When you’re buying banner ads, you can buy them in one of two ways.
You can buy them through a Real Time Buying (RTB) platform, or you
can buy them with a guaranteed ad buying agreement. What are these
two approaches? How do they differ? Which should you use? Read on.
What is Real Time Buying?
RTB is like a real time PPC platform for banner ads. Imagine a
website that has a banner ad slot. Instead of selling that ad at a
set rate, this site has the ad space up on an RTB platform.
On the RTB platform are hundreds of advertisers. Advertisers who
want to place ads on that website submit ads, as well as their bids
for how much they’re willing to pay for that slot. They also
provide other criteria, like geo targeting, day parting or
When a visitor loads a page on this website, the ad server
immediately pings the RTB database to check for who the highest
bidder for that ad slot is. If the visitor matches the #1 bidder’s
criteria, their ad is displayed. If they don’t, the next highest
bidder is displayed, assuming they match that bidder’s criteria.
This happens for every single visitor. CPMs are calculated in real
time, bidding happens in real time and ads are determined and
served in real time. Thus the name, real time buying.
What is Guaranteed Ad Buying?
Guaranteed ad buying is how most advertising on the internet works.
You approach a website and say you want to buy an ad on their site.
They give you a set rate â€“ Say, 1 million impressions at $5 CPM.
You sign an insertion order (IO) and the deal is set. You’re
guaranteed that traffic.
Guaranteed ad buying can happen directly, through you contacting
that website’s sales team or owner. It can also happen through an
ad network like BuySellAds.com or BuyAds.com.
Which is Better? What Are the Pros and Cons?
The downside to RTB is that you simply aren’t guaranteed the
traffic. RTB traffic is almost always remnant traffic, meaning its
traffic that the site couldn’t sell. If they successfully sell the
traffic next month, you’re cut off. If someone bids higher than
you, you’re cut off.
With guaranteed ad buying, you know that you’re going to get the
traffic. No need to worry about getting cut off.
However, with RTB a big benefit is price. Your CPMs are much, much
lower than if you went direct. Also, there is no minimum order. You
can easily spend $50 across 50 different advertisers if you just
wanted to test the waters. With insertion orders, most minimums
start at $5,000 or $10,000. Even with ad networks, you’re usually
looking at a few hundred dollars to place an order.
In short, RTB platforms are great for people looking for cheap
traffic that might not necessarily last. Guaranteed ad buying is
great if you know the traffic from that site converts and you want
to lock in as much traffic from that site as possible.