Advertisers are buying more of their display media through real-time auctions than ever before, but exactly how much remains unclear.
Yesterday, eMarketer said $3.37 billion will be spent through RTB channels in the U.S. during 2013 — representing 19 percent of total digital display ad spending. That’s fairly consistent with the $3.1 billion spend estimated by IDC for 2013, but significantly larger than the $2.5 billion J.P. Morgan has predicted, and smaller than the $3.9 billion predicted by Magna Global.
Meanwhile, vendors, unsurprisingly, seem to think those numbers are much higher. The Rubicon Project, for example, reckons an average of 40 percent of online display advertising is now traded through real-time bidding — more than double eMarketer’s predictions. Numbers bandied about at industry conferences range anywhere from 15 percent to 50 percent.
But agency buyers say any estimate north of 20 percent is probably the product of irrational exuberance.
“Twenty-two percent sounds about right for 2014,” said Barry Lowenthal, president of ad buying shop The Media Kitchen, which is also what eMarketer predicts for the coming year. If 50 percent of online ad inventory really is being sold that way, it’s likely being bought by ad networks or middle men, he added, as opposed to agencies directly. His agency doesn’t buy that much of its media that way.
And not everyone is as bullish as Lowenthal. “I’d be surprised if 20 percent of inventory is really bought through RTB this year,” said another ad buyer at a major New York media agency. “I just don’t see it from where I sit.”
But the nature of real-time bidding makes reaching a real consensus difficult to do. Ad vendors might claim that RTB is useful for brand advertising, but to date, it’s been tapped mostly by direct-response marketers looking for cheap impressions, as opposed to those with branding budgets to splash. If that changes, the volume of dollars flowing through RTB might begin to catch up with the number of impressions traded through it.
Whoever’s doing the spending, the fact remains that the industry is unclear exactly how big the market for RTB actually is. For now, the “between 15 and 50 percent” guess might have to do because industry analysts can’t quite agree either.
The Washington Post invests in climate coverage as its team expands to over 30 journalists
The Post's climate team continues to expand as the publisher makes big bets on the beat drawing younger audiences.
Inside one media company’s strategy to monetize the Fifa World Cup
Soccer media business Footballco has spent most of 2022 trying to make hay while the sun is shining.
Publishers continue to evaluate cost-cutting in Q4, with economic and budgetary pressures mounting
The wave of cost-cutting measures in Q3 is still flowing into Q4, with publishers under pressure to keep expenses down at a time of continuing economic uncertainty and budget planning.
SponsoredHow brands are measuring incremental performance on CTV
Connected TV is unique among other advertising channels because it combines linear television’s storytelling capabilities with digital marketing’s targeting and measurement. As more marketers leverage CTV advertisements to reach relevant and engaged audiences, they also want to understand the real value they are generating with their investment. Incrementality reporting and measurement allow advertisers to measure […]
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: Publishers’ Q3 earnings reports show promise, but not without sacrifice
Publishers' third quarter earning reports are in.
A new entrant in the data-driven linear TV measurement space aims to fill a gap left by Microsoft’s Xandr
As Xandr shuts down its Clypd platform, datafuelX's M3 SaaS product aims to solve some of the multi-currency, multi-platform problems with investing in convergent TV today.