Real time bidding is all the rage now in display advertising. It uses a demand and supply side platform to host an auction style bidding process. The winner of that auction gets the placement. The following is a more in-depth explanation of real time bidding.


The advertiser uses what is known as a “Demand Side Platform,” or “DSP” for short. You might call them traffic networks, but they are tools for purchasing ads online. The advertiser uses the DSP to check parameters for purchase, like cost per click or average rank based on your budget. That signals to the advertiser that a certain bid will achieve a certain rank.


After the bid is entered, the bidder takes over. This tool looks at available inventory and facilitates the purchase. Typically, platforms use an auction system to determine what banner advertising to show. This is where “real-time” comes into play. The bidding platform looks at all the bids for a placement, then ranks each bid according to several factors (cost being one of them). Then the ad is served if it achieves top rank.


The publisher is the blog or website that will provide the inventory. Publishers often use a supply side platform to help manage all of the potential ads that they can display. Supply side platforms manage the placement itself. With a supply side platform, the publisher can maximize profits and distribute page views evenly across advertisers.