With a growing audience on the web and a wide inventory of ad space to choose from, both publishers and marketers are looking for ways to maximize value as automation comes to the digital media buying process. The vendors who offer real-time bidding (RTB) services are getting a second look from players in the online ad market. Media companies can use RTB to sell excess inventory and marketers can reach more targeted audiences.

In the next year, about 19% of publishers and 21% of marketers or their agencies will be buying and selling through RTB or private exchange markets. By 2015, display ad buying through this format is expected to surpass $6.5 billion. As publishers venture further into this method of selling inventory, their top concerns are: fear of commoditizing inventory and the need to maintain the human element for their media sales reps. Marketers who make buys through these systems want some guarantees with respect to quality impressions (77%), brand safety (70%), and transparency (65%). So far, fewer than 50% of advertisers are satisfied with what they are getting from the RTB process.

Some of these problems may be addressed by private exchanges. To preserve value and maintain control, more publishers are establishing private exchanges within RTB networks. While there is automation in a private exchange, publishers can use the space to manage excess inventory and also set minimum pricing. They can also reach out to national advertisers and secure money for local media properties.  Experts advise media companies to pay attention to platform (the RTB vendor providing the service), the need to share more data with marketers, scale (because of data processing demands, partnering with other publishers may be a good strategy), and skills (specific IT expertise is a must and media sales people must be trained to understand how RTB will complement their efforts.

RTB and private exchanges can work to the benefit of both publishers and advertisers once they understand how these systems work and how to negotiate for the best outcome.

[Sources: Real Time Bidding and Private Exchanges. Indexssp.com. 2012. Web. 17 Oct. 2012; O’Regan, Rob. 4 Components of a private exchange. Emediavitals.com. December 2011. Web. 17 Oct. 2012 ]