Programmatic Advertising for Successful Real-Time Bidding

This article explores the intricacies of programmatic advertising, strategies for successful real-time bidding, and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in this digital realm.



Principles of Programmatic Advertising and RTB

Bennefits of Real-Time Programmatic Advertising

Strategies for Succesfull Real-Time Bidding

Challenges and Solutions in Programmatic RTB

Future Trends in Programmatic Advertising




In the ever-evolving digital marketing landscape, programmatic advertising is a revolutionary force, particularly in the real-time bidding (RTB) space. This technological approach automates the buying and selling of online advertising, making it more efficient and effective. 

At the heart of this system is real-time bidding, a dynamic method of buying ad inventory that allows advertisers to bid on ad space in milliseconds. Given the increasing competition in digital advertising, understanding and fully leveraging the potential of programmatic advertising and RTB is essential for marketers seeking to maximize their reach and impact.

Principles of Programmatic Advertising and RTB

Programmatic advertising is a method in which software and algorithms are used to buy digital ad space, as opposed to traditional manual ad buying. This approach uses data insights and technology to deliver advertising to the right audience at the right time without human intervention in the bidding process. Real-time bidding (RTB) is a subset of programmatic advertising where ad inventory is bought and sold on an impression-by-impression basis through an instant auction, similar to financial markets.

At the core of RTB is an ad exchange platform where publishers offer their ad space to potential advertisers. When a user visits a website, information about that user and the available ad space is sent to the ad exchange. Within milliseconds, advertisers then bid for ad space based on how well the user's profile matches their target audience. The highest bidder gets the ad space and their ad is then displayed to the user.

This system stands out for its efficiency and accuracy. Advertisers use a huge amount of data such as user behaviour, demographics and browsing history. The speed and accuracy of this process means that ads are more relevant to users, leading to more engagement and better ROI for advertisers.

Below you can find an image where the whole process of real-time bidding is explained in detail:

Kopie návrhu Proces nabídky v reálném čase

Demand-Side Platform (DSP)

This is a system that allows buyers of digital ad space to efficiently manage multiple ad bids from a single interface. The DSP automates the purchase of ad positions using programmatic advertising, enabling targeting of specific demographics, increasing efficiency and reducing overall cost.costs. 

Supply-Side Platform (SSP)

Supply-Side Platform (SSP), on the other hand, is a system that allows website owners to maximize revenue from their ad inventory. SSPs automate the sale of ad positions and help individual websites market their inventory to as many potential buyers as possible. Again, this is done through programmatic advertising, where ad positions are sold in real-time through auctions.

Benefits of Real-Time Programmatic Advertising

Integrating programmatic advertising with real-time bidding (RTB) offers a number of benefits that significantly enhance digital marketing efforts. These benefits include:

Higher Ad Effectiveness and Lower Costs: 

Programmatic advertising is popular mainly due to its effectiveness and lower costs compared to traditional methods. While traditional media buying methods use different pricing models (cost per click, cost per action...), programmatic advertising works primarily on a CPM (cost per thousand impressions) basis, which is significantly cheaper. On average, it is between $0.50 and $2 per thousand impressions, whereas for direct buys, this price is approximately $10 per thousand impressions.

Greater Advertising Reach

A lower CPM for programmatic advertising means reaching a wider audience at a lower cost. In addition to traditional platforms such as Google and social, programmatic advertising includes channels such as Connected TV (CTV), display, native and video ads, which significantly increases brand awareness.

Very Fast Optimization

At a time when instant response is key in digital marketing, programmatic advertising stands out with its real-time bidding function. RTB streamlines the ad placement process and enables instant bidding on specific display ads.

This system gives advertisers a distinct advantage in terms of speed and efficiency. In addition, RTB provides the ability to evaluate campaigns almost immediately after they are launched, which can be acted upon immediately to improve overall results.

