What Does RTB Stand for? Your Complete Guide

Traditional advertising channels lost ground in 2020, but digital advertising grew. Growth was slower in 2020, but digital channels picked up six percent more than the previous year.

With people spending more time online, it just makes sense that advertisers want to shift their efforts to digital channels. That’s meant more competition to get the best placements, all while staying within budget.

That’s where RTB can come into play. What is RTB and how can you make use of it to power your advertising campaigns in 2021? This guide has all the answers you’re looking for.

What Does RTB Stand for Anyway?

Before diving into how to use RTB effectively in 2021, you need to understand what it is and how it works. So, what does the RTB acronym stand for?

It’s short for “real time bidding.” Real time bidding usually refers to a technological system used to place bids on ads in just nanoseconds.

RTB makes use of artificial intelligence to achieve this. With ad campaign parameters plugged in, the AI judges available ad spaces. It can then decide whether to bid on those spaces.

Understanding How Real Time Bidding Works

A typical real time bidding system makes use of two platforms: a demand side platform and a supply side platform. These are also known as the DSP and SSP, respectively.

Advertisers use the DSP. They add the details about their campaign to the DSP. Campaign information includes:

  • Target audience information, like demographics or “buyer personas”
  • Budget information
  • Campaign duration

Other details can be included, such as when to place ads and keywords. The advertiser also adds the campaign creative. They’ll also give details about what type of ad space to buy and much more.

On the other side of the transaction is the supply side platform. The SSP takes information from the publisher site about available ad space. When a visitor opens up a page on the publisher’s site, new ad spaces open up.

The SSP lists the available ad space, along with all the relevant information. This includes the type of ad space, the publisher’s site, and more. Often, it includes key information about the user’s session, including session history.

The SSP sends this information to the DSP. The DSP then compares the available ad space to your campaign criteria. If the ad space is a good match, the DSP will submit a bid.

If you win the bid, your ad will run. The DSP can decide how much to bid, depending on how well the ad space matches your criteria. If it’s a great match, then the DSP may bid more.

Keep in mind that all this happens in nanoseconds, so the webpage can load on the user’s end quickly.

Why You Need RTB

Now that you understand the RTB meaning, you want to know why you should use it.

The first reason is that it’s much faster than having a human team place bids manually. More publisher sites are moving to RTB systems, which means you need to be able to compete against robots.

It makes sense. Publishers want their sites to load quickly and seamlessly so users have a great experience. They also want tailored ads, which real time bidding can provide.

Older systems of buying ads don’t allow for so much customization. Some require mass media buying, where you just purchase so many impressions for a month or the duration of your campaign. Others make use of manual bidding, which can slow pages down.

Manual bidding is much less cost-effective as a result. It takes more time and human effort to do it. RTB is far more efficient, which frees up your team to concentrate on other advertising tasks.

Further, RTB is also more efficient when it comes to spending your budget. The DSP is much better at judging ad placements and making appropriate bids. Your human team is more likely to overpay for a less-than-ideal placement.

The DSP also learns over time. That means it can keep making better and better placements. In turn, your ad campaign will spend its budget more effectively.

Pleasing Your Audience

Some of RTB’s biggest advantages are how it helps you please your audience.

First and foremost, RTB usually results in better ad placements. That, in turn, means you have a better chance of reaching people who are actually interested in your product or service.

The DSP uses information about the user and their session to make that judgment. If someone is looking at tips to start training for a marathon and you sell running shoes, this ad placement has a much better chance of converting.

This is another reason publishers like real time bidding systems. They allow them to show ads that are actually relevant to each user. That improves the user experience on the site, because people see ads they’re actually interested in.

It’s really a win-win situation for everyone.

The other way that RTB helps you deliver for your audience is by giving you data-backed insights. With all the data collected by the DSP, you can get more insight into what’s working and what’s not.

From there, it’s much easier to design ad campaigns that people actually want to see. In turn, you can make your ad campaigns even more efficient by adjusting copy or images. You get better ad performance, and your audience sees ads they actually want to see.

How to Start Using RTB for Your Ads

The next question you probably have is about how you can adopt real time bidding for your business. After all, the digital advertising world is getting more competitive, and RTB can give you an edge in winning better ad placements.

The first step is usually to find a demand side platform you like. You’ll want to research a few different platforms. It’s often a good idea to look for a platform that connects to a few different exchanges or networks.

For example, it’s better to have a DSP that can connect to Google Ads and Spotify, instead of needing two separate platforms for these networks.

Keep in mind that DSPs can be on the pricey side. That’s because they’re still relatively new technology, and they use cutting-edge AI to deliver the best results. Of course, the highest-priced DSP may not always deliver the best results.

If you took a look at DSP pricing and it didn’t fit your advertising budget, you’re not out of options yet. Take a look at what different digital marketing agencies can offer. Many are now adopting DSPs and providing RTB services as part of their marketing packages.

They can help you get access to the DSPs you need. Look for a provider who is platform agnostic. They’ll be able to help you get access to a few different networks, and they’ll also help you decide which platform is best for your needs.

Design Your Ad Campaign

Your next step is to design a campaign. You may already have creative available for display ads, but you also want to bid on video and audio spaces.

Take stock of what you already have and work to create new assets for the campaign as needed. From there, you can design a campaign that covers more ad types and more networks.

You can also use the DSP to give you feedback on what’s working and what’s not. In turn, you can design ad campaigns that really resonate with your target audience.

You can also use real time bidding platforms to do A/B testing. Collecting data from them will help you tweak existing campaigns for better performance. The insights can also help you design future campaigns with an eye to performance.

Define Your Audience

The final step you want to take in setting up real time bidding is defining your audience. By knowing your audience inside out, you’ll have a better chance of reaching them with the right ads.

Although the DSP will learn over time, the more information you can give it at the start of the campaign, the better off you’ll be. If you know your keywords, the DSP can start using those to target the right people and bid on the right ad placements.

It can then learn related keywords. From there, you can continue refining your campaign.

If you know most of your sales come from a particular part of the United States, you can give the DSP this information. In turn, it can target ad placements in those areas as well as “similar” locations.

In short, the more information you have about your audience, the better your campaign can perform.

Bid on a Better Future for Your Business

You asked what RTB stands for. Now you know that, as well as the benefits real time bidding has for your business. As the digital advertising world gets more crowded, switching to RTB may just be the smartest move you’ll make in 2021.

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