An October 2011 white paper from technology analysts IDC projects that real-time bidding (RTB) for digital advertising will greatly expand over the next few years. While RTB now makes up about 10 percent of total digital display ad sales in the U.S., it will account for more than a quarter (27 percent) by 2015. In dollar terms, RTB-based sales will climb from $1.06 billion this year to $5.07 billion in 2015.
For the most part, RTB will be used for so-called “indirect” display ad sales as an alternative to the ad-exchange trading model. IDC also believes it has the potential to trade ad inventory that publishers may now be selling directly via person-to-person sales.
In the report, IDC sees several possible implications. For publishers, “RTB creates a bigger, more liquid marketplace with more bidders and greater demand,” it notes. For ad agencies, using RTB provides access “to a vastly greater amount of inventory, which is also better targeted.”