Glossary | R | Real-time Bidding (RTB)

What is RTB?


Real-Time Bidding (RTB) is a programmatic ad buying protocol where Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs), which are on the marketer side, and Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs), which are on the mobile app developer side, buy and sell ad inventory. In an RTB protocol, DSPs bid in real-time on ad inventory supplied by SSPs. The complete process happens in only a fraction of a second.


How does RTB work?


In an RTB auction, SSPs go through an ad exchange to make ad space available on developers’ apps. DSPs see these available impressions and bid on them based on the targeting criteria laid out by the marketer. The impression goes to the marketer with the highest bid, and their ad is served in the app.

RTB simplifies and streamlines the buying process for developers, because it allows them to manually prioritize ad networks in order to optimize their revenue. The ability to set price floors also allows developers to expand their buyer audience without compromising advertiser quality or sacrificing revenue.

Compared to a traditional ad network, RTB allows advertisers more control over the buying process. Because they can bid per impression, there is more transparency and precision in targeting. The ability to view campaigns in real-time also allows for easier and more responsive optimization.


What is the future of the programmatic waterfall?


The waterfall has worked well for years but the mobile industry is quickly moving to in-app bidding. In-app bidding builds upon RTB by allowing advertisers to have equal access to developer inventory and is also known as a “unified auction.” In-app bidding increases revenue for developers, allows advertisers a fair chance to bid on ad inventory, and allows consumers to see more relevant ads.