TMCnet Feature
April 05, 2021

RTB in Digital Marketing: What Is It and Why Should You Care?

RTB or real-time-bidding is a process of buying/selling advertising inventory based on the ad impressions. Advertisers and publishers can benefit from an RTB platform to make fruitful deals. Publishers use this space to sell their inventory, while advertisers purchase it to show their promotional content to the relevant audience. The advanced RTB algorithms control the processes and make transactions happen in less than a second. What is RTB in simple terms? Read on and find out.

What makes the RTB format special?

Media buying evolved into a completely automated process nowadays. Previously, publishers and advertisers spent tons of resources to optimize their businesses. Ad impressions covered a long way before actually appearing in front of the viewers’ eyes. As an automated method of making deals, real-time bidding reduced costs, eliminated human errors, and facilitated media buying at a larger scale. Among all the existing formats of buying and selling ads, RTB can boast of being the most optimal one.

How does it work?

To describe the core principle of RTB, one can compare it to an auction. Several advertisers can bid on a single impression of the publisher’s inventory simultaneously. The winning ad with the highest bid gets the space, then it is displayed on the user’s screen. RTB allows advertisers to focus on the right inventory and target customers that are interested in their goods and services. As such, they reach better ROI and allows advertisers to adjust their budgets.

For example, let’s take in-stream video ads where promotional content is played in the middle of the video. The SSP (supply-side platform) launches a real-time auction for the advertisers competing for the attention of a particular viewer. The bids are made in a split second and the higher one wins the space – their promotion is shown to the viewer. With a real-time bidding 101 format, publishers and advertisers can set numerous parameters, including the size of bids and prices, plus prioritization of particular deals and inventory.

How useful RTB is?

RTB format is a great solution for advertisers and publishers. With its help, both sides can reach better performance, reduce expenses, and avoid risks. Let’s see how exactly RTB can help:

  • Publishers

Publishers have a chance to get more money for their inventory by offering it to numerous advertisers on the auction. Due to automatized deals, they have a chance to sell their inventory for desired prices. In addition, they can see who is looking for the inventory and what are their main preferences. As such, publishers can analyze the situation on the market and sell their premium offers for significant sums. 

  • Advertisers

For advertisers, RTB provides meaningful and efficient buying. They can focus on the right inventory, adjust numerous settings to reach relevant audience, and increase ROI. In a nutshell, RTB increases the chances that potential customers interested in your goods will see the ads and continue their journey right to the purchase.


So, what is RTB in digital marketing? In simple words, this is a method for advertisers and publishers that allows both sides to get the most of their ownings. Advertisers place bids on the inventory and win the best possible impressions; publishers realize their inventory successfully. All of them increase chances to get more revenue and optimize their budgets. Numerous settings help advertisers to reach target audience and focus on the best publishers’ offers. At the same time, publishers decide the most desired prices for their inventory and have all chances to sell ad space on the most beneficial terms. Today, RTB is a significant part of modern digital advertising and this model is expected to sneak into all layers of online marketing due to its profitability, convenience, and reliability ensured by advanced algorithms and automation.  

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