Real Time Bidding explained by a programmatic expert!

What is real time bidding in digital advertising?


Real time bidding or better known as RTB refers to bids that occur in real time. It is a bidding system used in digital advertising that allows to sell an impression to the highest bidder in real time. It is a component of programmatic marketing. (Learn more on the benefits of programmatic marketing)

It is thanks to the tools called demand side platform or DSP that this technology has been democratized. Buyers, who are most often advertisers, agencies or trading desks, have the choice to bid on impressions according to the size of their display banners, the context of the website, the location of Internet users, the time of day and many other criteria.


How does real time bidding work?


Upstream, publishers have made their inventories available for sale on the supply side platform (SSP) and have defined the minimum bids they will accept.

Regarding agencies or trading desks, the campaign setup and all the targeting criteria are ready on the DSP.

It is then in a few milliseconds that the supply of advertising impression and the demand for impression on the ad exchanges are going to meet:

  1. First, an Internet user loads a page that uses RTB technology and his profile is associated with a cookie.
  2. Then, the buyers interested in the latter bid and the highest bid (maximum bid) wins the impression.
  3. The winner’s banner is then displayed on the ad placement.



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What are the good reasons to do real time bidding?


  • Cost optimization:

    Purchased ad impressions are served to cookies that are highly likely to convert, that way few impressions are served for nothing.

  • Opportunity sensing :

    By broadcasting widely, it is possible to identify sites and locations that the buyer would not have thought of. It thus becomes possible to create a whitelisting of performing sites.

  • Remarketing :

    It is possible to retarget in several places in real time, thus promoting the purchase decision.


What are the systems that precede real time bidding?


RTB has progressively replaced live and negotiated ad campaigns to take a more important place in the buying patterns. It is now the most used system compared to the previous ones and its use is still growing.


Who are the actors of real time bidding?


As seen previously, real time bidding calls upon several types of actors to ensure that it works properly. To summarize : we have the supply side platform, the ad exchanges, and the demand side platform.

Here are some examples of actors by category:

SSP (Supply Side Platform) :

  • Google Ad Manager
  • Xandr (previously Appnexus)
  • Rubicon
  • Pubmatic
  • Smart Adserver
  • Improve Digital

Ad Exchange :

  • 3W Adex
    Doubleclick Ad exchange
  • Microsoft Advertising Exchange
  • Appnexus
  • District M
  • Stack Adapt
  • Redux Media Exchange

DSP (Demand Side Platform) :

  • Display & Video 360
  • Stack Adapt
  • Acuity
  • Media Math
  • Xandr


At Rablab, we use several tools to manage our programmatic campaigns; we use Display & Video 360, Stack Adapt and Acuity for display, native, TV and audio campaigns. We also use S4M for Drive to Store and Campsite for DOOH (Digital Out Of Home).

To learn more about the services we offer in programmatic, SEM, SMM and SEO, contact one of our experts.


Similar topic 
What is programmatic and what are the benefits?



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