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OpenDirect Delivers Simplicity Through Powerful Industry Standards




By Vasil Remeniuk

The traditional Insertion Order (IO) process has been exceedingly tedious, resulting in inordinate amounts of wasted time, back and forth, as well as efficiency issues with dropped orders and a lack of transparency. This has given way to Automated Guaranteed, which seeks to apply automation to accelerate the process while increasing transparency, capturing actionable data and enhancing overall transaction performance.

The IAB’s OpenDirect protocol is a powerful API designed to support Automated Guaranteed business models and marketplaces, which originally were introduced to automate and replace the traditional IO process and which now have far reaching applications. Moving forward we view OpenDirect as a foundational part for the evolution of a healthy eco-system. This is because the API not only enables key functionality for ad tech providers and existing integrated OpenDirect products, but also because it easily integrates into publisher’s existing in-house solutions providing new demand and monetization opportunities.

One Unifying Standard

We see OpenDirect not only as a standard for the automation of guaranteed campaigns, but overall as an ultimate automation standard that can be extended to programmatic as well. This is what we did in Adform, where we opted to use OpenDirect as the backbone for the automation of the order process in programmatic marketplaces.

As Automated Guaranteed and Automated IO processes have evolved, we’ve seen the natural fragmentation which is typical within this industry. The launch of OpenDirect as an industry collaboration sets out from an early point to help cut off the ballooning and costly financial and technical complexities by providing a great way to connect vendors across both supply and demand sides of the transaction. This is paving the way for OpenDirect to rapidly become the de facto standard within the next two years. Across the board everyone from agencies to advertisers and publishers, spanning all markets globally agree that OpenDirect and Automated Guaranteed are essential moving forward.

At Adform, we’ve built our Automated Guaranteed and Programmatic Guaranteed platforms using the OpenDirect API and this has given us the flexibility to create powerful offerings that communicate cleanly with other OpenDirect partners, regardless of if they’re just OpenDirect integrated or built from the ground up with OpenDirect compatibility in mind.

A New Industry Lexicon

As marketplace functionality is at the heart of Automated Guaranteed and like-kind products, having a highly functional API that allows both demand and supply side technologies and actors to communicate effectively is essential. We’ve found great success using OpenDirect as a universal approach for facilitating direct connections with publisher ad servers. As part of this process, we’ve built several proxies that ensure these ad servers connect to our AG marketplace in a uniform fashion. The added benefit of this is that we’ve in turn already created universal proxies for platforms such as DFP, Adtech, and Cxense.

We’ve seen significant interest from other major ad tech companies, some of which we’ve actively worked with and consulted with while teaming up to carry out end-to-end tests. These will further drive enhancements in future versions of the OpenDirect API while making the process of onboarding publishers and advertisers/agencies even more straight forward.

Moving forward we expect to see more mass-adoption and support for OpenDirect, which will pave the way to further applications of the API for other marketplace-driven spaces such as traditional print, DOOH (Digital Out Of Home), and radio which are all an excellent fit for this technology. These spaces (DOOH, Print, etc.) have long been overlooked and neglected, stuck with highly manual and low-tech offerings, due to logistical barriers which OpenDirect solves. This creates an exciting opportunity for new monetization options and allows for their re-examination as valuable programmatic outlets for vendors and buyers alike.

Looking Forward

OpenDirect’s blend of automation and manual human-driven relationship oriented communication delivers the ability for publishers and advertisers to choose between a self-served focused workflow, as is currently dominant in Automated Guaranteed, or more traditional collaborative processes where agencies deliver an RFP alongside a brief and then receive tailored publisher proposals in return.

Adform is very happy to be a strong advocate for OpenDirect and will continue to actively support other vendors and businesses eager to adopt fair and open industry standards. While excitement about OpenDirect is already significant, we’ll see that continue to grow over the next 18 months as a majority of publishers move to the standard. The impact and opportunity OpenDirect presents is significant and while existing proven implementations have far-reaching implications, we find the uncharted opportunities equally exciting. As a company dedicated to enhancing the flow of data, empowering creativity, and fostering open and transparent trading technologies, we look forward to taking an active role in exploring applications of OpenDirect and driving new ways to leverage its power for advertisers, agencies and publishers alike.


Vasil Remeniuk
Vasil Remeniuk is Product Manager, Automated Guaranteed for Adform. Vasil joined Adform with the task of brainstorming, launching, and driving our Automated Guaranteed solution. He and his team have been involved in Automated Guaranteed since day one. Before joining Adform he worked as Head of BI & CRM in the mobile publishing industry.