Real Time Bidding or RTB has dramatically changed the way the digital media industry buys and sells media. It is predicted that by end of 2015, more than 50% of all non-premium inventory will be traded using RTB technology. In India, the available inventory via RTB is closer to 80%! Most of this inventory is now available via RTB on large exchanges such as Google Adex, FBX, Pubmatic & Rubicon to name a few. So you better get on it!

For the first time, media buys (advertisers and agencies) can bid on every single impression they want to consume, all in real time. They don’t need to buy in bulk upfront as many have done in the past. This means, you get to evaluate every single impression on various deminsions including website name, geo location, time of day, creative type and position to name a few to help determine if it will yield the right value to you. This also means you have to invest in optimization, analytics and technology to ensure you are actually taking advantage of this opportunity.

RTB also means you get much greater transparency into every single impression. Many companies offer this capability via a DSP (demand side platform) to advertisers and via a SSP (supply side platform) to publishers. Companies like AppNexus provides a full RTB platform with access to all the major exchanges but no real support locally. Komli, the leading DSP in India, has built its own platform with access to all inventory and also has local support.

So what does it mean for new ad-tech startups? It means, RTB has to be a given in any new venture you try to start. By the time, your product is built, 80% of all non-premium inventory will be available thru RTB. It means you also need to think about whether to build your own RTB platform or leverage a DSP or another platform. In my opinion, it’s too large an investment to build your own RTB platform, leverage one of the existing players.

Where does RTB go from here? Before this blog gets printed, a large and a growing percentage of mobile and video inventory will also be available via RTB. Additionally, remarketers are starting to use inventory via RTB to smartly retarget audiences via FBX for instance. And finally, the largest advantage will accrue to those who invest in and have access to data which can be used to significantly improve optimization and outcomes. More on these in the coming months...

Image by Elvind Sandstad

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