How “Real Time Bidding” and “Big Data” Are Changing Interactive Advertising as We Know It

- October 14, 2013

Imagine the following scenario. An Internet user lands on a page on a website, which begins to load. At that very same moment the website sends out a “bid request” to thousands of advertisers saying: “There’s a user here who is a 36-years-old Caucasian female, lives in Pennsylvania, has two dogs, and who has recently searched for skinny jeans and fitness books. How much are you willing to bid to display your ad on this page?” In about 100 milliseconds an auction is run and the winner is allowed to place its ad on the page.

What’s staggering is that the whole process takes place in 300-500 milliseconds, causing no visible delay to the user, and that this same process is repeated every time a web page loads for every ad slot on the page.

If this sounds like a marketer’s dream come true, it’s because it is. Good news is, it’s not a dream anymore. It’s reality and, as technology improves, it’s changing interactive advertising as we know it.



The process I described above is called “Real Time Bidding”, and what creates the opportunity to serve ads that are so relevant to end users is known as “Big Data”. According to AdAge, “Big Data”, when applied to digital marketing, can include online searches, website log files, consumer-uploaded images, retail transactions, loyalty card information, email communications, mobile location information, and social media commentary, just to name a few. These are all different “channels” that consumers use in their quest to find solutions to their problems, make purchases, and more in general to improve their life.

Needless to say, the most popular example of Real Time Bidding meshed with Big Data is the Google Display Network, which is becoming increasingly more powerful in its targeting capabilities.

So, how is all of this information going to affect you and your business, and change the landscape of digital advertising as we know it?

Think about it. – The nature of digital advertising has long been “one-to-one”, that is, who clicked on an ad and who converted. The user goes online, runs a search, clicks an ad, and makes a purchase.

Not so anymore. – Often consumers are more complex than ever and use multiple channels either before and after running a keyword search, and the ads served to them while they are on those other channels are indeed very relevant to their needs.

I hate to say this, but keyword search alone may not be enough anymore to achieve the largest visibility and the best possible ROI from your marketing efforts.

As a marketer, you must take action now to leverage the power of Big Data in order to offer your prospects and customers a more “customized-to-their-needs” experience which will ultimately increase your ROI and profits.

So, when planning your next online marketing effort, ask yourself this question: “How can I have display, remarketing, video, and social media advertising work in synergy with my keyword search campaign?” – Being able to answer that question effectively could make the difference between a successful and a not-so successful digital campaign.

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