The introduction of real-time bidding to the ad tech industry has significantly changed the way premium publishers, app developers and advertisers deliver their advertising campaigns. Real-time bidding offers more control to publishers when managing their advertising inventory, including the ability to set price floors. Therefore, publishers should be looking to choose an RTB platform that allows them to maximize ad monetization opportunities for optimum campaign performance.
This article explicates the process of real-time bidding (RTB), the types of RTB platforms, how these platforms work, and the best RTB platforms for publishers in 2021
What is Real-Time Bidding?
A now integral part of the programmatic advertising process, real-time bidding (RTB) refers to the process of buying and selling ad impressions in real-time. It is an automated auction that allows advertisers to bid on ad space from publishers on a cost per mille (CPM) basis.
Real-time bidding allows multiple advertisers to bid on ad inventory before a website even loads, with the winning ad being instantly displayed. The entire process takes a millisecond.
The benefits of real-time bidding are numerous for everyone involved. Real-time bidding is fast, efficient, and cost-effective. For publishers, the benefits include price floor optimization and monetization opportunities for remnant ad units.
The real-time bidding process works in the following way:
- A user clicks on a web page.
- Before the page loads, the site’s publisher sends the ad space that is available to the supply-side platform.
- The supply-side platform looks at the user’s cookies to determine what ads are relevant based on the user’s history, interests, and demographics.
- Next, the demand-side platform then places a ‘value’ on the user and places a bid on the ad space based on that information.
- The supply-side platform then picks the ad to serve, based on the highest bid
- Finally, the winning ad is displayed on the user’s screen.
Types of Real-Time Bidding Platforms
For publishers looking to understand, and leverage real-time bidding technology for ad monetization, it is integral to understand that RTB is not a platform in itself, but rather an ecosystem that involves several different platforms working together to manage ad operations.
RTB platforms include supply-side platforms for publishers, demand-side platforms for advertisers, marketplaces such as ad exchanges, data management platforms for data storage, and ad networks that act as intermediaries in the ad serving process.
What to Look For in an RTB Platform
There is no one size fits all strategy for publishers looking to employ an RTB platform. Choosing an RTB platform is subjective and the decision should be based on multiple factors, including the publishing niche, target audience, and dominant ad formats. This being said, there are few things all publishers should consider when choosing their ad exchange technology.
Publishers should look to choose a platform that suits their advertising campaign needs, or more specifically their ad format needs. For example, publishers looking to serve video ads should look at supply-side platforms that specialize in this type of advertising.
While RTB has significantly streamlined the programmatic marketplace, ad monetization can be technically complicated and may require tech support from time to time.
Publishers should thoroughly research which RTB platforms offer the most tech support by looking at reviews and talking to the platforms directly.
Ad Serving Technology
Perhaps most important of all the considerations is the technological ability to deliver premium demand advertising.
The platform should offer advanced targeting options for online advertising and the ability to optimize price floors to enable the highest possible bids.
Best Real-Time Bidding Platforms for Publishers 2021
Now that you know what to look for in a real-time bidding platform, here are Publift’s pick of the best RTB platforms to use for your advertising campaign in 2021.
Developed in 2011 by mobile developers specifically for mobile publishers, Ad Colony has since grown into one of the largest mobile advertising and monetization platforms in the world.
Ad Colony specializes in HD video advertising and playable technologies, making them a great choice for mobile game developers.
Ad Colony works across both Android and IOS devices.
Ads Compass is a global ad network the aims to work as a conduit for mutual cooperation between multiple sources including webmasters, advertisers, media buyers, and multiple ad networks. Ads Compass has its own ad exchange and self-serve platform, creating an extremely user-friendly UX.
Imonomy focuses on in-image advertising and work with over 13,000 publishers in the online space.
Perfect for publishers with a visually rich website, this platform also offers is in-line, in-screen, in-video, and header bidding technology.
Integrating semantic programming theory with contextual analysis technology and Big Data analytics, Imonomy pride themselves on serving all three major market stakeholders in the ad serving process, publishers, advertisers and users.
Founded in 2009, LiveIntent specializes in email marketing campaigns. Perfect for publishers with a large email list and ongoing email campaigns, LiveIntent are also looking at solutions to help publishers to monetize without relying on third-party cookies.
Previously operating as Rubicon Project, Magnite is a popular sell-side platform specializing in in-app and video advertising. They offer a header bidding wrapper and a private marketplace.
They offer ten different video ad formats, including linear, vertical, native, and out-stream.
Having worked with big-name clients such as Spotify, Vox, and eBay, they are one of the most trusted names in programmatic advertising.
Native advertising platform OutBrain is an industry-recognized leader when it comes to content recommendations for publishers. These content recommendations appear as boxes of interesting content with catchy titles and bright images used to attract readers.
In 2019, Outbrain merged with Taboola and now serves an audience of over 2.5 billion people.
OutBrain generally works with premium publishers who serve high-quality content to their readers. OutBrain’s ad format offerings include interstitial, native, in-stream, and in-article.
Smaato is another great choice for publishers looking to monetize through in-app publishing on the mobile web.
Smaato is a publisher-centric, multi-offering platform that offers an RTB ad exchange, an ad server for publishers, and a private marketplace.
Working with around 90,000 mobile publishers and app developers, Smaato offers comprehensive support for a wide range of ad formats including native, in-stream, out-stream, and banner ads.
Splicky is a demand-side platform that uses proprietary Real-Time Advertising (RTA) technology to serve relevant ads on mobile, desktop, DOOH screens, and CTV. Splicky uses programmatic technology to ensure advertisers only bid on impressions that match their targeting requirements.
Splicky offers a range of ad formats, including banners, interstitials, rich media and video, and a user-friendly interface with a self-serve platform and real-time analytics.
RTB real-time platforms are a central part of the programmatic advertising ecosystem. By leveraging the right RTB platform digital publishers, app developers, and blog owners can join the RTB process and get the highest price possible from the advertising inventory.
RTB platforms simplify the ad buying process and make the whole process fast and cost-effective.
Publishers can look to the above platforms to provide relevant, non-intrusive, ads that don't interfere with the user experience.
Looking to get started with programmatic advertising and RTB? Contact our experienced team today to learn more.