The Time For Video RTB Is Now

Real-time bidding (RTB) has the potential to change the way digital video is bought and sold. At my company we believe more than 50% of video impressions will be bought via RTB over the next three years. At this point, it’s not a question of if, but when?

First some background: an industry study recently said that RTB for video will generate $667 million in revenue in 2013, up from close to zero in 2011. Additionally, in the display ad world, Google recently stated that RTB accounts for 80% of revenue on its AdX platform. Furthermore, Facebook’s recent announcement of an RTB exchange for its inventory demonstrates the power of this model across different advertising ecosystems.

Our assertion is that RTB will comprise the lion’s share of video buying rests on a few assumptions:

  • First: Buyers of digital media, brands, agencies, DSPs, ATDs and even publishers increasingly want to deploy advertising against a specific audience. RTB enables a buyer to make a decision about an impression at the time the impression is requested based on data the buyer has about that user. The typical parameters that video buyers use today include: 1) the actual video content that follows the ad, or 2) the content around the video player on the page. In this current market, each of these parameters should matter less than the specifics of the user who is watching the ad. The content following was the old paradigm and the user is the new paradigm.  RTB enables this new paradigm.
  • Second: RTB allows display buyers to incorporate video as part of their overall buy, opening up a huge new revenue stream. In the same vein, it enables traditional TV buyers to know exactly how many unique users and impressions they achieve for a particular audience.
  • Third: Video advertising is quickly expanding outside of traditional Web video onto mobile phones, tablets and connected TVs.  The content that precedes the ad includes games and radio apps as well as standard video content. To a standard video buyer, this may create fragmentation with their buy. An RTB buyer, however, is targeting a specific audience and is paying a particular price for that specific impression. RTB buyers are indifferent to the type of content or device as long as they are reaching the targeted user base.

RTB and exchanges will allow buyers to consistently target audiences and access video across all four screens. The naysayers stipulate that premium video inventory may never be available on an RTB basis. The case BRX makes to premium publishers is that RTB buys are an additional source of demand that they are not seeing today. If buyers are enabled to access inventory through this method, it is not competitive with direct sales efforts because RTB is a different product since buyers are seeking audiences, not sites. Premium publishers can set floor prices and set up specific block lists to prevent competitive advertisers or advertisers that are being sold by a publisher’s internal sales teams.

Video RTB is ready for prime time, and this will be a key trend as we head into the second half of 2012. The technology has advanced to the stage where it can be utilized at scale. The key value proposition – buying a specific audience across multiple devices at scale – leads us to believe it will contribute to more than half of video buying within the next three years.

4 comments about "The Time For Video RTB Is Now ".
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  1. Jason Burke from All Stage, August 9, 2012 at 6:29 p.m.

    Great piece Dan. Agree that RTB is one of several buying strategies that advanced marketers should leverage, but there are still some holes that need to be filled.

    From a performance point of view, finding the right audience or better, the right inventory that will drive performance is key, but preventing that ad from delivering to unsavory content IS
    often just as important to the buyer. RTB often provides minimal visibility into the video content, so this problem hasn't been solved in the programatic buying world. Until marketers are okay with that concept or until the exchanges solve this problem,
    programatic buying will continue to run into this challenge

  2. Dan Mosher from BrightRoll, August 10, 2012 at 8:07 p.m.

    Jason - Thanks for the response. I can't speak for all exchanges, but as the general manager of the BrightRoll Exchange (BRX), I can tell you that we spend a lot of resources reviewing all publisher partners so that we avoid “unsavory” video content upfront. Brand safety more broadly is an issue BRX takes very seriously and addresses in several ways: We track the video content based on content URL IDs that we share with marketers within the RTB request, and we provide other data to marketers in the RTB request including the page URL the player resides on; player size; data on whether or not the video is user initiated; and player placement on the page. All digital video advertisers face brand safety challenges but exchanges in an RTB world are in fact best positioned to address these challenges.

  3. Mark Balabanian from Turn, August 11, 2012 at 10:12 a.m.

    Totally agree with the points you’re making Dan. Video RTB is rapidly advancing along the same trajectory as display RTB.

    From the demand side of the ecosystem at Turn, we’re seeing strong adoption of programmatic buying for audience-targeted video. Turn’s customers (brands and agencies) are receiving the same benefits of RTB in video that we’ve already proven out in display.

    Buyers are leveraging the efficiency, transparency and control enabled by RTB to bid aggressively for their target audiences. This also benefits the supply side of the ecosystem by increasing the value of their inventory. As a result, we’re seeing more premium video publishers adopting RTB.

    These trends will accelerate over the next several quarters as even more video buyers and seller align with the open ecosystem enabled by RTB.

  4. Paul Bowlin from SpotXchange LLC, August 14, 2012 at 11:46 a.m.

    Brand safety is definitely a priority that continues to be addressed for video rtb. With the hundreds of millions of daily ad calls coming into SpotXchange' real time marketplace, the tools are in place to determine ad placement(user initiated versus auto initiated) and the content that is on the page behind the player. Determining what the video content is within the video player is something that we as an industry are working with 3rd party companies to nail down. It is not full proof yet but is heading in that direction. With Video RTB providing 100% site level transparency and audience targeting for each impression, the year end results will show that video is on the same path as display rtb as far as adoption by the buyside.

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