RTB enables the buying and selling of online ad impressions in real-time, similar to the stock market. Buyers have been quick to adopt RTB as it affords them numerous benefits– specifically, greater transparency, flexibility, and control when it comes to their purchases. While buyers are quickly gravitating toward programmatic buying, publishers have been slower to recognize the value of RTB.
When first introduced, RTB was seen as a place to both discard and monetize remnant inventory. Today, however, RTB is increasingly premium and the platform is rapidly growing. According to the IDC, real-time bidded display advertising will accelerate at a 59% compound annual growth rate through 2016 with global spending to reach an estimated $13.9 billion.
The Publisher-Advertiser Disconnect
As we have previously described, advertisers are concerned with brand building and quality ad placements. Meanwhile, publishers want prices to reflect the value of their inventory. Low CPMs and other misconceptions about RTB have resulted in hesitation on the publisher side to open up their premium inventory. But the demand side is moving to RTB and the supply side must follow suit. Publishers who have unloaded their premium inventory are seeing success.
Subjecting inventory to market supply and demand ensures both publishers and advertisers are collectively determining the value of each transaction. A shift to RTB and programmatic buying and selling actually proves a lucrative option for publishers. Heres why:
Currently, publishers monetizing through direct sales are spending an inordinate amount of resources to sell ad inventory. As a publisher, your direct sales reps and ad operations teams are bogged down managing transactions with advertisers. Releasing inventory to RTB means advertisers can set their parameters, shop, and pay, all without ever even needing to talk to your team. Instead of spending your time working on classifying your inventory and working with multiple partners, you can efficiently reach qualified advertisers without the strain on your sales and ad ops teams.
Like any other ad exchange or SSP, publishers can set price floors with RTB. Open up to RTB and youre exposing your inventory to a wider audience without compromising the price of premium. Set your minimums and let the bidding begin without being undercut or attracting low quality advertisers.
Just because youre making your high value inventory available to buyers via market automation, that doesnt mean you have to give up control. In addition to price floors, you can select a network that will allow you to vet advertisers. Blacklist the advertisers that you feel would be detrimental to your brand or the ad categories that arent relevant. As an example, its probably a bad idea to show liquor ads to the teenage girls visiting a Justin Bieber site. You can also choose your network based on the quality of advertisers. Control who you work with to ensure the value of your inventory is protected.
The demand for premium inventory on RTB is high. If youre not ready to jump in head first, test the waters by delivering a limited amount of premium inventory with high price floors. This will allow you to see how your inventory is being bidded on and by whom. Advertisers want quality and theyre willing to pay to get it. I think youll find that the RTB waters aren’t as scary and unpredictable as they may seem. As a publisher, its time to ask yourself how you can efficiently and strategically release your inventory.