Reflections on Real Time Bidding & Search Retargeting in 2012


Looking back, 2012 was a big year for both real-time bidding (RTB) as well as search retargeting. According to a recent report by eMarketer, RTB display ad spend was estimated to grow 98% in 2012 from 2011 levels. My guess is that many in our industry (me included) feel that estimate is low.

real time biddingAs 2012 wraps up, it is a good time to take stock of what we learned and also to make observations that can carry us into 2013. Here are some of my thoughts as I think back over 2012:

Real Time Bidding Is Safe For Brands

As I look back over’s 10 largest campaigns for 2012, I see that 9 of the 10 were for national brands. These high-volume campaigns delivered on sites that not only made it through’s proprietary brand safety screens, but also in many cases, the brand safety screens of third-party ad verification companies. The effective cost-per-click (eCPC) for these campaigns varied from $0.46 to $3.31.

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