Real-time bidding and programmatic media buying are becoming more accepted every day.

While opaque transactions and processes have, in the past, slowed mass adoption, that’s all changing. Ultimately, these two related processes are just too cost-effective for advertisers to ignore.

In 2015, we’ll see both of these practices become more mainstream.

And the industry that will be impacted the most by real-time bidding and programmatic buying is also the fastest-growing: mobile video advertising.

But there is a hurdle that needs to be jumped in order for that to happen.

Overcoming Obstacles to Programmatic Acceptance

Though mobile-first is the mantra for both marketing and interface design, real-time bidding has been slowed for a couple reasons. In addition to the opacity of programmatic buying processes, mentioned above, ineffective mobile tracking has been a big obstacle.

Lacking web browser cookies, advertisers have resorted to a number of mobile tracking methods. Often, they combine data from a variety of sources, from app behavior to email. These tracking methods aren’t perfect, but they are often better than last-click attribution.

Though mobile and omnichannel tracking still has a ways to go, it will continue to improve. These developments will help overcome the mobile targeting dilemma, which will in turn improve real-time bidding for mobile devices.

Video and Real-Time Bidding in 2015

Don’t be surprised if programmatic video buying – primarily on mobile, of course – finally come into their own.

There are a few major trends that will drive this trend:

Consumers demand video above all other media formats.

YouTube is popular for a reason. People demand it. Now, in fact, demand for video is greater than supply.

According to Cisco, by 2018, nearly a million minutes of video will cross the network every second.

As a result, more companies are pouring more money into programming.

So we’ll continue to see major tech companies – from Yahoo to Amazon to Netflix and Google – investing large lump sums into video content. In recent years, we’ve seen these tech companies invest in their own original programming.

And on the other side of the coin, we’ll see more user-generated video content.

More worldwide video means that video ads, real-time video bidding, and programmatic video advertising will also grow.

This demand will continue to increase and we’ll see more and more companies entering the mix. Production cost will be driven down.

And real-time bidding and programmatic buying will make video buying more affordable at scale.

Other Trends To Expect

Here are a few ways that programmatic and real-time bidding trends will shape the advertising industry this year:

Real-time bidding and programmatic buying will hit the mainstream.

The aforementioned obstacles to real-time bidding and programmatic buying – opaque transactions and ineffective mobile tracking – are beginning to erode.

Which means that more publishers and advertisers will begin to accept and adopt programmatic advertising.

All-in-one advertising platforms will become more mainstream.

Solutions such as GrowMobile, which offer self-serve real-time bidding and programmatic buying dashboards, will become more popular. These solutions entered the marketplace to solve a number of issues caused by the fragmented advertising ecosystem: inability to calculate advertising ROI, extreme administrative overhead, ineffective targeting, and so on.

These types of platforms put multiple ad exchanges and marketing resources under one hood, allowing advertisers to manage their campaigns effectively and efficiently. 

Programmatic platforms will become more efficient across channels and across segments.

The ongoing developments in advertising technology and targeting capabilities will continue to streamline omnichannel, personalized advertising campaigns. These data-driven consumer insights will provide feedback to the advertisers around the actual creatives and their audience segments.

New mobile platforms are taking advantage of cross-channel customer data – as well as developments in everything from machine learning to cognitive science – in order to provide the most effective, personalized advertising experiences possible…in real-time.

What to Expect in the Future

Real-time bidding will only continue to evolve. And, since it relies on user data to be successful, it will only evolve as quickly as the targeting data it uses.

Expect to see more big data-driven targeting and audience segmentation.

Recently, for instance, Twitter unveiled a new feature that allows advertisers to target campaigns towards more than 1,000 audiences, as defined by a couple of third-party big data companies.

In a blog post, Twitter explained that “you can now target Twitter ads to users who have shown powerful signs of intent.” Nestle’s Butterfinger, for example, was able to target users who frequently purchased peanut butter candy at retail stores.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook has already implemented this type of behavioral, big data-driven targeting. But the fact that Twitter is also experimenting with it suggests it will become an ongoing industry trend.

Third-party, big data companies may become major players in the personalized advertising of tomorrow.

Such behavioral data will undoubtedly penetrate the programmatic video market.

Demand-side platforms will keep evolving for the rest of the year. We should expect to see such data-driven targeting integrate with programmatic video, especially as major tech companies focus more and more on video.

This data will, of course, work with real-time bidding and programmatic solutions to give advertisers the most precise, ROI-driven results possible.


Mobile traffic drives mobile ad spend.

And as the obstacles to mobile targeting gradually crumble, we will begin to see programmatic, real-time bidding platforms become more ubiquitous and more effective. And we will see these platforms integrate more fully with mobile video, which is the media-of-choice for consumers around the world.