Browse Definitions:
Definition

real-time bidding (RTB)

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Real-time bidding (RTB) is an automated auction process for the purchase of individual ad impressions on websites and other online venues such as apps and games.

RTB is an integral component of programmatic advertising, which automates the processes and transactions involved in buying and placing ads. Real-time bidding algortithms are designed to optimize transactions so that publishers receive the best payment per impression and advertisers can get their ads in front of the most relevant audience. Bids for ad impressions are established based on criteria including the size and placement of an ad as well as details about the site and audience.

Here's how RTB works: When someone clicks a link to a website or enters the site's name or URL into the browser address bar, the browser creates a connection to the publisher's content server. When the server returns the code for the page from the site publisher's content server, at least one line of the code includes the option to display an ad, along with the URL for retrieval of content from an ad server.

The ad server checks its stored data for relevant information -- if the ad space is reserved or would work for a premium inventory buyer, for example, or if there is any data about the viewer that would make the spot more valuable to some advertiser for a targeted ad. Depending on what data it detects, the ad server may make the opportunity available to the open ad market where it will be auctioned off. If that decision is made, the publisher's server connects to a supply-side platform (SSP), the software that publishers use to make their inventory available to ad exchanges and demand-side platforms (DSP), the advertiser's counterpart system.

The SSP determines whether the requester of the web page is known and may connect to a data exchange to access more information about that user. The SSP then sends the request and user data to an ad exchange, which is connected to ad networks, other demand-side platforms and possibly additional ad exchanges. All of these systems include data about what advertisers will bid for ads based on various criteria, such as the user's age, gender, geographic location and interests. If there are no pre-cached bids, the exchange requests bids from the demand-side systems based on those criteria. The winning bid is selected in 10 milliseconds and the ad is displayed to the user, all while the requested page is loading.

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) explains the back-end processes involved in RTB:

This was last updated in February 2017

Continue Reading About real-time bidding (RTB)

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

How much insight do you have into where your ads appear or the type of ads that appear on your website?
Cancel

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • principle of least privilege (POLP)

    The principle of least privilege (POLP), an important concept in computer security, is the practice of limiting access rights for...

  • identity management (ID management)

    Identity management (ID management) is the organizational process for identifying, authenticating and authorizing individuals or ...

  • zero-day (computer)

    A zero-day vulnerability, also known as a computer zero day, is a flaw in software, hardware or firmware that is unknown to the ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close