Demystifying Real-Time Bidding

Aug 15, 2012, 04:00 ET from The Daily Mail and General Trust and ad:tech London

LONDON, August 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

RTB, DSP, SSP… WFT? It's crucial you know your RTBs from your DSPs. Discover why real-time bidding is so important and also, very simple, to understand.

ad:tech London is launching its first ever Real Time Summit aimed at advertisers, agencies and publishers who need to know more about this rapidly growing sector.

Real-time bidding, or RTB, has been big news in the US for a while now. Back in 2011, eBay International director of internet marketing, Daphne Sacco predicted: "It is early days, but RTB is going to be as big an initiative in Europe as it is in the US, where we are seeing triple-digit increases in our ROI." And she was right.

According to a recent study by International Data Corporation (IDC) the UK RTB growth until 2015 will outstrip US, France and Germany. By 2015 RTB-based spending will stand for 27 per cent in the United States (up from 10 per cent in 2011), 25 per cent in the UK (up from 6 per cent), 21 per cent in France (up from 4 per cent) and 20 per cent in Germany (up from 4 per cent). Total spending on RTB in the US will reach $5.1 billion and $680m for the UK.

This ain't chump change.

Getting past the jargon

So what is RTB? In a nutshell: it allows brands to bid for individual online users' ad impressions in real time and pay what they want. No longer do advertisers face the wastage of bulk buys and the time-consuming efforts involved in negotiating directly with individual website publishers. Crucially, there's also the opportunity to put to work the wealth of data that marketers have on their customers and their target audience, along with everything websites know about their users.

"Real-time bidding has fundamentally changed the digital marketing landscape," explains DataXu VP of business development, Adrian Tompsett. "Before RTB, the majority of digital media buys were transacted with ad networks and publishers on an IO (insertion order), which offered limited transparency into what they were actually buying."

With the advent of demand side platforms (DSPs), marketers are now able to evaluate each impression before buying, and only purchase those impressions that deliver their goals most efficiently. "It's like hand-selecting each apple for your pie, rather than blindly buying a mixed bag of apples and taking pot luck," says Tompsett.

Advertisers first decide to put a specific ad in front of a specific individual on a given site and then bid for that impression. If they win the bid, the ad is served. Advertisers (and their agencies) decide in advance what they're prepared to pay to reach different audience profiles.

Once the advertiser has decided what they're willing to bid, the process is set up on an RTB platform so that the bid happens automatically when the right person logs on to a participating site. The DSP should then report back on what the advertiser has bought and the rates the inventory was sold for.

"RTB is a tool that contributes to more effective trading, so your time and resources can be spent on the actual content than how and to whom the ads are delivered," explains Carl Nelvig, VP R&D at Burt.

How will it help me?

RTB fans argue that the tool not only prevents digital waste, but is essential due to the increasing size and speed of the internet. Plus, it means customers more likely to see the ads that are relevant to them, meaning they're happier to receive relevant ads and far more likely to buy your product or service.

And it's good news for buyers and sellers too. "Sellers can control the transparency and floor pricing of their inventory and the advertisers and creatives they want to accept, while buyers can positively target by category or even to URL. They can also utilise block lists to ensure they do not appear against a given website or category," explains Sue Hunt, Director, Right Media EMEA at Yahoo!

However, some are still not convinced of the advantages. "While ad exchange is predicted to grow rapidly, there is a feeling that it still needs to convince marketers and advertisers of the benefits of investing in RTB," says ad:tech head of UK, Chris Asselin.

"Although the benefits of RTB are very easy to grasp - allowing advertisers to set the price they are willing to pay to target specific users, and offering the publisher chance to maximise their inventory - there's still a lot of scepticism and criticism," explains Asselin. "The ad:tech RTA Summit has been launched to knock down myths, re-establish facts and provide advertisers and publishers with simple and actionable knowledge."

Online video and RTB

One of the ways RTB is now being utilised is through online video advertising. "Video advertising continues to go from strength-to-strength in the UK with ad spend doubling every year," says SpotXchange CEO and founder, Mike Shehan. "Buyers are increasingly looking to capitalise on the RTB developments seen in display and include video within programmatic buys."

In a study commissioned by SpotXchange, Forrester estimates that video RTB will represent 15 per cent of all online video advertising spend in the US in 2012 growing to 22 per cent by 2013. Europe is also poised to see significant growth in video RTB. "In an industry which is looking to bridge the gap between RTB and brand advertising, video RTB may be the key. After all, online video advertising has been the most successful digital channel in attracting brand-spend online."

How can I find out more?

That's where the ad:tech London Real Time Summit comes in. The summit is a day of learning, from explaining the basics, walking you through which exchanges will work for you and much more. Involving panel discussions and keynotes, it's a chance to learn the essentials, review what's coming next and work together to get the most out of the medium.

"ad:tech has given the industry a much-needed platform to discuss what RTB means in context with other key developments," says Shehan.

Jay Stevens, Rubicon general manager and VP International, agrees: "Publishers have become increasingly sophisticated, especially in the UK, establishing private marketplaces with leading agency trading desks and exposing first party data in their bid stream to increase cost per thousand," explains Stevens. "ad:tech is addressing these important changes with a dedicated conference that Rubicon Project is proud to participate in. We have been working with ad:tech around the world for the past four years and this conference links our participation in the Sydney and New York events with London."

