on the same principle.
Just like websites, buying and selling ads on CTV is performed thanks to sophisticated algorithms and robots on virtual auctions. It takes just 100 milliseconds on average to complete the entire deal. Each tier of the auction possesses specific settings like the size of the ad spot and its exact platform attribution (a streaming service, website etc).
Additionally, CTV provides a higher chance an advertiser's ad will actually be seen. Why? The reason is that CTV can offer viewers premium inventory from sought-after publishers. This premium inventory gives bidders an upper hand on the open auction exchange.
There's also the possibility for bidders to engage in a private marketplace, or PMP. A PMP aggregates a limited number of players that are invited by a publisher and chosen under a set of criteria, including their (financial) solvency. Pricing policy may differ from a regular public market, yet it provides fair, plain, and transparent terms for acquiring high-quality impressions. Good impressions lead to better placement directly to a relevant audience, which in turn brings a higher conversion rate for advertisers. To put it simply, brands can find suitable content verticals to target the right audience and forget about frittering ad budgets away.
Is programmatic advertising different from real-time bidding? There is some overlap, but the words RTB and programmatic can't be used interchangeably. Programmatic advertising is a form of purchasing ads that utilizes technology to automate and streamline the bidding process. However, programmatic advertising isn't completely automated, as there needs to be a person to define the parameters of the advertising campaign, such as target audience, geographic area and desired ad format (video, native, display, etc.). However, once those parameters are defined, programmatic advertising streamlines the ad purchasing process through automation.

Difference Between Real-Time Bidding and Programmatic Advertising

The advertisers involved in RTB use programmatic advertising to improve the efficiency of their campaigns. RTB is therefore programmatic by nature, as the bidding process is automated. The difference is that while RTB utilizes programmatic advertising, not all programmatic advertising uses RTB. For example, advertisers can programmatically purchase inventory directly from publishers instead of bidding on an open market with RTB.
In short, RTB is always done through programmatic advertising, but programmatic advertising doesn't always use RTB.

How to Make the Most Out of RTB?

In order to see growth using RTB, both the seller and the buyer need to meet the minimum technical requirements for data safety, so that user security does not become a problem. Moreover, both parties should be subject to regular auditing of the data that is collected versus the amount of money spent on advertising.
Yes, RTB can effectively get you a fair price for your inventory. However, you as a publisher should know which part of your inventory is your gold mine. Carefully segment your inventory and take the premium portions to private marketplaces for superior returns.
In order advertisers to make the most out of RTB, there are a few elements that both they, and publishers, need to take into consideration:
Make the right partnership
User data is initially generated by websites and stored by publishers. Hence, it becomes the publishers' responsibility to monitor its flow. Being transparent is one way to avoid any allegations of fraudulent data. If a publisher openly shares a part of their data (like cookie information) with advertisers via SSP and makes sure the advertisers are not involved in data fraud, there will be no confusion around data safety.
Publishers must control the flow of data
Bad actors always seem to find workarounds for ad fraud prevention techniques. However, these frauds can be avoided simply by complying with the ad safety measures.
Avoid ad fraud
Consider private auctions for premium inventory
Too many ads are seen to increase the page load time of websites. Also, running too many auctions at a time (RTB, header bidding, and exchange bidding) can result in users waiting longer to access the site. Hence, while running auctions, optimize your site for faster ad serving. However, ad tech is now well-equipped to help publishers with page loading optimization, with techniques such as lazy-loading. With lazy-loading, publishers can show ads to users when they are ready to see them. Hence, these ads don't load with the rest of the content allowing both content and ads optimal time to download on users' browsers.

This doesn't apply to CTV, of course – ads for video content will play pre, mid, or post-roll, so there's no risk of 'overloading' video content with ads that will slow down video playback.
Monitor page loading speed
As a dynamic method for advertisers to manage their campaigns by bidding in real-time on the ad inventory, RTB does play a compelling role within the programmatic space. The process here is pretty simple: advertisers bid on every impression and if they win, the ad is shown on the publishers' property. Although people often regard RTB as programmatic, it's only a small part of the programmatic sphere, but a very important part – to the extent that it has given new life to traditional display advertising.

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