1The trend of media shopping for online display advertising through automated systems in real-time will be big in Asia just like anywhere else. Although, according to the Asia Pacific Growth Management (APGM), the current RTB penetration across the region is still only at 5% of total display, that number will inevitably edge up moving forward as markets here will develop along the same vein as other Western markets. Too big is the advantage of computers and algorithms in terms of cost and time efficiency in real-time advertising (RTA) compared to the previous manual sales.

In fact, in addition to the existing public marketplaces, the big digital marketers are currently establishing private marketplaces, where all can shop on equal terms, but not see the entire inventory available. There, you can represent different conditions for buyers better and retain full control over your inventory, in particular your premium inventory, and use the data within the marketplace to learn from it and develop your marketing strategy.
Advertisers should pursue a similar strategy for their own brand, as real-time advertising is a strategically important issue.

However, not everything related to RTA is a guaranteed success. In order to achieve its potential, real-time advertising market has still to overcome some challenges, like those listed in the following points, which I consider as the most important in 2015:

1) Dynamic creation: Not only the campaign booking, -handling, and –optimization is carried out in real-time, even for the strategy and creation of campaigns entirely new possibilities emerge. The challenge for creative people and their tools, the dynamic banner generators, consists in developing standard logics that not only head for the visual appearance, but also the contents of the banner. That way, advertising materials will be assembled in milliseconds in the future, even when handling huge selections of products - visually homogeneous from a set of individual modules and tailored to the user's profile. Without doubts that development will modify the job profile of the creatives in advertising fundamentally.

2) Cross-device targeting: The strong growth in mobile Internet usage poses a challenge for all those involved in the RTA market as well, because customer journey chains run more and more often across multiple channels and devices. In order to get a realistic picture of the advertising cause-effect relationships, advertisers and their agencies must increasingly invest in cross-device and cross-media tracking. Besides that, new technologies at the point-of-sales (POS), such as e.g. beacons, will lead in the future to the situation that even offline data will be integrated in the specific user journeys. Then, for example, even an online retargeting of a POS visitor can take place and users can appreciate much more appropriate banner advertising. In order to improve essentially the profile-oriented approach of the user, it is crucial to collect and evaluate data holistically as well as setting-up campaigns across channels concerning content.

3) Transparency and quality: Transparency is and will always be a key issue, particularly in the area of real-time bidding (RTB). This applies not only for the data management and storage (Where are the servers? What law is applicable to the provider? Who has access to the data? Can the own data be used by competitors for their targeting? etc.), but also for the business model of the supplier (What margin for which performance? Are technology fees and values of media declared separately? Is it billed transparently or by CPM package?). Even in terms of quality, real-time advertising still has to do some homework: The visibility of the advertising material, the quality of the offered inventory, a transparent delivery, and the protection of the brand are important criteria, which currently not always match in their entirety. Here, the individual providers and the market as a whole are required to establish control mechanisms.

4) CRM connection: The best CRM data are only useful to marketers when they are in a content and technology compatible form, which means that they can be linked to existing RTA systems and platforms relatively easy via an interface. On the one hand, making their first-party data available for digital campaigns is necessary for advertisers; on the other, the connection still poses a challenge to many companies from a conceptual and technological point of view. While the big - especially active - players in eCommerce are going to develop their own solutions, all others are advised to consult specialized service providers not to fall too much behind. By the way, an underestimated field for the use of CRM data are often newsletter. When using the CRM connection, newsletter content can on the one hand be dynamically tailored to the users (as with RTB) and on the other hand be "extended" via RTB, meaning the user sees the content in the form of banner advertising – for instance, specific offers or products -  parallel on the web.

5) Shakeout: The market volume in Asia for RTA will continue to grow dynamically, but there will be a clearing-up among service providers, since there are too many suppliers in the market whose performance and contribution business model is not clear or transparent enough. All those that cannot provide advertisers immediately perceptible, additional benefits, will run into problems in the long term. Besides, customers start to become familiar with the booking of display campaigns as well as search engine advertising, so that they are increasingly capable to work independently with so-called ‘self-managed DSPs”, the easy to use demand-side platforms.

It will be interesting to see how agencies will deal with the situation, which are incentivized to own the relationship with clients as much as possible to the extent that some are already developing, as said, their own DSPs. Anyway, RTB enabled by DSPs is here to stay since the advantages of being able to make real time decisions based on instantaneous data to target highly specific audiences simply cannot be ignored.

By Daniela La Marca