“What is real-time bidding?” and other FAQs

Though real-time bidding is getting lots of press these days, it’s still far from being a household phrase, even for some experienced online marketers. That’s why we wanted to address some of the RTB queries (pun intended) that we get when speaking to advertisers who are just learning about real-time display.

We’d be honored if you’d have a look and let us know if there’s anything missing:

What is real-time bidding (RTB)?

Real-time bidding is a methodology for buying online media which allows advertisers to bid for individual ad impressions (one user, one ad space, one time) in “real-time” auctions. By partnering with a RTB platform like Sociomantic (called a “demand-side platform“), advertisers can analyze real-time data in order to determine the value of each ad impression, and thereby the price they want to bid for each ad. This also means they can personalize each ad served to the individual on the other side (see: dynamic creative optimization).

Compared to the “bulk buying” of impressions that has been the standard in display since its origin (usually on a cost-per-thousand, or CPM, basis), the benefits of real-time bidding include increased budget efficiency, aggregated reach and billing, and higher performance. Recent studies have also shown that RTB can have latent branding effects such as increased trademark search and post-view site visitation.

You can read more about the ins and outs of real-time bidding here on our blog, or check out this great introduction in Forbes India.

What’s so great about demand-side platforms (DSPs)?

In industry jargon, Sociomantic is what’s called a “demand-side platform,” or DSP. Our job is to make buying display advertising an easy, efficient, and effective channel for online marketers.

On the most basic level, this means we help advertisers buy display inventory across all the real-time ad exchanges, which provides for aggregated billing and global frequency capping across all of these supply sources. Impression pricing is totally transparent, so there are no hidden margins. We’re also transparent about where your ads are running, showing you the URLs where they appear. In addition to real-time buying and all its benefits, we also allow advertisers to personalize each ad served for the individual user, which provides a healthy boost in ad performance. And it all happens in real-time —  real-time bidding, real-time personalization, real-time reporting, real-time optimization… and real-time results for online advertisers.

Why Sociomantic?

We have specifically tailored our technology to deliver superior display advertising results for eCommerce advertisers. We have decades of combined experience in online performance marketing. Full-service solutions mean no need for you to navigate complex interfaces loaded with new terminology and confusing options.  Our real-time bidder, ad server, and database are all proprietary, which means we are highly adaptable to accommodate individual advertiser needs.

What exactly do you mean by real-time?

It takes us less than 70 milliseconds total to analyze the impression, make a bid, and serve a personalized ad for bids won. That’s literally less than the blink of an eye!

Where will my ads appear?

We are connected to every major supplier of real-time biddable inventory in the market. Although all of these partners provide only highest-quality inventory with category-based filtering for every campaign, where necessary we can help advertisers to establish publisher block-lists or further categorical filters.

What is dynamic creative optimization (a.k.a. “dynamic ad personalization” or “dynamic bannering”)?

Though this ad is just an example, here’s how the dynamic ad personalization works: each product displayed is carefully selected in real-time based on a complex analysis of the individual user profile, but also taking into account the ad “environment” and dynamically optimizing based on the performance of previously served ads. As you can see, the creative can also include elements like personalized offers (“Free shipping!”), and banners noting New or Sale items.  We work with each client to customize their creative options for real-time personalization.

Read more about dynamic creative optimization.

What type of clients does Sociomantic serve?

Our clients, whether by direct relationship or working with agencies, are primarily performance marketers following eCPA (effective cost per action) targets. Many of these customers are top performers for their category who are running their performance marketing efforts in-house.

If you’re interested in seeing some of our customer references, please get in touch.

What sort of setup does it take to get started?

You will have full guidance in implementing the necessary tracking code. We offer you thorough, step-by-step implementation documents for adding our code to your site, and an experienced Sociomantic technician will be at your service at all times for any questions or issues that arise in the process.

What do you do to ensure the safety of my data?

We never, ever share first party data with other advertisers or third parties. Our distributed hash table technology ensures maximum security and safety for your data.

Are you hiring?

Why yes, we are. Check out our Careers page for the latest openings.

What sort of privacy controls do you offer for the end user?

All of our targeting and ad creation is based on anonymous data (non-Personally Identifiable Information, or non-PII) in strict accordance with European privacy laws as well as the industry’s self-regulation policies. On our Privacy page, we explain what types of information we collect and how it is used for targeting and creating ads. On that page, users can check a box in order to opt out of receiving our tracking cookie.

How does real-time bidding fit into my marketing mix?

RTB  is best when used as a compliment to your existing search marketing and other online performance marketing channels.

What if I have more questions?

If you want, you can run a search on this real-time bidding blog, which has covered many topics related to display advertising. Or you can always feel free to contact us with your questions and we’ll get back to you with answers as soon as possible.