RTB Ad Market Soars In Q1, Marketers Rush To Mobile, Avoid Social Inventory

The supply of online advertising inventory available in the so-called “real-time bidding" or RTB marketplace continues to expand as advertisers, agencies and publishers embrace programmatic trading as part of their online advertising strategies. During the first quarter of 2012, the supply of RTB impressions expanded 120% over the same quarter in 2011, according to results from a new quarterly tracking report being published by independent agency trading desk Accordant Media.

The report estimates that the supply of RTB impressions soared 213% during 2011 versus 2010, and that the expansion is being driven by blue-chip advertisers and agencies, which is attracting premium publishers to participate in the marketplace.

“From our discussions between advertisers and media suppliers, Accordant Media foresees quality continuing to improve given the solid results that advertisers and sellers alike are experiencing,” the report concludes.

The report also shows that the U.S. remains the dominant market for RTB trading, accounting for nearly half (47%) of all impressions, and that the fastest-growing sector appears to be mobile advertising. Driven by the rise of tablet computers and an increasing supply of premium inventory targeting mobile users, Accordant estimates that the supply of mobile RTB inventory grew 475% during the first quarter of 2012 versus the same quarter a year earlier.

Despite the buzz surrounding the rapid expansion of RTB impressions from social media platforms and sites, Accordant said it actually reduced its share of “social-targeted buys" during the quarter, because advertisers are “not finding social sites to be as effective” as other forms of online or mobile inventory.

And even though the supply of RTB inventory continues to accelerate, the study finds that CPMs (cost-per-thousand) advertising rates have remained “roughly consistent," and that first-quarter rates are “roughly” the same as the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2011.

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