Excellent Targeting 

Programmatic advertising is characterized by exceptional targeting accuracy when it comes to buying media space, which includes:

  • Audience targeting: delivering ads based on demographics such as age, gender or income.

  • Behavioral targeting: Placing ads in line with user actions such as website visits, shopping habits or interests.

  • Contextual targeting: Connects ads to relevant content, such as an ad for skin care next to an article about dry skin.

  • Geotargeting: Targeting ads based on location - from broad areas such as regions, to specific locations such as cities or postcodes.

  • Retargeting: Targeting users who have previously interacted with your brand but have not made a purchase.

  • Cross-device targeting: Linking your advertising messages across different devices, from laptops to smartphones.

Transparent Positioning

Another advantage of programmatic advertising is a clear view of ad placement and audience engagement. Advertisers can see exactly where their ads are appearing and who is watching them, ensuring that their messages reach the desired audience. 

Different ad Formats

A key aspect of programmatic advertising that expands audience reach is the variety of creative ad formats available, allowing advertisers to diversify their strategies and not rely on a single method.

The variety of programmatic ad formats includes, for example:

  • Audio ads

  • Online television commercials (CTV)

  • Out-of-home (OOH) digital ads

  • Display ads

  • Native ads

  • Video Ads

Viewability and Scalability

Programmatic ad campaigns have exceptional viewability, offering real-time insights into performance and placement, which is key to tracking ad spend. 

They're also highly scalable, making them ideal for startups and small businesses with limited budgets. These ads allow for flexible budgeting, so advertisers can set and control daily spending limits, which are then automatically allocated throughout the day.

Time Efficiency

A significant advantage of programmatic advertising is the considerable time savings that are lost in the manual negotiation process. This method streamlines ad buying, removes the need for lengthy bidding, trading and negotiation, and allows advertisers to quickly purchase ad space on countless websites. In addition, the integration of artificial intelligence and algorithms minimizes the risk of time-consuming errors typically associated with human involvement.

Strategies for Successful Real-Time Bidding

Below are key strategies that can lead to successful RTB campaigns:

  • In-depth audience analysis: Use data analytics to gain insights into audience preferences, behaviors, and demographics. Tailoring your bidding strategy based on these insights will ensure your ads reach the most relevant and responsive audiences.

  • Optimised bidding strategy: Develop a bidding strategy that balances reach and value, which includes setting an appropriate bid amount based on the potential value of different ad impressions. Consider factors such as the likelihood of user conversion and the relevance of the ad placement.

  • Optimising creative: The creative aspects of an ad - its design, message and call to action - play a vital role in engagement. Regularly test and update creative elements to see what resonates best with your audience. Using dynamic creative optimization can further personalize ad content in real time based on user data.

  • Leveraging AI and machine learning: AI and machine learning algorithms can analyse large data sets and optimise bidding and ad placement decisions more efficiently than manual methods. These technologies can predict bid outcomes, automate bidding in real-time, and continuously improve campaign performance based on learning algorithms.

  • Real-time monitoring and adjustment: One of the biggest advantages of RTB is the ability to make instant adjustments. Continuously monitor campaign performance and be ready to adjust your strategy in response to real-time data. This includes adjusting bids, changing targeting criteria, and revising creative elements.

  • Quality over quantity: Focus on getting high quality ad impressions that are more likely to convert, rather than simply aiming for a high volume of impressions. Quality traffic leads to higher engagement, higher conversion rates, and more efficient use of ad budget.

Challenges and Solutions in Programmatic RTB

While programmatic real-time bidding (RTB) offers many advantages, it also presents unique challenges. Understanding these and implementing effective solutions is key to successful campaigns.

Challenge #1: Ad Fraud and Viewability

Ad fraud, including non-human traffic and viewability issues, can significantly skew campaign data and effectiveness.

  • Solution: Employ advanced ad verification tools and technologies. Use filters and algorithms to identify and avoid fraudulent traffic. Prioritize ad placements with high viewability rates.

