Extraordinary growth of RTB in Canada

Real Time Bidding is all the rage around the world and Canada is no different. eMarketer recently published a report on the explosive growth or RTB around the world quoting new data from Forrester, IDC and Accordant Media. While some agencies have been using RTB to some extent in the last year or two, most are still grasping at the very concept of what this is, how it works and what it can really do for them. At the same time, publishers are worried this is just another way to commoditize their inventory, further driving down CPMs. Ad networks however are quick to catch on to the potential this represents to them and they are jumping in with both feet.

When comparing countries around the world in the growth of available ad inventory through RTB during Q1 of 2012 compared to the same time last year, Canada saw only slightly more growth (124%) than did the US (113%). However RTB seems to already be fairly mainstream as 47% of all display ad impressions are delivered through RTB while in Canada RTB only accounts for 4% of the total display ad inventory.

When looking at other countries we notice that growth is quite stronger in Europe with growth rates between 127% in Germany and 404% in France – yet RTB’s share of total ad inventory remains low : between 1 and 5% with the exception of the UK (+213%) where it accounts for 7%  – the 2nd largest share after the US.

It’s clear the US has a tremendous head start in this game and most other counties are playing catch-up. What I’m wondering is how long will it take for us (Canada in my case) to catch up: one, two or three years?

The growth isn’t limited to online display advertising but extends to online video, mobile and tablet advertising. Video advertising spend through RTB in the US is expected to double (+103%) in 2012 and grow another 72% in 2013. Mobile RTB ad volume saw 289% growth in Q1 of 2012 vs Q4 of 2011 and tablet RTB grew by 472% during that same period.

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