Real time bidding: new opportunities for mobile advertising

By February 12, 2013
hand holding a smartphone with images flying out of the screen

MoPub is the first startup to bring real time bidding to mobile publishers and advertisers. This should open new monetization opportunities for the mobile ad market.


Real time bidding has benefitted a growing spread of advertising channels - display ads, and more recently video have been enjoying a more efficient and cost effective way of ad purchasing for a little while now. Real time bidding allows advertisers to place a bid in real time on an add impression. In other words, when a users visits a website, the publishers sends a “bid request” to potential advertisers. The advertiser with the highest bid gets to place its ad on the page. A startup called MoPub, founded by a team who formerly worked at AdMob, is bringing real time bidding for the first time to mobile advertising. MoPub is an Ad “server and exchange” that helps mobile application publishers “manage their ad inventory” and optimize different sources of advertising – direct sold ads, ad networks, etc. It includes a RTB system called MoPub Marketplace.

Creating a competitive environment around mobile ads

When a publisher puts an add up for a bid, it also includes additional information about the visitor: it is a 35 years old woman, who does a lot of rock-climbing. As MoPub explains, this information is extremely valuable for advertisers, as it gives them precise insights about “the value of each impression.” This not only gives more incentive to advertisers who want to bid, but it can also encourage them to bid higher if they consider the ad impression as particularly relevant. RTB hence increases and dramatizes the competition between advertisers. In other words, this increased transparency lets publishers better monetize their audience, and maximize revenue.

RTB a growing trend in mobile advertising

The mobile advertising market is a growing one, and RTB is picking up. A recent MoPub report shows that winning auctions increased by 162% in Q3 of 2012. As MoPub puts it, more ad impressions are being won through real-time bidding. While iOS ad impressions are the most in demand by advertisers, Android is catching up: Android’s eCPMs increased by 26 percent between July and September 2012. In terms of devices, iPads, Android tablets and Android phones were the ones that gained the most eCPMs, but overall, the iPhone remains the most popular device among advertisers.

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