Blog Guide Programmatic

Open Auctions


I know what you’re thinking. A digital advertising phrase that is not an acronym? What is going on? 

Calm down there cowboy. You can always trust the digital advertising community to come up with TLSs (three-letter acronyms). For Open Auctions, they’ve settled on RTB (Real-Time Bidding).

What are open auctions?

An open auction is a real-time bidding process that allows multiple publishers and advertisers to bid on ad inventory. 

What are the pros?

  • Cost-effective: these types of auctions are great if you’re looking for a large reach and have a relatively small budget to play with
  • Straightforward: easier and faster to set up compared to other media-buying methods 
  • Targeting: access to multiple powerful targeting options including third-party data
  • Optimisations: the advertisers can be creative with formats and optimisations to engage with the user
  • Reach: you can reach target audiences irrespective of the sites they are visiting 

What are the cons?

  • Non-premium: inventory us not as premium as other buying-methods
  • Ad fraud: chances of ad fraud can be greater compared to closed auctions
  • Brand safety: a chance to appear on sites you don’t want to associate with
  • Lack of transparency: no set price structures 

When to choose open auctions:

  • When you want access to a large range of inventory at lower rates and want to have the fluidity of easy access 
  • When access to third-party data and other targeting technologies would be beneficial to overlay on top of your open auction

When to avoid open auctions:

  • When you want access to more premium inventory (mastheads, roadblocks etc.) 
  • When the publisher is offering premium inventory along with premium targeting only accessible buy some form of programmatic media 

If you want to learn more about other types of programmatic media-buying, check out our blog post on PMPs (private marketplace deals).


Ready for advertising that really works? Take advantage of our FREE programmatic or paid social review.