OpenRTB protocol explained

The first thing to know is what Real Time Bidding (RTB) really is. RTB is primarily a way of transacting media that allows you to deliver a single native ads impression in real time.

This is achieved through an instant programmatic buying auction, which is the same as how the financial markets work, and RTB enables addressable advertising, which is the ability to show native ads to consumers directly based on their demographic, psychographic or behavioral attributes.

The Real-Time Bidding (RTB) Project, initially known as the OpenRTB Consortium, has brought together technology leaders from both the supply and demand sides since 2010 with the ultimate goal of creating a new selection of APIs for enterprises interested in an open protocol for automated trading of digital products across a variety of platforms, devices and advertising solutions.

So we know that RTB is a programmatic process through which Demand Side Platforms (DSP) and Server Side Platforms (SSP) buy and sell advertising inventory. In this way, DSP bid on ad space provided by ad exchanges or SSP, which are platforms that access multiple native ad exchanges and the winning ad is delivered to the highest bidder and loaded almost instantly on the user’s device.

Because the process happens so quickly, RTB makes bidding possible on a one-time impression basis based on anonymous data about each impression, and when a user comes across part of a page or app where an ad will serve, a request goes out of the SSP through an ad exchange. DSP are connected to the ad exchange that advertisers use to respond to these bid requests based on the perceived valuation of that inventory.

The value of that transaction is based on factors like where they appear on a page or app and the target demographic advertisers want to reach and the ad space auctioned off, so only then will it go to the advertiser with the highest bid, and the ad will be served in a matter of a few milliseconds.

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So what is OpenRTB?

The mission of the OpenRTB project is to drive further growth in the real-time bidding (RTB) market by providing open industry standards for communication between ad buyers and inventory sellers. There are several aspects to these standards, including but not limited to real-time bidding protocol, information taxonomies, offline configuration synchronization, and more.

These protocol standards have as their primary goal to simplify the connection between providers of publisher inventory and competitive buyers of that inventory. In other words, what is sought is to create a simple “language” for communication between buyers and sellers.

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Benefits of OpenRTB

Without a doubt, ad tech is a competitive industry. No one could expect a single platform to take over and offer a fully integrated system. And yet, with so many different tools available, from DSP, ad networks, and ad servers, there had to be a way to coordinate transactions in such a rapidly changing space.

This was the original goal for the OpenRTB project in the first place, and it’s still valid today. With a common language of standardized communication, platforms can rely more on scalability and their ability to integrate with a host of other players in the market.

More specifically, a universal protocol can help SSP and DSP platforms and ad exchanges achieve maintenance cost savings: SSP and DSP are not needed to support different integrations with multiple exchanges.

In addition, reduced time to market is guaranteed, that is, the ability to implement multiple integrations without additional development costs for each additional integration. Some customization may be required, but the core implementation will be the same thanks to a unified protocol. Makes it possible to switch platforms without substantial up-front integration costs: Flexibility in choosing a new partner/platform to work with.

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