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THE BUY PROCESS EVOLVED IN DIGITAL ADVERTISING’S SHORT HISTORY
Digital advertising was originally approached as direct sales: publishers and advertisers purchased premium inventory they felt best fit their audiences directly from each other. This process often involved a lot of back-and-forth with hundreds of spreadsheets, proposals, phone calls, and emails – and is still used today. However, digital buying has evolved to now include programmatic buying (real-time bidding and automated guaranteed) and a much more streamlined RFP process.
WHAT IS REAL-TIME BIDDING AND AUTOMATED GUARANTEED?
Real-Time Bidding (RTB) is a type of programmatic purchasing that buys impressions one at a time, based on demographic targeting. Buyers bid on an impression, and if they win, their ad is instantly displayed. All RTB inventory is non-guaranteed. RTB was originally used for unsold remnant inventory, but this is changing to also include premium inventory due to demand and high yields. The RTB process involves a number of players: the publisher providing the inventory; the Ad Exchange that connects advertisers and publishers to facilitate the purchasing; and the Demand Side Platform (DSP) that helps automate the purchasing for advertisers. These players are not necessarily present in RFP-based purchasing or programmatic direct.
Automated Guaranteed differs from RTB in that inventory is purchased for future serving, rather than in real time – and that inventory is guaranteed. Also known as “programmatic direct,” the buys are made directly with publishers rather than through the intermediaries commonly used for RTB. Automated guaranteed platforms directly integrate with a publisher’s ad server and query the number of guaranteed impressions available, which buyers then commit to purchasing.
AT WHAT LEVELS DO THESE METRICS HELP US EVALUATE SUCCESS?
Campaign level: Measure how your campaign is doing holistically, across all suppliers, placements, and creatives.
Supplier level: Measure performance based on all campaign placements from an individual supplier.
Creative level: Measure the success of an individual piece of creative, across all placements and suppliers.
Pacing: Measure how an advertiser's budget should be spent relative to time.