The role of the elements in RTB

First of all: Do you know what RTB is?

RTB or Real Time Bidding is one of the main types of programmatic advertising. It's an automated system to purchase online advertising spaces through real time bids.

The main advantages this method offers are an accurate audience segmentation-displaying advertisements only to the target of the brand-, content personalization and cost optimization for advertisers. 

RTB may seem complicated at first, but understanding the whole process and the role of each element will help you to see everything much clearer.

For that reason, in this post we will explain what they are, how they work and which the main features of the elements that take part in a real time bidding process are.

Before starting with the technical elements, we can't forget a essential piece in the RTB puzzle, the user.This is the first element, because the whole action of programmatic purchase through the real time bid system starts once the user visits a web page connected to an RTB network. 

This is the reason why the entire proccess takes less than 200 milliseconds; it's the time from when the user access the website to when the page is fully loaded. The website sends a request to the network to show the advertisement according to the user's information (obtained through cookies) while the web page is loading.

Next, we will take a look at the elements that play an active role in the process.

01. Advertisers


These are each of the brands that want to serve their ads in online media. Therefore, advertisers are the ones who make the demand for advertising spaces. The campaigns, which are created in DSPs (we will talk about it later), can be managed by the brands or by a third party (like a marketing agency or the DSP itself).

The main benefit advertisers are looking for with an RTB campaign is be able to create a segmented campaign. This way, they will be able to make the most out of the budget allocated to it, since advertisers will avoid wasting impressions on users who aren't interested in the product or service.

On the other hand, advertisers need to make sure that their audience is well defined and that they've selected the appropriate segmentarion criteria. Also, they need to design effective banners to catch the users' attention and increase the CTR.

02. Publishers


They are all online media that offer their available ad slots to brands to show their advertisements.

Before, all those ad slots were sold directly through agreements on a fixed CPM basis. However, with the increasing use of the Internet, many of those spaces were unused. As a solution, those spaces became available in the SSPs (we will talk about them later) for their programmatic purchase.

There is a huge amount of online media which offer their available advertising spaces through the SSPs: from the main news pages to specific websites.

03 DSP Platform

Plataforma DSP

These are the platforms where the demand of advertising space is generated by advertisers and, at the same time, it represents them.

These platforms are the place where campaign parameters are established according to the interests of each advertiser; they select the segmentation options, define which digital formats are more suitable for each particular case, set the daily budget spending and the advertising frequency limitation...

DSPs allow advertisers to buy real time impressions on any of the publishers through the bidding system; and it works like this:

DSPs store the user profiles information, 1st and 2nd party data information, and campaign requirements and parameters and, analyzing it alongside the information sent by the SSP request publishers), it's decided if the impression can be valuable for the advertiser.

Also, DSPs decide which offer should be made to each user, the content and how much it would cost the advertising action to the advertiser

Once all parameters have been analyzed and it's been determined that the offer is favourable, they begin to make the bids on the Ad Exchange, trying to get the most suitable offer with the best price for each capaign.

The main difference between an advertising network and a DSP platform is that the second one has the technology which allows to define the value of an impression in real time, paying a fairer price for the advertising space.

04 SSP Platform

Plataforma SSP

It is the platform where the offer of advertising space is created by publishers. SSPs represent the sellers of advertising spaces, that is, media and and other online channels. 

Instead of the publisher having to manage their own ad inventory with many unrelated sources, they just have to work with an SSP, which optimizes the process. These platforms establish the rates for the advertising spaces and filter the advertisements that will be displayed on the page. 

The SSPs receive the information and send the bid request to the DSP. Its goal is to get a suitable bid to sell the advertising space at the highest possible rate. Once the transaction has been carried out, it communicates the code to the publisher, so that it can be inserted into their website and the advertisement is immediately and automatically displayed to the selected user.

05 Ad Exchange


It's the technology that connects supply and demand; it is the place where the bidding and trading of advertising space take place in real time. The Ad Exchange is the one that receives the request from the DSPs and starts the auction. 

This is the process:

  • When an user visits a website, a request for advertising space is sent to the Ad Exchanges and DSPs through the Publisher's AdServer.
  • Then, the Ad Exchange sends the bidding request to the DSPs. They review the request and information to determine if the impression is interesting to the advertiser. If so, the DSP sends a response to the Ad Exchange with the information it needs.
  • The Ad Exchange analyzes the user information to determine who is the most relevant bidder for that space. In here, advertisers are filtered to discard the ones that don't meet the requirements.
  • With all this information, the Ad Exchange selects the most suitable bidder and the one who pays the most.

06 Big Data

Big Data

Big Data is, by definition, the set of techniques that allow to analyze, process and manage sets of extremely big data that can be analized to reveal trends, patterns and associations, specialy in relation to the human conduct and user interaction.

These are data combinations with such a large volume, speed and variability that can't be analyzed or processed using conventional technologies.

Regarding Data, there are three different types:

01.  First-party data: it's the company's own data collected from its own sources.

02. Second-party data: the one obtained through exchanges with another companies (not widely used in Spain for reasons such as the GDPR)

03. Third-party data: data obtained from completely external sources, such as Data providers.

If you want to know more information on this matter, you can read our article about Big Data and Digital Marketing.

On RTBMind you can create your programmatic ad campaign, investing the amount you consider appropriate. Our platform allows both big and small businesses to enjoy all the RTB advantages

Of course, if you need help or guidance, we're here to help. 

RTBMind is a DSP that allows advertisers to build and manage their own RTB campaigns, with the great advantage of not having a minimum access fee. If you want to know more about RTB, don't hesitate to contact us.