Challenge #2: Privacy Concerns and Data Regulation

Increasing concerns over user privacy and stringent data regulations like GDPR can limit the availability and use of consumer data.

  • Solution: Ensure compliance with all privacy laws and regulations. Focus on obtaining first-party data and using contextual targeting strategies that do not rely on personal user information.

Challenge #3: Complexity of Technology and Integration

The technology behind programmatic RTB can be complex, requiring sophisticated systems and integration.

  • Solution: Invest in training for your team to better understand programmatic systems. Partner with reputable technology providers to ensure seamless integration and support.

Challenge #4: Keeping Up with Rapid Market Changes

The digital advertising landscape is constantly evolving, making it challenging to stay current.

  • Solution: Stay informed about industry trends and adapt strategies accordingly. Be flexible and ready to pivot your approach as new technologies and platforms emerge.

Future Trends in Programmatic Advertising and RTB

The major trends likely to determine the future of programmatic advertising and RTB include:

  • Greater use of artificial intelligence and machine learning: Artificial intelligence and machine learning are expected to become an integral part of programmatic RTB. These technologies will enable more sophisticated targeting, predictive analytics and automated decision-making, leading to increased campaign performance and efficiency.

  • Greater focus on privacy and data security: In response to growing privacy concerns and regulatory changes, there will be a shift towards more privacy-focused advertising practices. This includes the use of anonymised data, privacy-compliant targeting methods and the rise of contextual advertising that relies less on users' personal data.

  • Expanding programmatic advertising in new formats: In addition to traditional web and mobile advertising, programmatic advertising will expand into new areas such as online TV, digital out-of-home (DOOH), and even virtual and augmented reality environments, offering new opportunities for engagement.

  • Voice search and audio advertising: With the rise of smart voice assistants, voice search optimization and audio advertising will become increasingly prevalent in programmatic campaigns to take advantage of a growing market segment.

  • Blockchain for transparency and fraud prevention: Blockchain technology is likely to expand to increase transparency in advertising transactions and combat fraud, providing advertisers and publishers with a safer and more trustworthy environment.

The following chart shows the evolution of programmatic advertising over time. Since its inception eight years ago, the global RTB market has seen dramatic growth from $6.6 billion in 2019 to $27.2 billion by 2024. This growth represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32.9%.

Snímek obrazovky 2023-12-06 094115


When navigating the complex and dynamic world of digital advertising, the importance of programmatic advertising and real-time bidding (RTB) cannot be overstated. These technologies have not only revolutionized the way advertising is bought and sold, but have also opened up unprecedented opportunities for targeted, efficient and effective marketing campaigns. 

Looking to the future, it's clear that embracing these innovations, keeping up with new trends and adapting to new challenges will be crucial for marketers who want to thrive in this digital era. 

The programmatic advertising landscape is evolving, and those who embrace its full potential will be well positioned to harness its power for successful and impactful advertising strategies.

However, if you're still unsure about how programmatic ads and RTB work, or how to use it to your advantage, feel free to contact us to arrange a free consultation. Our specialists will be happy to help you with any problem.


1. What is programmatic advertising?

Automated buying and selling of online advertising using software and data.

2. How does real-time bidding (RTB) work?

RTB auctions ad space in real time, with the highest bidder getting the space.

3. What are the advantages of programmatic RTB?

Better targeting, increased efficiency, cost effectiveness and real-time analysis.

4. Effective strategies for RTB?

Audience analysis, optimized bids, optimized creative and use of artificial intelligence.

5. How to overcome challenges in programmatic RTB?

Use ad verification tools, comply with privacy laws, and stay on top of trends.

6. Future trends in programmatic advertising and RTB?

Greater use of artificial intelligence, focus on privacy, expansion to new formats, and adoption of blockchain.

7. Is programmatic RTB suitable for all businesses?

Yes, especially for targeted marketing, but suitability varies by objectives and budget.

Topics: Marketing Performance Marketing

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