Real-Time Bidding (RTB) Project

Real-time Bidding (RTB) is a way transacting media that allows an individual ad impression to be put up for bid in real-time. This is done through a programmatic on-the-spot auction, which is similar to how financial markets operate. RTB allows for Addressable Advertising; the ability to serve ads to consumers directly based on their demographic, psychographic, or behavioral attributes.

The Real-Time Bidding (RTB) Project, formerly known as the OpenRTB Consortium, assembled by technology leaders from both the Supply and Demand sides in November 2010 to develop a new API specification for companies interested in an open protocol for the automated trading of digital media across a broader range of platforms, devices, and advertising solutions. At the time Programmatic had only accounted for 4% of the display advertising market. By 2017, RTB is expected to account for 29% of the digital mix. *Source: eMarketer March 2013. This group continues to create open industry standards that ensure all parties, buy and sell side alike, can transact RTB at scale and build future industry innovation.

API Specification Versions:

OpenRTB 2.3.1, released June 2015

OpenRTB 2.3.1 provides an update to the specification addressing two typos:

•  Section 3.2.13 - In the user object, the buyer ID attribute has been corrected to “buyeruid."

Section 4.4 - The ${AUCTION_BID_ID} macro has been corrected to be substituted with the “BidResponse.bidid” attribute.

OpenRTB 2.3, released January 2015

The OpenRTB 2.3 specification provides support for native ads. This is one of the most significant updates to OpenRTB as it allows for native ads to be targeted, optimized, and transacted on programmatically, reducing workload on publishers and advertisers alike. Release highlights include:

•    Native ad placements must be included directly into the impression object in order to be passed through the bidstream.
•    Allows for the inclusion of metadata (title, urls, data, img files) in the native request. The buy side now has the ability to describe the unit that’s being bid on and the supply side is able to define which fields are available and required in order to assemble the native ad.
•    Updates to the style of the document including improved diagrams and revamped table format to support the continued commitment to OpenRTB.

OpenRTB 2.2, released April 2014

OpenRTB 2.2 provided for improved PMP and non-intentional traffic support. With bot traffic becoming an increasing concern to both the buy and sell sides, OpenRTB 2.2 allows for all parties to be able to provide real-time feedback on ads to determine and block non-human traffic. Release highlights include:

•    Support to the allow for the differentiation of secure and nonsecure inventory.
•    Exhaustive Deal ID support for Private Marketplaces
•    Improved backing for new types of mobile and video inventory
•    Ability for buyers to alert sellers in real time about suspected bot traffic
•    COPPA regulation support

OpenRTB 2.1, released October 2012

OpenRTB 2.1 provided for improved VAST video, tablet and location targeting support. Release highlights include:

•    IAB Tier-2 category support
•    Recognition of tablet inventory
•    VAST video across RTB;  the video object must represent an impression as either banner, video or both
•    Location source support; differentiation of GPS derived and zip code value targeting

OpenRTB 2.0, released January 2012

OpenRTB 2.0 provided unified support for display, mobile, and video capabilities. This was a significant step forward for programmatic as allows for the harmonization of mobile and desktop advertising. Release highlights include:

•    VAST ad unit support
•    Improved geographical data definition
•    Increased cross-channel support for mobile and desktop through a common API language.
•    Improved 3rd party data segment support for audience targeting
•    Enhanced attribution support; inclusion of device IDs in mobile & mobile app parameters

Extensions to OpenRTB:

OpenRTB Dynamic Native Ads API Specification Version 1, released February 2015

This spec describes the outer native object, which includes the ad unit (the 6 types of native ads defined by the IAB Native Advertising Playbook) and the layout.  While the Native Ads API is designed to be used with OpenRTB, it provides a set of fundamentals that are useful in non-RTB environments like in-app SDK object description.

About the IAB’s Advertising Technology Council:

The mission of the Advertising Technology Council is to develop and foster the adoption of technical guidelines and specifications that will reduce costs, open new marketplace opportunities, and ensure the long-term growth of the digital advertising industry.

For information, please contact Director of Technical Standards, Brendan Riordan-Butterworth.