By Charlie Faulkner, head of EMEA and APAC, Manage.com
According to Turn’s Advertising Intelligence Index, in the last couple of years overall spend on advertising through mobile channels has sky-rocketed by 109% year on year. Mobile advertising is rapidly becoming one of the most important channels for marketers and leading the way in this industry trend is programmatic advertising (encompassing automated methods such as real-time bidding). A process, that although is set to become the fastest growing segment of digital marketing in the next few years, worryingly still remains to be a topic that is misunderstood by a significant number of marketing professionals.
Put simply real-time bidding (RTB) refers to the automated buying and selling of online display and advertising space. Unique advertising impressions are sold through an exchange in which businesses bid to acquire them and immediately utilise them, all within a matter of seconds. Unlike traditional advertising methods in which advertisers have to commit to buying a bulk load of consumer impressions upfront, RTB allows advertisers to target individuals and adjust their bid based on variable market conditions.
This dynamic form of advertising is changing the industry landscape due to its inherent efficiency and marketers need to invest now. Here are the basics that you need to know in order to get started?
1. Starting Up
Setting up an RTB campaign is a quick and straightforward procedure. Ensure you know and understand the exact profile of the audience you want to target, have your creative assets prepared and ready to go, and the RTB agency will take care of the rest.
This is a crucial stage in the campaign process and gives you the opportunity to truly outline the targets that you want to reach. You will be assigned a dedicated account manager that will take the time to have an initial in-depth discussion about your campaign objectives; who you are looking to reach, where you want to reach them, all of the intricate details that will help to set up a focused campaign.
For example, if you are a guitar retailer you are looking to reach a very specific type of customer. RTB allows you to connect with consumers that have shown a prior interest in guitars, whether they have been browsing guitar retail sites, or they are active on a guitar forum, by communicating these characteristics with your account manager your campaign will become even more streamlined.
Having outlined and agreed all of the above information with the RTB agency, the optimisation process will begin. This is where the complex algorithms and technology come into play; huge amounts of data is gathered in order to identify and locate where it will be most effective to reach those that fit your target audience profile.
The optimisation process can take up to 2 weeks, but in this time your campaign will already be providing on-going feedback on what is working and what isn’t.
Due to the nature of RTB reaching out to targeted individuals, the advertising campaigns will continuously be providing feedback and performance results throughout. Consequently the best campaigns are achieved through regular communication that can be adapted to fit into your schedule.
Real-time bidding produces large amounts of insight about the audience you are targeting and depending on the type of advertising campaign you are running, there may be one or multiple measures of success. This means that you will need access to as many or a little of those metrics as necessary to receive an overall assessment of the impact of your campaigns.
3. Seeing results
Target and connect with consumers, not channels:
Advertising can be an extremely expensive option if companies don’t understand how to reach their customers and waste resource on bulk buying advertising impressions in channels that may not be reaching the correct people. If we go back to the guitar retailer example, RTB makes sure that messages of the utmost relevance are delivered to the right person at the right time.
Transparency is key in RTB and it gives you the option to view information about a specific individual prior to investing in an advertising impression targeted at them. Marketers are able to understand the interests of a user within milliseconds, meaning that they are paying for impressions that match the audience they are targeting. This level of transparency means that marketers are given the insight they need to adapt campaigns and control which exchanges they invest across, thus offering more efficiency, speed and the minimisation of wasted investment.
Get ahead of your competition:
Now you’re equipped with the basics of RTB marketing, this is your opportunity to get ahead of your competition. RTB is a method of advertising that can offer in-depth insight that other campaigns simply cannot compete with. It is exploding across marketing platforms and with a recent report from the IDC claiming that spending on real-time bidding for display advertising will accelerate at a growth rate of 59% through to 2016, this is a platform you need to pay attention to and start investing in now.
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