These two notions can be really confusing. RTB only represents a part of programmatic media buying, but unlike what most people believe, both terms are not interchangeable and are two different things.
So real time bidding is a form of programmatic buying and means exactly what the name implies: a real time bidding system. In less than 120ms, RTB allows publishers to monetize the advertising space available on their website by selling them to buyers through an auction system.
On the other hand, programmatic refers to all marketing campaigns that are organised around an offer embodied by a SSP (Supply Side Platform) and a demand by a DSP (Demand-Side Platform). Programmatic connects these 2 entities in order to make their transactions easier. Others technological players are also to be taken into account, such as data providers.
Let us tell you the short story of how RTB works… While browsing on the internet, a user – we’ll call him Mike – lands on a website. Mike loves football so let’s say he’s checking an all sport media to check on the latest results of the championship. By doing so he triggers an ad space (an impression) subsequently auctioned. If Mike’s profile matches the target of several buyers (brands such as Nike, Heineken or maybe Gilette), the one with the highest bid will win the auction and get the chance to broadcast its message to Mike while he’s reading his news.
RTB allows to generate an interesting return on investment on targeted campaigns. The ad is displayed to qualified profiles which can most likely lead to a conversion. Also, it allows advertisers to manage their budget more strategically. An advertiser can set up the maximum bid he is willing to pay for an impression before entering the auction. It’s also possible to gather meaningful insights in order to optimise bids and to evaluate an ad placement’ performance in real time.
RTB makes it possible for media buyers to identify relevant ad placements or websites which they wouldn’t have thought about. It allows them to whitelist those spotted placements within a specific campaign in order to generate the best performances. Moreover, they can effectively address their audience with specific strategies or messages.
RTB also has a great potential in terms of retargeting. It allows to reach users who didn’t convert through RTB on different sites and to bring them back to your website. The RTB bidding strategies on retargeting will be based on your prospect’s likelihood to convert.
In a nutshell, RTB only refers to a portion of programmatic. It’s a real-time advertising buying system based on an auction system. In 2019, RTB represents about half of the investments for your digital campaign so you should associate RTB with deals ID strategies in order to be effective.
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