Companies speaking at the event, include: Doubleclick, DataXu, Burt, Right Media, SpotXchange, A&N Media, Rubicon and Quantcast.

The ad:tech London Real Time Summit will be taking place at the ad:tech London show on day two of the event: Thursday 20 September 2012. The summit is invite only or part of the conference pass. Call Neill Wightman on +44 (020) 3180 0861 to enquire about conference tickets.

>>>Take a look at the  Real Time Summit programme

Facts about RTB

• Display advertising sales based on RTB will experience strong growth until 2015 in the US (71% from 2010-2015), the UK (114%), France (103%) and Germany (99%).

• By 2015, the majority of indirect ad revenue volume will be traded using RTB in the US and the most developed European markets. By 2015, RTB-based direct sales will contribute to 15% of total RTB sales in the US, 7% in the UK, 14% in Germany, and 13% in France.

Notes to Editors:

ad:tech London is taking place at Kensington Olympia, National Hall, London, 19-20 September 2012.

Now in its eighth year, ad:tech London consists of an exhibition and a conference.

The free exhibition includes 70+ educational seminars and 200+ exhibitors. The paid-for conference includes panel discussions, summits and workshops.

About ad:tech London

Free-to-attend features

MailOnline publisher will share his experiences and answer your questions in an exclusive, free-to-attend keynote.

American Airlines will take you on a journey through the design, development, release and results of its app offering in this free-to-attend keynote presentation.

The Digital Hall of Fame ad:tech has teamed up BIMA and The Drum magazine to recognise creative and technical pioneers in the UK's first Digital Hall of Fame. On 19 September, 20 inspirational and influential Britons will be inducted into the UK's first Digital Hall of Fame. Come along to find out who is being celebrated and why.

Digital 100 announcement ranks agencies on their UK fee income from digital activities for the most recent complete year of audited accounts available to them. It also highlights the top marketing agencies, top design-and-build agencies and highly ranked technical agencies.

The top 100 agencies for 2012 will be announced on 20 September in the Headline Theatre.

Four seminar theatres including the Headline Theatre, Mobile and Social Theatre, Display and Social Theatre and Online Media and Direct Marketing Theatre. There are more than 70 seminar sessions taking place over two days.

Mobile and Innovation Hub Meet with digital gurus who will guide you through some of the most important new developments in digital promotion.

MMA Pavilion From marketing directors to online marketing strategists, ad:tech has joined forces with the Mobile Marketing Association to showcase the latest mobile innovations. Buyers come to source mobile solution providers, network with industry peers and hear from mobile experts.

Google Web Lab In July 2012 Google opened its Web Lab at the Science Museum in London. The participatory exhibition features five installations that allow visitors to use, play, create and share with new, existing and refreshed software and hardware.

Get the lowdown on Google's big 2012 adventure from its creative director, Steve Vranakis.

MediaCom social media technology thought-leadership interviews containing ideas and insights that brands can use to enhance their social media development strategies. The interviews take a look at key changes in the social media technology landscape and implications on the way brands engage with its customers.

The strategic paid-for conference

The theme of this year's conference is: 'Digital is The bigger picture: When will brands catch up?'

Keynotes feature exclusive content on the most current trends from the most successful practitioners. Brands presenting will be:

  • Charles Eklund, LivingSocial, head of product and business operations    
  • Omid Ashtari, foursquare, business and development director for Europe
  • Phillip Easter, American Airlines, director of mobile apps    
  • Martin Clarke, MailOnline, publisher
  • Matthew Hawn,, VP for product    

Case studies offer detailed insights and results on specific campaigns and strategies. Brands under the microscope are:

  • Martin Vovk , Sony Music, insight manager
  • Amanda Farnsworth, BBC, project executive for London 2012
  • Micael Barilaro, Gucci, worldwide digital project coordinator
  • John Parslow, Nissan Motors GB, UK marketing communications manager
  • Luke Mansfield, Samsung, head of product innovation

Panel discussions bring together multiple perspectives on the contentious or complicated issues. Brands include:

  • Christelle Chan,, marketing director
  • Gareth Capon, BskyB, product development director
  • Chris Schaumann , Nokia, global director, digital and social capability development
  • Ottokar Rosenberger, eHarmony, UK country manager
  • Jonathan Allan , Channel 4, sales director

Also included in your conference pass is GroupM University, which will be showcasing agencies from within its network and giving attendees the benefit of its expertise in the areas of search and more.

Real-Time AdvertisingSummit Real-time advertising is the vehicle to rediscovering value in digital advertising. This summit is a chance to learn the essentials, to review what's coming next and to determine how we can further work together to move the industry forward.

Mobile Video Summit Hosted by Brightroll, this programme is tailored towards the need-to-know for this year, the summits are limited capacity to provide an intensive learning and networking experience for all attendees.

ad:tech conferences currently take place in New York, San Francisco, London, Sydney, Singapore, Tokyo, Melbourne and New Delhi. ad:tech will continue to expand globally in order to provide online marketing communities with great opportunities to network, share best practices and ideas everywhere in the world.

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To enquire about conference tickets, contact:

Neill Wightman t. +44(0)20-3180-0861
Delegate sales executive

For further information and to request a press pass, please contact:

Catherine Thurtle t. +44(0)20-3180-6594
Editorial and PR manager

SOURCE The Daily Mail and General Trust and ad:tech London