Ad Tech Simplified : What is Real Time Bidding, (RTB)?

Jul 5, 2018 · 3 min read

Real-time bidding refers to the online auction process wherein buying and selling of online ad impressions are done in real-time, often facilitated through ad exchange. These auctions are held while the mobile app is loading wherein the program decides which ad suits the user best along with the price for displaying the ad.

Components of the RTB Process


It is a website or mobile application or a mobile game.

Supply-side platform (SSP)

Platform which analyses various publisher’s data present in the network to make more informed decisions to help the publisher sell inventory on different ad exchanges in an automated, secure, and efficient way.

Ad exchange

Platform where real time auction occurs that enables DSPs and SSPs to buy and sell available impressions.

Demand-side platform (DSP)

This platform is equivalent of the supply-side platform used by publishers and enables the advertiser to make more informed decision on which ad inventory to buy.


They are the companies or agencies who want to display their ad on a publisher’s ad space.

RTB Process: From Selling to Sold in Under 100 Milliseconds

Step 1: User visits a publisher’s mobile web page or app, triggering ad request for specific ad placement.

Step 2: Unique user information such as device type, IP address, operating system, etc is made available when the latter accesses the publisher’s mobile web page or app.

Step 3:The publisher’s ad request are made visible in to the network through an ad exchange via SSP which initiates the auction process and all the participating ad vendors (advertisers) are notified to start placing their bids on the ad impressions that are about to be served.

Step 4: Advertisers uses DSP to capture information about the user who visited the page. Analysing the information, advertisers decides the bid value for the available impression, eg: they may choose higher bid value if the user is highly relevant to the ad. Once a bid value is determined, DSPs assess all the available advertiser’s campaigns that are running to find the best match with the user.

Step 5: Open bids are then placed by DSPs, on behalf of the bidders against other bidders.

Step 6: The advertiser with the highest bid value wins the auction and his ad is placed on the publisher’s mobile app, game or webpage.

For every available ad request the whole process is repeated again to display user specific relevant ads quickly and efficiently.

How worthy is RTB for publishers?

With the growing popularity and usage, publishers are becoming more comfortable with it as exchanges and supply-side platforms enable them to set the minimum prices (a.k.a price floors) at which their inventory is sold. This empowers them to set a reserve price below which the transaction cannot occur in the auction, thus maximising their yield.

RTB Implications

  • Better Monetized Inventory
  • Leveraging Location Data
  • Higher Control & Efficiency
  • Higher eCPM

Originally published at

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade