Earlier, we covered what real-time bidding (RTB) is and how it is gradually replacing traditional forms of advertising. Publishers have widely adopted RTB for some of its benefits including price floor optimization, monetization opportunities for remnant ad units, accuracy, reliability, etc.
Since RTB offers more control to publishers for managing their inventory, they should be investing in methods that help them make the most out of real-time bidding. One of those key methods is finding the right real-time bidding platform.
In this post, we’ll cover what a real-time bidding platform is, how to choose a suitable one, and the best RTB platforms for publishers.
Real-Time Bidding Platform: Definition and Types
Publishers often search online about the best RTB platforms available or how to find them. But what they should be aware of is that RTB is an ecosystem and RTB platforms is an umbrella term encapsulating different types.
Real-time bidding platforms include those for the publishing side (supply-side platform), for the advertising side (demand-side platform), marketplaces (ad exchanges), data storage (data management platforms), and intermediaries (ad networks, agency trading desks, etc.).
How to Choose the Best RTB Platform
Choosing an RTB platform can be quite subjective and there cannot be a one-size-fits-all strategy applicable here. However, there are a few things that all publishers can consider before choosing the best RTB platform for them:
- Availability of Monetization Solution: Publishers must always choose a platform that aligns with their monetization needs. For example, if a publisher is looking for an RTB platform that offers solutions for outstream video advertising, then they should only look for platforms offering it.
- Technical Support: Ad monetization can get technically complicated and may require support from time to time. Look for reviews and choose an RTB platform which has a robust technical support for seamless ad serving.
- Ad Quality: Another important factor to consider is that the RTB platform you choose should offer premium demand. It also should have technological solutions that have trusted reviews and are worth the investment. The platform should be able to optimize your price floors and get you the highest possible bids.
Best Real-Time Bidding Platforms for Publishers
Though there are a high number of RTB platforms available for publishers to choose from, as we have mentioned above, the best platform for publishers would be the ones that aligns with their needs. Below, we have listed and described some of the reliable and well-known RTB platforms for different kinds of advertising.
OpenX is quite a reliable name when it comes to programmatic advertising. Some of the services for publishers that they offer include:
- Ad Exchange: It is a programmatic marketplace which is built specifically keeping the supply-side in demand.
- Bidder: This is a header-bidding solution that works in accordance with OpenX Ad Exchange.
- OpenX Mobile: Mobile publishers looking to monetize through advertising should consider this platform.
- OpenX Video
- OpenX Programmatic Direct: Real Time-Guaranteed
- OpenX Programmatic Direct: Private Marketplaces
Some of the things that publishers should keep in mind for considering OpenX are:
- They only onboard publishers who feature high-quality content on their websites.
- The number of ad formats available to monetize from is quite high, including linear video ads, image ads, flash ads, mobile HTML ads, third-party HTML ads, etc.
Imonomy is a great RTB platform for publishers who have a very visual website i.e having more image-based content. Imonomy specializes in in-image advertising and works with around 13,000 publishers. In case any publisher is skeptical about in-image advertising, here are some benefits:
- Monetize a previously untapped source of revenue
- Improve contextual targeting
- In-image ads have a better viewability rate and because of their visual details, can engage more users.
Imonomy makes use of real-time bidding for making sure publishers get the highest possible CPMs. Apart from in-image, some of the other services that they offer is in-line, in-screen, in-video, and header bidding.
AppNexus was founded in 2007 and has been pivotal in developing solutions for programmatic online advertising. For the sell-side, they offer a variety of solutions including a supply-side platform, an ad server, analytics. and audience insights. This makes them an ideal RTB platform for publishers. Here are some things that publishers must keep in mind before approaching AppNexus:
- Some of the ad formats offered by them are: Banner, Expandable, Pop-ads, in-app, all kinds of video ads, etc.
- They have an AppNexus Console which helps publishers in constantly analyzing and assessing if their ad quality standards are being maintained or not.
LiveIntent was founded in 2009 and is mainly an email advertising platform. In other words, this platform will help you place ads within email content. Publishers looking to diversify their revenue earning options should choose LiveIntent. This RTB platform bridges the gap between brands and users by enabling publishers to insert ads in emails which comes in handy for publishers who send out weekly newsletters. LiveIntent believes that emails are a potentially untapped resource which all publishers should leverage for ad revenue monetization. As of 2015, the company worked with more than 750 publishers.
“You can’t log into Pandora without it, you can’t get an Uber, you can’t get Amazon, you can’t even sign up for Facebook or Slack. So your email address is tied to you as an individual.” – CEO Matt Keisar
Smaato is one of the best RTB platforms for publishers who are looking to monetize through in-app advertising. Smaato runs a publisher-centric platform. Some of the services offered by that platform is an RTB ad exchange, an ad server for publishers, private marketplace, etc. They work with around 90,000 mobile publishers and app developers. Some of the upsides of choosing this RTB platform are:
- Extended support for a variety of ad formats: native, in-stream, out-stream, banner, etc.
- There is no minimum traffic requirement for publishers to onboard Smaato’s services.
- Has a Dynamic Demand service which creates a ‘super-auction’. This helps in maximizing yield for every impression by evaluating every demand source on an impression-by-impression basis.
Outbrain is a native advertising platform and is a recognized leader in content recommendations for publishers. Many publishers use content recommendations which are boxes of interesting content with images and catchy titles to attract readers. Some of the services offered by Outbrain are Smartfeed, video, optimization engine, and native advertising. Following are some of the points that publishers must be aware of before considering Outbrain:
- In 2019, Outbrain and Taboola merged to serve an audience of 2.6 billion people.
- Ad formats offered by Outbrain are interstitial, native, in-stream, and in-article.
- Outbrain normally works with premium publishers who offer high-quality content.
Rubicon Project is a popular name in the digital advertising ecosystem that has been committed to building programmatic advertising solutions for the sell-side. Publishers looking to monetize through in-app and video advertising should definitely consider Rubicon in their list of choices. Some of the benefits of working with Rubicon are:
- Publishers can make use of their header bidding wrapper built on Prebid. Additionally, Rubicon has its own private marketplace.
- For video publishers, Rubicon offers around 10 different ad formats, some of which include linear, vertical, native, outstream, etc.
Rubicon has worked with some of the best clients including Spotify, Vox, eBay, etc.
Pubmatic is a recognized name in the publishing industry. The company has come up with a variety of automated solutions for publishers, making it one of the best real-time bidding platforms. Publishers must be aware of the following about Pubmatic:
- In 2016, they made their header bidding wrapper solution open-source. They have named it OpenWrap and the project is hosted on Github.
- OpenWrap allows publishers to choose any header tag partner that they want to use, thus ensuring transparency.
- Pubmatic has no minimum traffic requirement, so publishers of all sizes can consider this RTB platform for their needs.
- They offer RTB advertising technology for nearly all kinds of inventory including video, in-app, and desktop.
As long as programmatic advertising exists and expands, publishers should continue to invest in platforms that make online advertising seamless for them. Choosing the best RTB platform is an important part of revenue optimization strategies that all publishers must consider.