Data Creates Opportunities for RTB ArbitrageFive Questions to Ask When Evaluating RTB Video

Every day, the advertising industry moves one step closer to reinventing how online video is bought and sold. More premium inventory enters exchanges. The price of said inventory can rival or exceed that made on an upfront basis. However, real-time bidding (RTB) has a myriad of detractors. Nevertheless, one way or another a myriad of players already use RTB. It is the future that, prior to the data revolution, has been limited by approach, technology and old thinking. As one example, here is an article from MediaPost focusing on the negatives.

A lot of the negativity around RTB is bluster. Ad networks are inventory constrained have been known to “buy” inventory from others when needed. RTB is one source. Most importantly, many publishers use RTB to “sell” their unsold inventory, particularly when they don’t hit minimums promised to their publisher partners. Therefore, there is overlap between whats available on a reserved basis … and in a real-time scenario. The difference is that the price of inventor real-time is significantly less expensive. RTB for mobile, video, rich media display and connected TV inventory is here and growing.

RTB data for mobile, video and connected TV differs from upfront buying in two ways: 1.) It focuses on identification, rather than filtering. With RTB, knowledge is power that creates pricing and reach opportunities for arbitration; 2.) Next-generation broadcast data is quick and pre-bid, providing information to evaluate and buy on the fly.

Here are some questions that need to be addressed when buying mobile display or online video in an RTB environment:

Is the object (mobile interaction or video) advertiser-friendly? (Content matching)

Does the audience align with advertiser targets? (Buyer mapping)

Can my prospects see the ad? (Above or below the fold, depending on device used)

Is the advertising opportunity impactful? (Player size and number of ads in the environment)

Does the environment create an engaged prospect that leads to advertiser interaction or brand lift? (click-to-play vs. auto-play)

By focusing on content applicability over site lists, campaigns can prioritize inventory within the target around the VIDEOS DRIVING THE MOST VIEWS AND SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT AT THE TIME THE AD IS SERVED. This allows an advertiser to advertise around the videos most likely to be viewed and box out their competitors during that period.

Whereas traditional (upfront) media buying focuses on limiting what’s purchased, often due to high(er) CPMs, RTB for mobile and video focuses on identifying what’s available and pricing vs. a myriad of factors. Given that many exchange buyers still purchase relatively “blind”, there are opportunities for arbitrage. While there will certainly be a period of catch up, there will always be new data points and new techniques for analysis.

Data is the RTB equalizer.