Since 2010, real-time bidding has tripled its share of display advertising, and in 2013, nearly one in five display dollars will go to real-time bidding. What does this mean for the world of online advertising? For starters, the market is growing faster, more competitive, and more innovative every day. It also means the success of the industry depends on a database’s ability to run high speed, real-time advertising analytics while simultaneously running transactions.
Real-Time Makes All the Difference in Advertising Analytics
More of advertising spend is shifting to real-time bidding on exchanges, demand side platforms, agency trading desks, and retargeting—meaning advertisers require real-time bidding tools that can process massive data sets and calculate bids against billions of impressions in real-time.
Advertisers also need to run reports in real-time to see how their algorithmic strategies are doing in order to potentially reallocate funds. Access to real-time analytics enables maximum use of data and optimal pricing.
Unfortunately, most analytics platforms are built on databases that are unable to keep up with transaction and analytic demand, and end up being the bottleneck to success. Legacy databases are unable to scale and accommodate more detailed and complicated analytics, thereby limiting the feature set and speed of innovation.
Challenges to Running Real-Time Advertising Analytics
The move toward real-time bidding and targeting presents several technical challenges for online advertisers.
First, the bid for an impression needs to be made in an extremely small window of about 100 milliseconds. And, within this small window, advertisers need to run increasingly complex analyses to ascertain the suitability and the right pricing for a bid followed by the selection of a customized ad.
Demand-side platforms (DSPs) also provide self-serve models for advertisers to run and manage their own campaigns. Key requirements for a successful interface are the ability to generate real-time performance reports, create successful strategies, and allocate funds toward them.
So if traditional legacy SQL databases aren’t up for these challenges—what can advertisers do?
Finding the Right Solution for Real-Time Advertising Analytics
The right database needs to fulfill the needs of a basic scalable primary database as well as have a strong analytics story. First, any scalable primary databases needs to provide:
- A scale-out architecture – As your data load increases, you must be able to simply drop in extra nodes to handle it. You shouldn’t have to change your application, and data and queries should auto-distribute.
- SQL and ACID – Since it’s your primary database, it should provide the guarantees to ensure data is safe and consistent.
- Fault tolerance – You need your data to be available despite node failures and geographic region outages.
And if you’re thinking ahead, you know you also need to run analytics in real-time, meaning your ideal database should provide:
- Multiversion concurrency control (MVCC) – MVCC ensures analytic queries and writes don’t interfere with each other. The analytic query reads a snapshot of the world as it came in, and the write queries can then write newer versions. The older versions are garbage that gets collected when it’s no longer needed.
- Massively parallel processing (MPP) – If you want performance that can scale, you need a database that can use multiple nodes and multiple cores on each node, in parallel, to accelerate your analytic queries.
Clustrix is the only database with all the features that online advertisers need to find success in the increasingly competitive online advertising world. Just look at how Clustrix helped Adscience, an online ad broker agency, leverage more historical data to select the right bid and increase revenue potential by five times.