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An Overview of the Online Ad Marketplace in 2011

Jay StevensBy Rubicon VP Jay Stevens
Since last year’s AOP Summit, Real Time Bidding (RTB) has moved into the mainstream as a display advertising trading mechanic. In August, we commissioned Econsultancy to research the global online advertising market and found that an average of 34% of trading desk spend goes to real-time bidding (RTB). The figures break down as 41% in North America and 34% in Europe. 48% of the advertisers and agencies we surveyed highlight ‘improved performance’ as a key advantage of RTB. ‘Reduced media wastage’, ‘better targeting capabilities’ and ‘lower CPA’ were also seen as benefits. However, the survey also revealed that 37% of responding companies say their trading desks spend less than 20% on RTB, and that 17% of advertisers and agencies do not allocate any display advertising budget to their trading desks. Programmatic trading is key to the future growth of our industry, as it removes the inefficiencies and operational overheads for publishers and agencies alike. Already blurring the distinction between premium and remnant inventory, private marketplaces open unique opportunities for publishers to safely take larger share of budget. With a private marketplace, RTB inventory should approach price levels previously reserved for direct guaranteed deals, especially with greater exclusivity. And for agencies, programmatic trading enables advertisers to reach their target audiences more efficiently, realising the decade-old promise of online advertising.

Unlocking Inaccessible Spend

Recently, we have facilitated Private Marketplace Summits in London and Los Angeles enabling publishers to structure trading agreements leveraging the Rubicon Project’s REVV platform’s rich RTB controls and feature set. At these events, we facilitated over 100 meetings and enabled leading publishers to automate buys from category adjacent and non-endemic advertisers and unlock otherwise inaccessible spend. We also discovered that most trading desks are using more than one DSP – 15% are using in excess of four, according to the Econsultancy findings - and, while the majority of spend is direct reponse-focussed, trading desks are starting to launch brand offerings. There is still a valuable role for online advertising networks though, with the research revealing that they take an average of 55% of the media plan in Europe and the US. Over a third of the advertisers Econsultancy surveyed buy from between five and ten online advertising networks and 46% of advertisers and agencies say they are dealing with more networks than they were a year ago. This is particularly high in the US with 53 per cent of advertisers and agencies dealing with more ad networks than they were a year ago. Evidently, publishers are using increasingly sophisticated channel management strategies to ensure resource is deployed most effectively across their inventory and yields are optimised. Working with supply side platforms also enables publishers to manage yield from all indirect sources of demand. Because anything that can be automated, will be. Rubicon Project Jay Stevens VP and GM International, the Rubicon Project www.rubiconproject.com See also: Rubicon's A to Z of online advertising.

Rubicon Project is an Associate Member of AOP and the Overall Sponsor of the AOP Summit 2011.

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