American Marketer


Predictive mobile real-time bidding: The killer app for Big Data

December 9, 2013

Anthony Iacovone is founder/CEO of AdTheorent



By Anthony Iacovone

Today in mobile advertising, we are riding a wind of change and it is called real-time bidding (RTB).

Because mobile is in real time, location-based, on-demand and quickly becoming the primary source of media consumption and content engagement, advertisers need the ability to bid on and serve ads on premium sites in real-time.

Contrary to industry misperception, RTB does not devalue inventory, bid on remnant inventory, compromise brand safety or hurt the relationship between advertisers and publishers.

But RTB alone is not enough. “Predictive RTB” is the key to moving forward in the mobile advertising economy.

What is the opportunity for RTB in mobile?

In today’s fast-paced mobile content and entertainment environment, where people are on-the-move, multitasking, watching programming and streaming media on their tablets while browsing or using applications on their phones, the mobile advertising opportunity is more urgent than any other medium.

Advertisers bid in milliseconds on the right to show the first ad immediately after a consumer engages with an app or Web site.

RTB is a powerful tool for delivering the right creative to the right audience at a precise moment. This means the ability to target and serve ads in real-time when people are at a point-of-purchase – walking by a store, browsing at a retailer or relaxing at the movies.

We know that in mobile, instant is king, and advertisers need to be present exactly where and when their consumer is.

In a real-time advertising environment – whether reaching out to hundreds of thousands or millions of consumers with a branding, entertainment or direct response campaign – advertisers and publishers must operate in a real-time environment to keep up with consumer behaviors, actions and demand.

Not only must we keep up, but we need to study actions taken in real-time. Analyzing these hundreds of thousands or millions of actions taken by consumers, and understanding which impressions are most likely to respond favorably to an advertisement, creates a powerful opportunity.

Such predictive attributes are what make RTB truly valuable to the mobile ad ecosystem, because, now, RTB is a killer app in Big Data.

Predictive RTB is what enables the mobile advertising ecosystem to reach, serve and understand the real-time mobile consumer. It is what turns an impression into an intelligent one and what makes RTB a game changer for mobile advertisers.

How does it work?

Did you know that predictive RTB can analyze 50,000 advertising impressions per second?

By enriching impressions with first-party and third-party data, predictive RTB enables advertisers to bid intelligently on mobile inventory on an impression-by-impression basis, within budget and targeting parameters.

Combine this with strong outcome analytics reporting and a Big Data analytics program and you have got predictive RTB.

When is a targeted on-time, on-budget campaign not a priority? RTB is the most efficient way to deliver this.

For advertisers, the result is more precise audience targeting, brand awareness, brand lift, brand favorability, higher click rates, post-click engagement and conversion – all at a lower cost.

For publishers, it is a more effective and profitable way to monetize the value of their unique audiences, making their inventory pool significantly more valuable.

AS THE DISCONNECT narrows and more agencies, brand advertisers and publishers understand what RTB can do for them, we will feel that wind of change, with a shift towards mobile advertising 2.0: an optimized state of bidding and serving on the scale of digital advertising.

This mobile ad 2.0 environment is what the ecosystem is moving towards – as mobile content and media consumption races ahead of digital and TV at the speed of light.

Anthony Iacovone is founder/CEO of AdTheorent, New York. Reach him at