Back to blog

Add new tools to your marketing strategy: Real-time bidding ABC

Email marketing is a significant part of your company’s marketing strategy. However, combining your email marketing efforts with other advertising channels can give a new dimension to your business communication. In this article, we will introduce you to an innovative trend in the world of digital marketing – real-time bidding. You will learn practical approaches for your ad buying strategies and get a clear overview of platforms where you can buy digital ads in a real-time auction.

In 1995 only a few web pages existed, today – there are billions of them. Buying digital ads in real-time has become very common and widespread in the US and many big European countries. The opportunities for buying digital ads through different programs are growing rapidly since spending money on traditional digital advertising is no longer effective for the media or the client. Digital media buying takes too long, as there are millions of sites and thousands of different target groups. Usually advertisers pay a fixed price for showing their ads – it doesn´t matter if the target group is right or not. When you buy a digital ad through a program, you can target just the right groups, people who are valuable for you. Smart display campaign tools like Frank help you save time and get great results.

What is Real-Time Bidding?

Bidding in real-time means buying and selling ads in auctions that are happening live. The auctions are held as the webpage is loading – in a fracture of a second, the program decides which ad suits the web page best and what is the price for displaying the ad. The auction mediators are usually advertising networks or the seller’s program. The pages do not control what ads will be best for them.

How does Real-Time Bidding (RTB) work?

When the user arrives, platforms receive real-time info that User X has arrived on web page Y. Platforms have previously gathered and saved information about User X, and now they quickly analyze what kind of ads will be the most relevant for User X at this time. If two advertisers would like to show their ads to User X (based on the previously gathered information), the ad of the advertiser who pays more in the auction will be displayed first. If the User spends more time on the page, other ads will also be shown. As mentioned before, this is all done in microseconds.

In traditional digital media, each display has a certain price. In RTB the price depends on how much an advertiser is willing to pay for one contact from a particular target group member and on what web page the ad is displayed. While in many countries (USA, UK, Denmark, etc.) you can also target by age and gender, in some markets you can segment your audience only by interests, text content, time, device, and some other technical functions.

What is the Demand-Side Platform (DSP)?

This platform is mainly used by advertisers and agencies to buy ads automatically. The platform lets them buy ads faster (without previous booking) and with bigger control (changes can be made constantly). The choice of formats is wide; you can choose video, text or regular banner ads.

An advertiser can buy ads for a large number of portals through DSP. During the buying process, the program considers the clients’ location and their previous internet history. The ad sellers make their inventory available through a market called the ad exchange. DSP automatically decides which ad is reasonable to buy and which is not – and all that in real-time.

For this purpose, we tried Frank ( – a tool that provides a simple and efficient way to start a campaign. After a quick setup, their advanced system will start delivering clients to your website.

What is Ad Exchange?

The ad exchange can be compared to a stock exchange. While the stock exchange links buyers with stocks, the ad exchange links buyers with ads through DSP. Ad exchange has all the inventory of partner media companies until someone wishes to buy something. Through the ad exchange media companies can maximize on their free inventory. Previously on bigger markets you could use it to sell impressions that were left over, but now the selection is getting wider and more premium placements have been added.

What is the Data Management Platform (DMP)?

Simply put, this is a data storage that gathers information, sorts it out and then releases it in a way that is useful for the publisher and other businesses as well.

It is like a database that is primarily used by advertisers to filter cookies and to create user segments that would match certain groups. DMP helps to collect information from previous campaigns so that in the future the targeting could be improved. Often the data is collected from the campaigns of all the clients and then merged into one big data storage. Many companies have started to sell their users’ information so that the ads would reach the right target group.

DMP and DSP work together. While DSP is used for buying, DMP is made only for storing data so that DSP could buy the right audience.

What are the negative aspects?

It may seem like the perfect system – you place your bet, and everything works automatically. Unfortunately, it is not quite so. Like when buying traditional media, the RTB also has some aspects you should keep in mind.

For example, if you set a day´s budget with a large publisher (1000 €), you get an exact amount of displays for it. With RTB it works a bit differently. You pay for displays that have happened, but the number of displays can change each day. One option is to calculate the minimum number of displays. You can also set the campaign period and budget. However, this is often not the smartest solution because the cost of a click can grow and the wanted result may not be achieved.

It would be better to monitor the campaign as it continues and play with the frequency of displays. You should evaluate if it is useful to display an ad to a person who has seen it 20 times already but still hasn´t clicked on it. How many times did the ad appear on the viewer´s screen and not out of the screen? All this data can and should be monitored constantly. This way you also won´t become annoying for the potential customer.

Advertisers often worry that their ads might appear on unwanted pages. Unfortunately, it is not possible to fully control page content, and the ad may sometimes be displayed on pages with questionable content. On most platforms, you can activate brand protection strategy that minimizes the number of this kind of pages. A bigger problem is when the ads are displayed in pointless pages. Fortunately, this does not affect the results since you only pay for clicks or conversions.

You have probably visited web pages that use remarketing strategy for ads. It is an effective method and many clients complete the required action on the home page. But even after the client has made an inquiry or purchase, the ad will continue following him. In order to not become annoying, you should stop displaying the ad to those who already completed the desired action. This minimizes the danger that clients might get annoyed and refuse to buy your product out of spite.


A media company sells its inventory through exchanges. Through DSP the advertisers can participate in an auction to buy that inventory. The advertiser who is willing to pay the most wins the auction, and his ad will be displayed on the page. You can also add DMP which will make targeting even more precise.

Here in Mailigen, we understand the needs of a modern marketer and we are always seeking ways to bring more value and potential to our customers. For testing all the above-mentioned approaches and tools, Mailigen recommends Frank – a smart display campaign tool that is built for all companies who market themselves online and want to optimize their advertising costs. Frank is based on artificial intelligence, and it offers the simplest and cheapest solution to advertise online without hiring a costly media agency or a dedicated digital marketing specialist.

Frank offers a 6 months trial for Mailigen customers + professional banners for your campaign free of charge. All you need to do is create an account with Frank, upload your ads, add the amount of money you want to spend on media buying and use the features of this efficient platform for free. When it’s done, start enjoying converting customers coming to your website!

Do not hesitate to ask any questions and share your thoughts on RTB as a part of marketing strategy!

Add new tools to your marketing strategy: Real-time bidding ABC
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInPin on PinterestEmail this to someone


Leave a comment

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

© 2010-2020 Mailigen. All rights reserved.