Video RTB: Still Waiting For Its Moment

video-rtb-roundupAnalysts expect real-time bidding to account for between 25% and 50% of total display ad spend by 2015. Meanwhile the video RTB space is growing at an even faster clip, but not accounting for as much media investment — yet.

“We do see RTB in video but it is still early, for everyone from ad exchanges all the way to agency trading desks,” said OneScreen CEO Atul Patel in a November interview with AdExchanger. “To effectively participate in RTB, advertisers need more logistical tools for buying video advertising, such as the encoding of video files and targeting for specific audiences and environments.”

As display ad spending has risen generally, the growth in the video RTB space has been impressive. Buyers and sellers are already familiar with the technology, challenges, and benefits that come from RTB, so transitioning to video has been a fast study.

Forrester predicted that video RTB in the U.S. will make up $677 million in 2013, which is a 251% increase from 2011, but only 21.8% of all U.S. online video spending.

Brett Wilson, CEO of TubeMogul, told AdExchanger that through the company’s demand-side platform, real-time biddable pre-roll increased from slightly less than one billion impressions a month at the beginning of the year to more than 9 billion auctions per month now. That’s 331.4 million auctions per day in the U.S. for pre-roll.

Craig Whitmer, VP of the Brightroll Exchange, quoted similar numbers to AdExchanger, saying that it recorded 12 billion impressions for web video RTB as of November, with an additional 2 to 3 billion from mobile video RTB each month.

“I see easily half of our exchange business being from RTB buyers,” Whitmer added. “The dollars are brand dollars and it parallels what we’re seeing in video in general,” with larger brands taking money from TV spending and shifting it to video RTB.

Another video advertising platform,, hosts a unified platform for both buyers and sellers in the programmatic video buying space.

“RTB is an important mechanism for purchasing video programmatically, but it’s not the only mechanism,” Amir Ashkenazi, founder & CEO at, told AdExchanger. He also agreed that a lot of the growth is coming from the brand side: “In short, the entirety of our business, unlike display, is built on large name brand advertisers.”

Video RTB has many of the same benefits as traditional RTB — the pricing efficiency and targeting capabilities. The differences lie in buyer objectives and the data and insights that publishers can offer.

“In display it’s more about the performance, but in video, the brand advertisers and RTB advertisers can do this granular targeting in real time,” Whitmer said. “If you saw a user do X and if you see them again in 10 minutes, they are really valuable to you and you can act on that.

“The biggest differences are in objectives,” Wilson said. “When you think of video, the largest video advertisers are the largest brands. They are trying to persuade you. The objective is different than with display. The advertisers that are investing in this space care a lot more about context. Brands want to know if they persuaded you, did you understand the message? Those are the largest differences but the technology in video and display looks very similar.”

TubeMogul data from the third quarter of 2012 shows just how effective video advertising can be when it comes to branding—and ads purchased through RTB will follow suit.

Looking at the top brand pre-roll ads, TubeMogul found that consumers who were exposed to a real-time pre-roll video ad remembered a brand message 8.3% more than viewers who did not see the ad. Purchase intent was up 2.4% overall awareness was up 3.6%.


Whitmer focused on the international opportunities and growth in mobile video RTB.

“Hopefully we see the same percentage increases next year,” he said, “which I honestly think isn’t too crazy.”

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