RTB, programmatic media-trading: what is the difference?

Автор: Kristina Cherniakhovska 26.07.2021

Nowadays, RTB programmatic media trading became something much more than just a trend for digital marketing strategists around the world. In fact, global programmatic advertising spending continues to grow for almost a decade already and is expected to reach around $150 billion which is 1.5 times more than in 2019, according to Statista.

At the same time, there is still a bit of confusion around the many terms brought by this sophisticated information technology. What does RTB mean in programmatic? How much programmatic is RTB? And what is the difference between programmatic and RTB? Advertisers and publishers across industries often face these questions, especially when it comes to novice traders. Our team carefully analyzed all the necessary information, and here are the answers:

What is Programmatic?

To understand the difference between programmatic buying and RTB, it is best to define the two and explore how these mechanisms work.

According to a most general definition, the word ‘programmatic’ signifies that the process or service is done with the help of a particular method or computer program.

In online advertising, programmatic buying stands for a technology that automates bidding and selling of the advertising media between the digital publisher and an interested buyer.

Over time, this technology developed into a huge system that covers each part of the process, minimizing human error and maximizing trading scale and performance. With programmatic trading, marketers can focus their time and efforts on building and refining a perfect campaign strategy, while publishers get the ability to manage and optimize all of their digital assets in one place.

Types of programmatic deals

There are several types of programmatic deals used by the sides to negotiate, such as:

  • Open programmatic RTB auctions,
  • Programmatic guaranteed,
  • Private marketplaces,

and many others. The preferred deal is defined by many things, like whether or not the impressions are auctioned, should the marketplace be open or private, etc. Depending on this choice, the process of matching and negotiations can vary greatly, but the general mechanism works similarly for all programmatic trading operations.

How do programmatic and RTB campaigns work?

At their dawn, programmatic and RTB campaigns were mostly used to sell remnant inventory or to create and manage direct response advertising campaigns. Today, programmatic includes almost the entire process of media trading for many advertisers and publishers from all across the globe. This mechanism can be described in 5 simple steps:

  1. Step 1 Supply. A digital publisher decides to monetize their ad placements and offers inventory for sale on the supply-side platform. They specify the size, format, and other parameters of their offer, as well as decide on the preferred kind of deals. Once the user visits a web page that contains these placements, the automated process of bidding starts.
  2. Step 2 Encounter. The available user information gets analyzed by the SSP. These insights are then used to evaluate the impression’s value for the advertiser and deliver the most relevant ads.
  3. Step 3 Evaluation. At the same time, an advertiser is setting up their campaigns via their demand-side platform and specifying the kind of placements and audiences they are interested in. If the inventory fits the requirements, the DSP gets involved in the negotiations in accordance with their type of deal.
  4. Step 4 Negotiation. At this stage, programmatic algorithms are matching the buyer with the supplier based on their campaign settings, user data, and other parameters. For instance, programmatic RTB display ads are usually exchanged via open auction platforms, while joining a private marketplace would require a special invitation. Depending on the chosen type of deal the details of this process may vary, but the core feature of programmatic is that this all happens automatically within milliseconds while the page is loading.
  5. Step 5 Delivery. Once the deal is closed, an ad is delivered to the user. The ad’s performance is then measured by ad tags and analyzed with programmatic tools for further optimization and strategy adjustments.

Of course, in some cases, details of the process may differ based on specific arrangements, but the main point for both programmatic vs RTB is automation that saves lots of time and resources for everyone.

What is RTB Advertising?

In a recent post, we’ve thoroughly discussed RTB marketing, as well as explored the precise mechanisms behind it, so we won’t dig into a lot of details here. Instead, let us now compare programmatic buying vs RTB with the help of RTB digital advertising definition.

RTB stands for real-time bidding, meaning that multiple advertisers are simultaneously bidding on the same inventory within an open RTB programmatic space.

The whole thing takes less than a second and happens in real-time, so the user doesn’t even notice the complicated process of ad delivery.

So what is the difference between RTB and programmatic?

As we already mentioned, there are many types of programmatic deals out there that can be used for many different occasions. So when it comes to comparing RTB vs programmatic, one can say that programmatic is a broader term that includes, but is not limited to RTB auctions. In other words, RTB is one of the many methods used within a vast programmatic landscape.

6 Reasons to use RTB programmatic solutions

RTB is a powerful tool used by many ad tech professionals worldwide. It allows businesses from all verticals to monetize their digital assets and promote their products and services. But what’s in it for you? And how exactly can you leverage these solutions for reaching your business objectives? Here are a couple of reasons to try:

  • Universality. Programmatic RTB has great potential and offers unique benefits for most media-traders worldwide. It is suitable for businesses of any size and in almost every industry. RTB can be effectively used for many purposes, like increasing brand awareness, getting additional clients, introducing new products, or promoting new offers. For publishers, RTB is a perfect opportunity to monetize their placements and sell the inventory to the interested advertisers while staying in control of their budgets.
  • A vast pool of demand and supply. Due to the generally open nature of the RTB auctions, advertisers and publishers from all around the world get access to a large pool of potential partners to trade with. They can reach both very specific users defined by remote locations or unusual interests, as well as a more broad general public — all of these reachable in a couple of clicks within a single interface!
  • Saved time and effort. This might sound hard to believe, but getting more opportunities with the RTB solutions actually requires less effort. In fact, thanks to the sophisticated algorithms both sides of the trading process can now get higher revenues while spending fewer resources to build and manage their campaigns. Based on in-depth performance reports and automated optimization, one can focus on putting their effort only on top-performing tactics; thus, getting better results within shorter periods.
  • Reach your target clients. RTB software allows businesses to better understand their potential clients with all their needs and objectives. At the same time, it is a powerful tool to find and reach precisely those people who will find your message interesting. This way business owners can save their efforts, while the users won’t get annoyed with irrelevant ads.
  • Measure and report results. RTB technological solutions simplify not only the process of negotiations and ad delivery but also further measurements and reporting for your campaign’s performance. While media-trading is in progress, advertisers and publishers get detailed real-time reports of every aspect of their campaign which can provide you with lots of valuable insights related to your unique business specifics.
  • Real-time optimization. Based on these reports media-traders can adjust and refine their campaigns in real-time. Advertisers can improve the positioning and content of their ads, personalizing their communication with the customers. Publishers, in their turn, can notably increase their ROI and get the most out of their digital assets, while spending minimum resources and effort. As a result, users receive the most relevant messages at the perfect time and place.
  • Accessibility. The good news is that getting those benefits for your business is not a complicated task at all. Instead, the only thing one has to do is to explore media-trading platforms and solutions and start launching campaigns. Thanks to the innovative technology and a professional team of ad tech experts, anyone can start earning without having to spend lots of time building and developing their own solutions.

As we can see, programmatic RTB is a quite universal and cost-effective business model, that provides lots of potential benefits for both sides of the auctions. To help traders across the globe leverage these opportunities, the Bidscube team chose OpenRTB as our main solution.

We are dedicated to make media trading convenient, accessible, and profitable, and we believe programmatic RTB to be a perfect tool to achieve this.

Bidscube white-label RTB media-kit is precisely the product to start with — it includes a convenient ready-to-use platform with an intuitive interface and a friendly community of programmatic enthusiasts to trade with.

Contact us to join our growing community of top-performing media-traders and get a first-hand experience of using our cutting-edge solutions!