At present, online marketers in the display, rich media and video advertising space can hardly keep track of advancements in targeting and technology, let alone the seemingly endless parade of new ad networks and exchanges.
One of the latest technologies to test for online advertisers hoping to streamline their ad inventory buying and bidding process is real-time bidding. For networks and publishers, real-time bidding can aid in filling additional site inventory and gaining access to new brands and advertisers.
February 2011 findings from DIGIDAY and Google suggest real-time bidding has passed the initial test. Among marketers and agencies who have already used real-time bidding, more than 90% will continue to spend at least some budget this year on real-time bidding, indicating those who have allocated preliminary budget will continue to maintain, if not increase, their spend.
The do-it-yourself functionality and scalable spend typical of real-time bidding allow marketers to buy ad inventory at their convenience and within their budgetary comfort level, ultimately saving both time and money, but marketers are still in the early stages of getting comfortable using real-time bidding to make ad buys. Only 21% of advertisers find it easy to purchase inventory through an ad exchange bidding interface, and just 16% find it easy to purchase inventory through a demand-side platform bidding interface.
Although the majority of media buyers may find it a bit challenging to use real-time bidding, almost half reported high satisfaction with ad placements made by purchasing inventory through real-time buying, whether through a demand-side platform, ad exchange or network.
Agencies and advertisers are most satisfied with campaign ROI for ad placements obtained from pre-negotiated or reservation-based buying from publisher sites, indicating the time and money often saved with purchase through a demand-side platform or exchange may not outweigh the high-quality results obtained from a direct-to-site purchase.
Publishers are looking to maximize the fulfillment of their site inventory and streamline the buying process for advertisers through the convenience of an ad exchange or real-time bidding interface. More than half (51.6%) plan to include such offerings for advertisers in the coming year, with sites like Forbes.com already making strides with the newly announced Forbes Media Extension, a private ad exchange for Forbes advertisers designed to help marketers buy inventory by audience segment.
As advertisers continue to rely on a mix of online ad exchanges, sites and networks and continue to invest more ad dollars in display, video and rich media, one can only expect to see an increase in the use of campaign management tools like real-time bidding. Still, marketers should always be mindful of getting swept away by the latest tools and technology and remember that saving time and money are important, but campaign results matter most.