Advertisers Demand More Audience Targeting Capabilities

Real-time bidding is still a relatively young method for buying online advertising, but advertisers are getting into the game much faster than publishers, who risk falling behind and losing ad dollars.

According to March 2011 research from DIGIDAY and PubMatic, nearly half of publishers surveyed have been forced to turn down requests for proposal because they couldn’t offer advertisers the targeting capabilities they had come to expect.

In addition, two-thirds of publishers said they had seen an increase in requests for proposal that included audience segment targeting. Just 3% had seen no such requests.


Publishers in North America Who Had to Turn Down RFPs due to Inability to Target the Requested Segment, March 2011 (% of respondents)

The demand for audience targeting is huge. Nearly all advertiser and agency respondents to the study (97%) said they would be using audience targeting this year, and nearly half (47%) said they would use audience targeting for a majority of their online advertising spending.

Targeting the right audience has emerged as more important than the right content, according to the survey. While the strength of the preference varied somewhat across different types of advertisers and agencies, all agreed that if they could pick only one targeting method, it would be audience.


Most Important Type of Targeting According to Advertisers and Agencies in North America, March 2011 (% of respondents)


Substantial majorities of brand marketers and agencies said they would increase their real-time bidding budgets if they had direct access to real-time bidding platforms at publisher sites. Such an offering would give the benefits of real-time bidding while maintaining the relationships and brand safety available to marketers that choose to advertise with specific publishers.

Overall, the survey indicated publishers have a long way to go. More than six in 10 media buyers had used real-time bidding in the past, while just one in five publishers currently offered inventory via real-time bidding.

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