RTA is an acronym that is certainly here to stay – especially after this week’s Real Time Advertising conference at the prestigious Royal Opera House.
The agenda included contributions from Amex, BSkyB, Infectious Media, Criteo, Yahoo, Real Media Group, Vivaki, Efficient Frontier, ValueClick Media, Google, Guardian, Jemm Media Group, Admeld, RightMedia Exchange, adnetik, MediaMath, Crimtan and Havas.
The day was peppered with insights to help brands, agencies and publishers understand this complex industry better. Here are what I would consider the day’s top ten takeaways
1. RTA is still growing and growing and growing
The display market is growing and RTA is following. The proportion of display advertising now being bought through exchanges is now 9% (PwC IAB AdSpend Study 2011). There was a consensus by all speakers that this number will increase in 2012. All companies involved in this space have invested in an infrastructure which has created considerable improvements to the way display advertising is traded resulting in reduced wastage, increased transparency and efficiency and higher quality inventory and improved yields.
2. Creative has to get better
What creatives were in the 60s and 70s, math men are to the 21st century. Creative has to work harder than it ever has before. If we are to use RTA to its full benefit we have to work at differentiating advertising from the clutter. RTB improves the ability to deliver the right message at the right time to the right audience. However, “relevance” is wasted if the consumer doesn’t realise its designed to be relevant to them.
3. Testing is key
If companies (both publishers and advertisers) are interested in Real Time Advertising they need to test different technologies and work with their intermediaries to make it work.
Should be sitting up and paying attention however, not many brands have embraced RTA. This is down to it being a confusing area packed full of acronyms and mathematical analogies. The fact is it can work for advertisers – 18% of Sky’s display ad activity is now being processed through exchanges – this is predicted to double this year to 36% and hit 50% by 2013.
It’s not just about buying in real time. Publishers have to begin to embrace RTA and not just use it as a medium to sell their remnant inventory. The Guardian says that RTA contributed to 16% of their display revenues in Q1 2012. Private exchanges offer an opportunity and can deliver what agencies want to see, high quality inventory available in a data-enhanced marketplace, which continues to allow premium publishers to make money and maintain more control over their inventory.
6. It’s not just about DR
RTA has always been considered as a DR mechanism to drive a performance metric however it’s important to look beyond this. Video is now making a big play within this space. Brand advertising is possible through the use of controlled environments like private exchanges. Once the inventory is available there will be value through Real Time Advertising. Videology stated that RTB is predicted to account for 15% of all video display buys by the end of 2012 and up to 25% in 2013”.
7. Man vs. Machine
There is now a lot more to consider and gone are the days where you can rely on your intermediary to make display work for you. It’s important to understand how to make the data that you have work for you. It is not about replacing humans with machines it’s about using humans to make decisions based on the data collected. Selecting both the right partners and the right platform approach is key.
8. Multiple platforms
The next phase of display will be more like search, delivering ads based on behaviour. If the industry has cracked Search and is now beginning to understand how to make display work then there is no stopping video, mobile and in game advertising to join these platforms in the future. The Guardian stated “We think about what we’re selling, when & who to, more than how we are selling it.”
9. RTB is not the end
RTB (Real Time Bidding) is more like a tipping point. Technology has evolved slowly in this space and it’s taken a long time to get technical coordination amongst buying and selling platforms. Now that engineers are talking to each other innovations beyond RTA are likely to be right around the corner.
10. Lack of education
The industry is clearly moving forward with technology leading the way however this has led to marketers becoming confused by fragmentation and an increasing number of acronyms. 2012 has to be the year of education and research. The IAB Display Trading Council has been put in place to tackle the misconceptions and demystify the digital display ecosystem to advertisers, agencies and publishers. To find out more information click here.