Programmatic Upgrade: Why OpenRTB 2.3 is More than Just Native

By Melissa Gallo

Programmatic is the way business is done today. 2014 was a momentous year for programmatic advertising with a large amount of advertisers shifting their budgets into programmatic, as well as continued growth in mobile and video automation. According to eMarketer, automated advertising is expect to reach $20.41 billion, or 63.0% of US digital display ad spending by 2016. Programmatic-technology enabled automation and RTB-auction based internet ad buying are gaining market share, driving the need for universally adopted standards.

Even with the all the stats supporting the dramatic shift to automation, adoption of the latest version of OpenRTB, a common protocol that enables buy and sell side platforms to talk to each other, has been slow. Many DSPs are still only supporting OpenRTB 2.1, and are shying away from upgrading to OpenRTB 2.3 because they don’t have any immediate plans to break into the Native space. OpenRTB 2.3 isn’t just an industry shaping measure that provides a framework for Native to be transacted on programmatically – the latest version of OpenRTB also provides significant support in other areas of Real Time Bidding.

Upgrading to the latest model or software for our phones is a compulsion for many of us. We can’t wait to see what new features and improvements are being offered. It’s very unlikely for one to hesitate upgrading to the latest version of iOS because it has some features you may not have need of at this very moment in time. These upgrades provide more than just an increased feature set, they include bug fixes, improve battery life, and offer a wide variety of quality of life improvements. Yet when it comes to tech specifications, many companies make the mistake by waiting too long to update thinking it’s not relevant or valuable to them. You wouldn’t think twice about upgrading your phone, why would you stall on upgrading to the latest version of OpenRTB? Inventory that could be made available or made more valuable isn’t. Deals that could be made aren’t.

When it comes to open standards in programmatic, it’s important to think of the bigger picture. As Nitin Gupta, Director, Product Management at Millennial Media puts it, “OpenRTB 2.3 isn’t just about native, it includes native.” In addition to native, the latest version of OpenRTB provides:

  • Significant upgrades that improve the programmatic workflow buyers and sellers
  • An indicator for mobile optimized sites, helping to ensure the right creative is available
  • Support for signaling supported image dimensions/resolutions, allowing bidders to make smarter buying decisions

Bidders should upgrade to OpenRTB 2.3 to take advantage of all the features and clarity brought, in addition to the support for Native.

In fact, many SSPs are having to put extension options in place to support OpenRTB 2.1. Gupta explains, “Whether you are looking for parameters in 2.3 or extensions objects of 2.2, it requires the same amount of work from a development standpoint.” Regardless of whether or not a DSP has native aspirations in the immediate future, it’s important to note that all the additional fields that have been added in OpenRTB are optional. If you are interested in pixel ratio, you don’t have to go around looking for extensions and partners, it’s supported in OpenRTB 2.3. You can reap the benefits of 2.3 at the same short term cost as making 2.1 support features the marketplace demands – and be better positioned to adopt future iterations.

So if you already planned on upgrading your existing version of OpenRTB, take a note from your personal life. I encourage your product and engineering team to go that extra mile; skip OpenRTB 2.2 and upgrade to OpenRTB 2.3 – you’ll be surprised at all the improvements you didnt even know were there!

If you want to know more, please visit the Real Time Bidding Project on IAB’s website or email Melissa Gallo at melissa@iab.com.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Melissa Gallo
Senior Director, Product
melissa@iab.com
MgalloNyc