What is the biggest challenge for real-time bidding (RTB) in the next few months? PubMatic, VivaKi, DataXu and others discuss

By Katie McQuater | Magazine Editor



Real-time article

April 29, 2013 | 8 min read

The Drum's series on real-time advertising continues with a look at the challenges of real-time bidding (RTB).

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As technology advances to increase real-time advertising opportunities, The Drum catches up with a cross-section of the industry to discuss the challenges facing RTB.The first in the series looked at the value and benefits of programmatic buying.Duncan Chamberlain, EMEA director, Advertiser Solutions, PubMaticThe challenge is to increase the confidence of publishers so they open up their premium inventory into the RTB environment. This challenge will allow access to premium inventory earlier within the user browser session, ensuring the upward trend of liquidity continues. In essence, this will broaden spend across more campaigns and bring unprecedented value into the trading mechanism; the degree to which inventory can be bought or sold without denigrating its price. If publishers continue to use RTB as a high value premium auction, advertisers will begin to gain clearer visibility allowing them to make informed decisions when placing that final bid. Marco Bertozzi, executive managing director, EMEA, VivaKiChallenges come in the form of siloed platforms. The big promise of a single ecosystem, huge data coverage and global possibilities is being nibbled away at by the majors creating their own marketplaces and not letting them co-exist with the competition. Facebook, Amazon, AOL are all looking to sell their own offer. It is a shame, as they could all work together and for each other's benefit if they saw through the politics. The danger is that this all becomes difficult to make happen and meanwhile this part of the industry is losing money.Martin Brown, director enterprise sales EMEA, DataXuWe see the shifting landscape as an incredible opportunity to not just deliver efficiency by scaling up programmatic media buying, but deliver marketing effectiveness through programmatic marketing. In other words, it’s about way more than finding more efficient way to acquire media. It is about marketers deriving customer intelligence – actionable intelligence – as easily, efficiently and effectively as the buying. It is about feeding off of the massive stream of real time data to understand, react and engage consumers in real-time and at scale.Oli Whitton, VP and commercial director EMEA, Rubicon ProjectThe next few months are all about first party data, especially where they are used in private marketplace deals. But for the benefit of anyone reading this saying to themselves ‘private what?’ or ‘first party who?’, I think it’s worth taking a step back for a second, to recap what we mean by some of these terms. A private marketplace deal is really just a way of saying you are applying the same rules and controls of a direct deal (ie sold manually by your sales team) to the automated channel. In other words, you are setting up a trade or deal between an advertiser and a publisher, but instead of the usual laborious process of executing it through Excel and fax, you are automating it for greater efficiency (and lower overheads) through a platform. One of the most exciting recent additions to the private marketplace equation has been first party data: when we talk about first party data, we are simply talking about audience data the publisher holds, which it securely passes to us, usually through a data management platform (DMP). This gives the advertisers a more granular way of targeting publisher audiences, in a controlled way, and without compromising the publisher’s highly valuable audience information. Marc Galens, VP International, TubeMogulTransparency is a big challenge for those working in the advertising world. We are campaigning to introduce a transparency standard, which provides full disclosure to advertisers of where their ad is appearing. In the world of video one of the biggest challenges is ‘fake pre-roll’ those videos that automatically play off screen on a site. These are clearly not the video ads that a marketer wants to be paying for. Progress is being made in this area. In the US the IAB has recently developed quality assurance guidelines for networks and exchanges which should help alleviate marketers concerns, and we hope this will shortly come to the UK.Pierre Naggar, managing director, Turn EuropeReal-time bidding, or programmatic trading as its also known, is a disruptive and exciting new technology and it’s transforming many organisations, agencies and publishers. Programmatic is questioning the status quo, the established practices that have governed our sector for several years. New skill sets are increasingly required and some organisations have adapted better than others. Our role is to help clients with the transition. Marketers need to focus on marketing; we focus on the technology tools to enable them to do so.Sandy Hubert, head of Cadreon UKRTB has seen a phenomenal increase since last year in Europe. Whether it is for display, video or mobile, RTB is rapidly becoming the buying model of choice.Though the focus is on targeting the right audience, a need for inventory in premium environment is also necessary. The availability of premium inventory is still fairly low and publishers are now in a position where they have to adapt quickly to the latest media buying trend if they want to remain on board.The current challenge is how to manage audiences across ‘cookieless’ digital channels which can be bought via RTB, such as mobile, connected TV etc. Tanzil Bukhari, head of buyer relations EMEA, DoubleClick Ad Exchange at GoogleOne is education: the level of understanding of the space needs to move to the next level. We have a very good layer of technical players – now it is about how to take the message of RTB mainstream. The onus is on our side to do that rather than consumer side. We must determine how to simplify the message enough to ensure it becomes part of something everyone can consider as part of their campaign.There must be a fine layer between understanding the complexity and how important the technology layer is but also making simple enough so that anyone can engage with it as long as they have the right tools.Secondly it is the challenge of managing the cookie environment. With everything in our space now driven by data anything that happens to limit that will either impact or influence how RTB continues to develop. The ongoing discussion and legislations around data protection as a whole are determining how we either as an industry or a community that data should or shouldn’t be used.Katie Camenzuli, head of display, iProspect UKCurrently a great proportion of the inventory available via RTB and exchanges is deemed remnant, meaning premium inventory is not necessarily readily available. This is due to direct purchase between site/media owner and agency/client being the primary trading model. Many clients wishing to engage in the RTB space are hesitant due to their perception of quality. A challenge for RTB is to allow for the trading of premium inventory to alleviate such concerns. In order to entice greater brand advertisers a development of creative formats across RTB needs to happen.Mathieu Roche, managing director, Weborama UKRTB is the technical infrastructure that enables the audience planning revolution; but it is only the foundation, and now the industry needs to build the processes, the skills, the measurement rules, the performance metrics, etc. This is what will take the share of programmatic buying from 10 or 15 per cent of overall digital display investments to 40 or 50 per cent (and even more) in a few years' time.Keyboard image courtesy of ShutterstockThis online series is running in conjunction with the publication of The Drum's Ad Technology supplement, sponsored by:

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PubMatic (Nasdaq: PUBM) is an independent technology company maximizing customer value by delivering digital advertising’s supply chain of the future. PubMatic’s sell-side platform empowers the world’s leading digital content creators across the open internet to control access to their inventory and increase monetization by enabling marketers to drive return on investment and reach addressable audiences across ad formats and devices. Since 2006, our infrastructure-driven approach has allowed for the efficient processing and utilization of data in real time. By delivering scalable and flexible programmatic innovation, we improve outcomes for our customers while championing a vibrant and transparent digital advertising supply chain.

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dataxu® helps marketing professionals use data to improve their advertising. Our software empowers you to connect with real people across all channels, including TV, capturing consumers’ attention when and where it matters most. With 12 offices around the world, we’re here to help power your business forward. Discover what you + our software can do at www.dataxu.com.

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Rubicon Project is an online advertising technology firm based in Los Angeles, California.

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Turn is a marketing platform that delivers real-time insights, transforming the way leading advertising agencies make decisions. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Turn provides media execution, analytics and audience planning services.

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Google is an American multinational technology company providing Internet-related services such as search, online advertising, cloud computing, software and hardware.

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