OpenRTB 2.3 An Important Milestone for Open Programmatic Native Advertising

For a long while native advertising has been a major topic of discussion within the advertising market. All agree that native is rapidly maturing in terms of its market share and user acceptance. At this stage it is clear that the various players in the advertising ecosystem must embrace this relatively new form of advertising, or at least not disregard its existence. During the past year and a half this “approach” has become a “reality”. The IAB has established two main committees and groups to deal with native advertising. The Native Advertising Task force, comprised of over 100 members, has release the Native Advertising Playbook last year, creating the framework that defines the various native ad units and formats. In addition, the Native Ads Workgroup was formed to define the new version of the OpenRTB standard, OpenRTB 2.3, which includes the native ads. In this post we will examine the OpenRTB 2.3 standard and what it has in store for native advertising.

Native advertising’s unique challenges

OpenRTB was launched in late 2010 to spur greater growth in the real-time bidding (RTB) advertising marketplace by providing open industry standards for ad trading communication between buyers of advertising and sellers of publisher inventory. Originally designed for display ads, it has gradually evolved to include additional formats such as video, and now, native advertising. But unlike display advertising, which appears in the same format everywhere, by nature native advertising should retain the look and feel of the target publisher’s page. This means that each instance of the same ad will vary according to each publisher’s page format (e.g. size, headline color, length of text, image size etc..). This creates a unique challenge for the standard, which is otherwise ambivalent about design and formatting issues.

Separating format from structure

In order to deal with this challenge, OpenRTB 2.3 breaks down the ads into their components – the headline, content URL, description text, thumbnail image, etc. This “raw data” is transmitted and it’s up to the native advertising platform, which serves the ad at the publisher’s side (the SSP), to use these components in order to automatically render the ad according to the designated publisher’s look and feel. This means that at least at the supply side, there must be a native advertising system or technology that can take the raw data and automatically render these ads.

Ensuring the right mix of ads on a page

Another issue which was not addressed in the standard, but nevertheless important is how to ensure an appropriate mix of ads on a page. This is especially critical in a content recommendation widget, where two or more ads are displayed next to each other. Of course these ads cannot be repeated on a single page but even more subtle repetitions are undesirable. In this case it’s up to the native advertising platform that picks the ads (the Exchange) to understand the nature of the ads and ensure an appropriate mix of ads. As the OpenRTB protocol progresses, we think more information will be available about the ads that will assist in the creation of optimized ads mixes.

There is no doubt that OpenRTB 2.3 is an important milestone towards open programmatic native advertising. It is the foundation for an open eco-system in which market players can join forces and share their knowledge and developments, contributing to faster growth and rapid progress across the entire ecosystem.

The my6sense white-label native advertising platform currently supports OpenRTB 2.3 as well as other custom APIs, enabling ad networks and media companies to seamlessly create an open and programmatic business.


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5 Reasons Why Ad Networks Should Build Their Own Native Ads Network

# 1 – Native advertising is on a rise (and this is just the beginning)

Native advertising has become one of the fastest growing market segments in the advertising and content space. According to eMarketer, increased mobile use of these venues has fueled much of the growth, since native ads work best in the content streams that people tend to access on smartphones and tablets. In the US alone native ad spending is forecasted to reach $5 billion by 2017.

# 2 – Native advertising growth comes on the account of traditional display advertising

Although overall digital spending will most likely rise in the coming years, it is safe to say that the exceptional growth of native advertising will come on the account of traditional display advertising. In other words, larger portions of the display advertising budgets will be diverted to native advertising, creating a threat to players in the traditional ads market, and an opportunity to those who can embrace this change.

#3 – Fits well in the ad networks’ portfolio

Over the years ad networks have evolved to offer a wide variety of advertising formats. From the traditional banner ads, they have expanded their portfolios to include dozens of different ad types, such as floating ads, interstitial ads, and more. Today some networks have even expanded their portfolio to include video pre-roll ads. Native advertising can be regarded as yet another expansion of the existing portfolio, and sold as just another format or channel in an overall comprehensive ad campaign.

# 4 – Leveraging existing relationships

For ad networks adding native advertising does not mean changing their business. Essentially ad networks are a technological intermediary between advertisers and publishers. They are the link that connect a multitude of advertisers with a multitude of publishers to deliver the optimal results for both parties. Becoming a native adverting network or adding native advertising to their existing networks conforms with their existing position in the supply chain, forming a value added technological platform that connects a multitude of advertisers with a multitude of publishers. Unlike new network players that must build up the supply and the demand sides in order to provide value to both parties, ad networks can simply leverage their existing relationships to form a viable native advertising network.

# 5 – Time-to-market

If you were convinced by all of the above, you are probably saying “ok, but building a native advertising network takes a lot of time and requires a huge investment. By the time ad networks will actually provide this offering, it may be too little too late.” Well, you may be right, but luckily there is a solution. my6sense offers a fully-featured ready-to-deploy white label native advertising platform. This means that ad networks can almost immediately build their own native advertising network and expand their offerings to include native advertising. The programmatic native advertising platform supports both web and mobile and is based on a unique patented recommendation technology that combines content analysis with users’ preferences. So instead of just matching marketing content to the publisher’s content, my6sense focuses on each individual user, delivering the most relevant content and ads at any given moment.

To get a demo of my6sense white label platform – click here

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