Top-10 Predictions For Real-Time Bidding In 2013

As autumn comes to an end and we prepare for 2013, it’s a good time to evaluate the real-time bidding (RTB) industry, and make predictions for the year to come. Programmatic buying is undergoing a massive expansion and as the year ends we find ourselves at the crux of major shifts in the industry, new players entering and older players consolidating.

Here are my top-10 predictions for the coming year:

1.     Programmatic continues to grow in the U.S., but we will also see explosive growth in international markets such as Asia and Latin America.

2.     The average CPM will continue to rise to Forrester’s CPM prediction of $6.64 by 2017.

3.     Quality will be a strong focus. From viewability, brand safety to fraud identification, separating the impression wheat from the chaff will be a recurring theme. The IAB’s viewable ad impression, Google’s Active GRP and a bevy of third-party offerings will gain significant mindshare.



4.     An increasing focus on quality spells bad news for the bad actors in the display ecosystems. 

5.     Facebook will help “improve” the story with brand advertisers and help us move away from CTR as the sole way to measure a display campaign. The upcoming Facebook/Datalogix study will help quantify brand awareness lift.

6.     In 2013, Facebook will dominate the conversation. Huge amounts of high-quality inventory will become available, and more and more partners will integrate with the Facebook exchange, in a significant opportunity for advertisers to extend their audience buying strategies to one of the largest Web entities.

7.     Increasing amounts of premium inventory will move to private exchanges. Publishers will begin to overcome some of their reluctance to partner with exchanges, although many will remain wary. For advertisers, this means access to more premium inventory more efficiently.

8.     Video RTB will go mainstream, with tons of inventory becoming available even as we close out 2012. 2013 will be all about the robust ecosystem of third parties innovating in the video space, as well as strong CPMs that continue to rise.

9.     Third-party data will continue to grow as we see more volume and higher-quality data sources making a dizzying array of targeting options available on virtually all platforms. This includes search data, social data, site level data and the ability to layer data on top of data for added insights and advanced targeting.

10. Finally, there will be a growing movement to real-time reporting. Next day will no longer be enough; marketers will demand real-time or near-real-time consoles. This will continue to drive the technology conversation around big data, big data processing and inform strategic media buying decisions.

That’s it, folks. Let’s see how we fare late next year.

6 comments about "Top-10 Predictions For Real-Time Bidding In 2013".
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  1. Geoffrey Katz from Conversant, Inc., November 20, 2012 at 2:08 p.m.

    With regard to item 5, you said that Facebook will " us move away from CTR as the sole way to measure a display campaign."

    The sole way? Advertisers have been using post click/view conversion data since the late 20th century.

  2. Gus Spathis from, November 20, 2012 at 2:50 p.m.


    Great point, conversion tracking has definitely been around a long time (I did one of the early conversion tracking startups in Internet 1.0) as have other measures of campaign effectiveness. Unfortunately, in my experience, there is still a strong focus on CTR by many advertisers who should be using other metrics to guide and measure campaign effectiveness, sometimes its just not all about the click.

  3. Benjamin Christie from Gourmet Ads, November 20, 2012 at 3:01 p.m.

    All great and fair points. I think the only point you’re missing is Deal ID. It’s something that most SSPs, DSPs and Exchange have built their own nuances. There needs to be ecosystem wide acceptance that private exchange arrangements to be executed with ease via a Deal ID – I actually wrote about this today in a blog called What’s the Deal With Deal ID?

    Benjamin Christie
    Founder & Managing Director
    Gourmet Ads Pty Limited

  4. Mark severini from AdTheorent, November 20, 2012 at 3:23 p.m.

    While I'm not sure Geoffrey if you had mobile RTB as well in mind when you wrote the article (although your predictions made re. FB would seem to indicate you did), I think most of the points you make will be true for mobile RTB as well in 2013.
    May I be bold enough to say that RTB's growth in mobile may surpass that of the internet?
    Why? Because we in RTB mobile went to school on RTB as it existed !!

  5. Gus Spathis from, November 20, 2012 at 3:30 p.m.

    Benjamin - see point 7, there is a growing amount of premium inventory becoming available on the exchanges using the private exchange mechanism. The dealid is probably the single best way of making this work cleanly, efficiently, and widely.

  6. Subu Desaraju from Digitas, November 20, 2012 at 4:50 p.m.

    Gus - Great article and projections for 2013! I think the promise really lies in better quality of inventory with rising CPM's. Otherwise data costs and higher CPM's will negate the returns from an RTB approach. I think reach against specific audiences is also an issue that RTB platforms are grappling to deal with and FBX may solve for this. Solving for these two issues will help RTB gain a greater share (than 10-15%) as a line item on media budgets.

    Hope things are well!
    Subu D - your old friend from PTI :)

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