In the field of app install campaigns and mobile app marketing we often hear about Media Buying, programmatic media buying and Real Time Bidding (RTB). These are terms that are often confused about, but they all mean different things. Especially regarding Real Time Bidding and programmatic media buying because the two terms are often used as if they were synonyms, interchangeably when in fact they are two different things.
Let’s go over what they are in more detail. First of all, we need to talk about Media Buying.
Media Buying is the process of buying advertising spaces (externally, on radio, TV, newspapers, online) in which to place advertising content.
The Media Buying process can be divided into 3 main steps.
1. The first, perhaps most important step of Media Buying, is the so-called research or pre-launch phase of advertising campaigns. This is the moment in which the media buyer identifies which targets to reach, traces a socio-demographic profile, and classifies them into clusters according to geographical origin, for example, or behavior and consumption habits.
2. An integral part of Media Buying is the planning of the advertising space to be purchased. It happens frequently that in an attempt to find the best solution for an optimal performance it is necessary to differentiate investments. Whoever is in charge of media buying, in close collaboration with whoever has drawn up the media plan, has the task of identifying where, how and when it is most appropriate to advertise.
3. The third and final phase of Media Buying concerns the collection of data on one’s own campaigns and the analysis of their effectiveness. Data and insights obtained, aggregated, and possibly processed through special machine learning algorithms, should help to better organize subsequent advertising investments, but also and above all to review the campaign in progress.
Programmatic Media Buying
And here we come to the second term that needs to be clarified.
Programmatic Media Buying or advertising is the automatic process of buying advertising spaces on sites & apps that uses data insights and machine learning algorithms in order to buy traffic and generate sales for a given online service. So, the difference between programmatic media buying and the traditional Media Buying is that traditional media buying is not automated but is usually a manual process made up of negotiations between the various parties involved.
There are 3 different types of Programmatic Media Buying: Real Time Bidding (RTB), Private Marketplace (PMP), Programmatic Direct.
Programmatic negotiations are conducted through automated platforms that use machine learning algorithms and interconnected technologies to create a trading ecosystem. Here, buyers (advertisers) and sellers (publishers) communicate in real time to gain the maximum mutual benefit, maximizing the effectiveness of media buying and increasing inventory value. Every single ad impression made available through Ad Exchanges is evaluated on the basis of the data collected on the user associated with it, before being assigned, to the advertiser with the highest bid, typically through a real-time auction mechanism (Real Time Bidding).
Real Time Bidding (RTB)
Real-time bidding is, therefore, a subcategory of programmatic media buying that is programmatic because the buying process happens through an automated bid. Real Time Bidding always involves an auction as opposed to private marketplace and programmatic direct.
The actors involved in an Real Time Bidding auction are:
- advertisers (app developers that want to advertise their app);
- publishers (app owners who sell advertising space in their app);
- DSPs a.k.a. Demand Side Platforms (a DSP is an operating system which lets advertisers buy digital advertising with a completely automated process and enables advertisers to buy optimized advertising space through the aid of machine learning algorithms);
- SSPs a.k.a. Supply Side Platforms (a SSP is a platform or software that holds publisher’s ad space information and manages a publisher’s ad impression inventory across multiple ad exchanges and allows publishers to sell various ad types).
The Real Time Bidding process, thanks to machine learning algorithms, takes just a few milliseconds and it is therefore nowadays very convenient when you have to run an app install campaign.
In RTB exchanges the payment method is the CPM (Cost per Mille).