Real-time bidding: Can it really work for video?

The Drum's series on real-time advertising continues with a look at how real-time bidding (RTB) can work for video.

As technology advances to increase real-time advertising opportunities, The Drum catches up with a cross-section of the industry to discuss how RTB can be used as a model for video as well as display advertising.

To what extent should RTB be confined to direct response channels rather than brand channels, eg video? Can it ever be as successful a model for video as it is in display?

Dominic Trigg, managing director Europe, Rocket Fuel Traditionally it has mostly been used in display but as marketplaces work towards more advanced models such as private exchanges, other channels are heading in this direction too.

YouTube enabled the bulk of its video inventory for programmatic buying in 2011 and marketers now routinely and successfully use programmatic buying for both pre-roll and in-banner video.

The best programmatic solutions integrate silo campaigns into a single cross-campaign solution. RTB is the way all digital advertising is going; just because it’s fast doesn’t mean it’s only for DR. It is getting in front of the right people at the right time that matters, what you tell them should depend on the campaign objectives and where the audience are in their buying cycle.

Tanzil Bukhari, head of buyer relations EMEA, DoubleClick Ad Exchange at Google The easiest option to target now is still a DR-focused approach. That said, the next stage in the evolution needs to be brand. Whether it is display, video, or mobile – it’s about making sure the medium is available to be purchased via RTB. Everything RTB enables is applicable across all the mediums but when we talk about moving into brand – if you have a user who has been to your site that advertiser may have a cookie and the ability to retarget that cookie drives performance through DR. Yet what happens when you don’t have that cookie – how do you use your typical brand metrics and campaigns?

Video will be a major part of everyone’s thinking in 2013. There will always be a place for the premium sell for video alongside the RTB one. Broadcasters still have the lion’s share of viewing on their main channels but we are already seeing a significant share of spend tested online in RTB as well as non RTB. In the next few years we will see a significant shift in TV budgets towards online video.

Martin Brown, director enterprise sales EMEA, DataXu Although RTB does deliver great results in this area it shouldn’t be confined to just direct response at all; programmatic buying is just more efficient to the advertiser. Assigning a value to an ad impression when it becomes available based on various factors of value like placement position, context of the ad, likelihood to deliver a pre-defined marketing outcome, etc. still trumps pre-determined buying – even in video.

Every day, more and more of our customers are asking us about video RTB and how that should be a part of their overall video advertising plans. As more advertisers put video RTB on their plans, more publishers will logically follow and make more impressions available. What we are talking about really is omni-channel programmatic marketing, not just buying!

Duncan Chamberlain, EMEA director, Advertiser Solutions, PubMatic Traditionally, video has been considered premium and RTB as technology created for remnant or unsold inventory. There appears to be some fragmentation between the volumes of premium video inventory that is available to the market, and the publishers who in fact don’t have video capabilities. This disjointed overview may lead to a slower rise in video and could cause problems when the demand is flooding in, yet publishers aren’t built for new media. However, as more and more publishers open up their premium display to RTB, we may see the long awaited shift in using real-time to trade premium and high value impressions. The more we see this adoption take place, the better the future for video.

Mathieu Roche, managing director, Weborama UK RTB is protocol that enables audience-driven advertising transactions; it is not DR or Brand driven, it is what we make of it. The low-hanging fruits have been in DR because that’s where the benefits of the accountability, the granularity and the audience targeting capabilities of programmatic buying are the easiest to demonstrate. But audience-driven advertising covers everything –direct response, brand building, even retention or CRM. RTB is an infrastructure that will progressively support all digital advertising transactions, whatever their type or the device they target. Because today digital is Internet and mobile, but tomorrow it will also be radio, outdoor and TV… and it’s this digital distribution infrastructure, what we call RTB today but will very soon reach above and beyond real-time or bidding, that will power the entire industry.

Oli Whitton, VP and commercial director EMEA, Rubicon Project We're already seeing it move away from its DR roots in some cases: we've seen certain publishers specialise in private marketplaces for luxury advertisers focussing on brand spend, and we expect to see more plenty more in future.

As we've seen with the growth of private marketplaces and the addition of first party data and maybe even will see programmatic guaranteed in future, RTB is simply a protocol: like the HTML that sits behind the web, what we do with it and how it develops in future are in our hands.

For publishers, especially in Europe, it’s often about efficiency and no reason to just be DR; we have seen homepage takeovers managed via PMP. Video is already moving fast in programmatic.

This online series is running in conjunction with the publication of The Drum's Ad Technology supplement, sponsored by:

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