Digital advertising spend is increasing annually on a global scale and this global trend is being felt in the South African market, too. According to statistics released from The MediaShop, the recorded advertising spend in South Africa totalled around R32 billion at the end of 2011, with digital advertising spend amounting to around R752.5 million of the total sum. Although still a small percentage, online advertising in the country is expected to grow at a rapid pace over the next three to five years.
As audiences migrate from print to digital, and television audiences increasingly practice ‘multi-screen’ viewing, the value of digital advertising inventory is growing incrementally. However, for both advertiser and digital publisher alike, the challenge lies in effective targeting and achieving the best return on investment. With the advent of real-time bidding (RTB) exchanges, advertisers can bid for when, where and by whom their message is seen, and publishers can effectively control their floor price.
More voices within the digital marketing space are speaking about how RTB is changing the perception of the digital audience. Rich media placements on premium sites, extensive 24-hour page takeovers and interactive video banners are great for brand awareness, but come with a hefty price tag, and in the budget conscious advertising world of today, advertisers are asking themselves: What is the effective ROI on this campaign? Enter the Real Time Bidding man, the ‘man with a plan’, as they say.
How does it work?
Similar to Google AdWords, RTB exchanges are essentially online auctions allowing advertisers to bid, per impression, for a specific time/audience/website where their advert will appear. Every time a user opens a web or mobisite page, an advertising opportunity is presented and an RTB exchange makes that impression available for bidding. Instantaneously, the real-time bidding exchange auctions the inventory, and the auction winner’s ad is delivered within milliseconds. This means that advertisers can reach their targeted prospects at the cost they’re willing to pay, rather than purchasing bulk impressions. Advertisers can also change how they target their campaign over time as they are not locked into a long-term placement.
What makes real-time bidding ‘real’?
There are many companies purporting to offer real-time bidding, but often they promise less than they deliver. An effective RTB platform should bring data into the mix when it comes to split second decision-making. This data – collected on every metric of every ad (before, during and after being served) – is used to build audience information, analyse performance, gain insight into successful content or assess the value of user groups and forecast available audience by segments and attributes. Publishers can analyse their data, find out who their audience is, and realise its true value. Advertisers can benefit through effective targeting and achieving best price ratios.
What’s in it for publishers?
This is good news for advertisers, but it means that publishers get a fair deal, too. Real-time bidding exchanges work on dynamic principles that seamlessly open up publishers’ inventory to the real-time market. The integrated ‘decision engine’ carries out a holistic auction for every single ad impression integrating real-time bidding, and allows all sources of demand to compete on every display and video impression — delivering the best possible price for the publisher, increasing revenue and reducing campaign administration. For publishers, effective real-time bidding can boost average fill-rate by from 15% to 50%.
That’s the thing about REAL time bidding – not only does the transaction take place in real time, the benefit for both advertiser and publisher is indeed REAL. With ad spend increasingly moving towards the online space it is vital for marketers to stand out and use platforms such as RTB exchanges to ensure it is money well spent allowing you to optimise your campaign and configure a more realistic ROI.
Desere’ Orrill is MD of MobiMedia, a marketing and media agency.