Real Time Bidding Grows Up


The growth of budgets moving over to the real time exchanges has been nothing short of extraordinary. My first day at DataXu was at AdTech in NYC in November 2009 (or as I catch myself calling it now – the old days).  In those ancient times, it was all about DS what? Real time who?  Queries per wah?

That’s what she said.

Naysayers said it was a fad – this will all go away once the shiny new toy gets old and the crowds move onto the next thing.  Turns out – the naysayers could not have been more wrong.  I would estimate that two or three hundred million dollars chased this so-called ‘fad’ last year.  In 2011 – these hundreds of millions of dollars turn into billions. This disruptive category is not only here to stay…but will thrive and grow fundamentally changing the advertising landscape as we all knew it.  So what’s next?

(1)    Better and a boatload more inventory: Early adopters on the publisher side dipped their toes in the water and saw good yield and solid eCPM’s. Moreover, the technology actually worked and it was super easy.  No longer would they have to put up with ad networks repping their inventory. With real time bidding they could take back the control and transparency so desperately lacking and kick the blood sucking, arbitraging, and marking up, ad networks to the curb.

(2)    Pervasive programmatic buying: This real time thing worked great for remnant creating huge operational efficiencies. Why not leverage the same pipes to move into the guaranteed side?  All the major suppliers have enabled so-called private or prioritized slots where publishers can provision their inventory directly to buyers.  Private exchanges are popping up and the same impression level decisioning technology can be applied to a premium class of inventory.

(3)    Rich media: 2010 was all about IAB standard display units. Rich media at scale is here in 2011. Brand advertisers demand these types of units and want to buy them with the same efficiencies as the rest of their real time buys.

(4)    Multi-channel buying: Now what about buying video, mobile and display inventory through the same platform?  With the optimization running cross-channel and decisions made through one channel informing those in others. Wow – now we are really getting somewhere. How about addressable TV bought in real time? It’s coming.

I can’t think of any place in this industry I would rather be than sitting in the midst of the maelstrom. 2011 promises to be another MONSTER year. The tidal wave is picking up momentum and will flatten all those in its path who fail to innovate. Here is a big cheer to the nerdification of advertising.

See you around.