Interview on RTB – basics that everyone should know



The time has come, and we are continuing our series of interviews with the members of the TwinRed team. This time we are talking to Mariia who is responsible for RTB integrations, so if you were ever wondering how does it work and what advantages and challenges Real-Time Bidding brings to an advertising network – you are in the right place at the right time!


Tell me what you are exactly responsible for? What does your remit encompass?


In TwinRed I am responsible for the RTB (Real Time Bidding) integrations. My responsibility is basically to buy and sell traffic via RTB and XML integrations and match the best traffic to the right demand, across most formats


For those who never heard about RTB, can you explain how that works basically?

As I have already mentioned, Real Time Bidding technology allows to buy and sell impressions in the form of an open auction. I have Advertisers (DSPs) integrated on one side and Publishers (SSPs) – on the other.
Publisher’s traffic converts into bidding requests that are sent to the TwinRed Ad exchange. These requests contain different types of data, such as geo location, browser, sometimes even demographic data. The TwinRed adexchange then passes these bidding requests to its advertisers. The Advertiser who bids the highest amount wins and their ads are instantly presented on a publisher’s  website.



There are XML and RTB protocols – what’s the difference between them?


The process of impression buying and selling is identical – Real Time Bidding. The difference is the format of a request/response : JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) VS its alternative XML (eXtensible Markup Language)


Which formats can be sold through RTB?


Currently via oRTB we are selling/buying popunders, pre-rolls, banners.
Push notifications and popunders are also available via XML.  We are also working on making available our native ad solution via RTB.


What kind of partners do you work via RTB? Are those only networks?


We keep the number of Networks limited collaborating only with trusted partners, whose traffic we tested and we know the quality.

Our RTB advertisers are both direct advertisers and networks, willing to buy high quality inventory for the best possible price.
We have a lot of demand connected already and are open to connect more but the focus is on quality advertising rather than connecting random partners.





Why would a network work with you and sell their inventory via your RTB solution? What are the advantages?


The advantage is the possibility to sell their Adult inventory for the best possible price since we have big advertisers in the platform that will be competing for the spots in the open RTB auction. We work with trusted partners and have strict compliance guidelines, so publisher’s can rest assured that not only they will get the best price for their traffic but also clean advertising


Can you describe the process of integration so everyone can understand it better?


Sometimes, our potential partners reach us via different channels. Sometimes, I am contacting the network we would like to be partners with.
In the beginning I ask our potential partners to fill in our integration questionnaire, where they provide the basic information of their network: technical information, their formats, their top geos, samples of the Adult inventory etc. I usually ask for the sample of request/response to evaluate whether we are technologically compatible: in 99% of cases we are.
Based on these responses we prioritise next integrations depending on our needs and technical compatibility.
When we start I usually create a test set-up, to check if the integration is properly working.
Also I check the level of discrepancy we have between the platforms. If everything is working properly we sign the IO and start working.
We test the feed with a limited QPS (query per second) for some time.If afterwards everyone is happy, which is 99% of the time, we scale.


Is discrepancy a big issue for you?


I would not say it is a big issue . But it is something we always should look into with partners, understand what causes it and find ways to minimise it. 


What discrepancies in % is appropriate to have?


I believe the industry standard is 10% and in the majority of cases we are below that so we are able to effectively scale with our partners with no risks.


We have extensive support from our technical team and we optimise all the integrations from the very beginning. We tend to take care of all the minor issues (filters, mismatches…) in order to keep the level of discrepancy as minimal as possible. 


What are the main obstacles and difficulties in the integration process?


I believe, aside from technology, we do not have any. We all work based on the standard oRTB protocol, however, each platform might have its own peculiarities and from time to time we can not process request/response correctly.
But our TwinRed developers can adjust the system. It can take some time but we already created several customised response types to be compatible with other platforms. 


Roughly speaking what % of your inventory is sold via RTB?


Currently around 20% of our revenues are coming from RTB advertisers. 

Revenue from the RTB Supply side represents an even bigger percentage.  


Do you see RTB differently in mainstream and adult?

I believe, yes, since with adult we should be much more cautious. We are putting more effort into checking the inventory and networks where the ads from our Adult advertisers are being exposed.  



Why do you need to be more cautious?


Any network working with RTB has to be more cautious as it’s harder to check the compliance of RTB partners since everything happens in real time. That’s why we have developed extensive procedures, from signing an IO with strict compliance clauses to using different compliance tools in order to minimise this risk


What do you need to pay special attention to with adult ad suppliers? 


Even before going into a business partnership with a DSP partner, we make sure that compliance rules have been exchanged and agreed on. We sign an IO which outlines our rules so each partner we connect is fully aware of our strict guidelines and knows the repercussions of non – compliance.


To keep our demand as clean as possible we use various tools to constantly check ads and immediately flag anything that does not comply with our advertising guidelines.

From the Publisher’s side – Our compliance team and I check the domains of the feed and block the inventory that is not compatible with our quality standards.
If the Network is not passing us domains, we monitor the performance of the inventory very carefully and keep only high quality sources. 

That is why we select partners for both sides wisely. 


Does that happen that someone might want to sell bot traffic via RTB?


Yes, this may happen in any industry. From time to time multiple networks may try to squeeze bot traffic into the feeds, but due to our system of internal checks and processes which evaluate traffic quality – we are able to spot this as soon as possible and stop working with such partners if such cases arise.


How do you fight that kind of fraud?


As I have mentioned before we choose only trusted partners and establish relationships with them based on trust, however,  we have several layers of checks in place from testing the traffic, compliance checks on the traffic, contracts in place and other tools which help us identify fraud immediately and stop working with such partners.


Thank you, Mariia!


Thank you, Roman, that was a pleasure to talk!

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