Why real-time is not the be all and end all

Caspar Schlickum
Xavis, London

For many people in the industry, real-time bidding (RTB) heralds the start of a new era, an era in which buyers and sellers come together in a perfect marketplace and each ad impression is assigned a value based on the needs of both sides at the time that impression is served; a utopian world where agencies are marginalised or redundant, and technology does all the grunt work.

This steady march into automation seems irrefutable, at first glance. Non-storable assets (of which digital impressions is one) are best valued on a real-time auction basis. Electricity has worked like this for years. In the middle of the night, when demand is low, electricity is virtually free. But you cannot store it, so of course the price of electricity during the day is very high as demand increases.

Electricity prices are therefore determined on a real-time basis by the coming together of demand and supply resulting in the price being set at exactly the right level given the prevailing needs of buyers and sellers.