Archive for November, 2014

IAB Unveils Standard API For ‘Programmatic Direct’ Trading

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

The following article appeared in MediaPost on November 3, 2014.  Read the original article here!

Just over one year ago, news broke that AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yieldex had agreed to come together to adopt  “programmatic direct” as their trading method of choice and worked to create a standard API — dubbed OpenDirect — for the programmatic trading of premium inventory.

This morning the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released the official API, OpenDirect 1.0, for public comment. MediaMath and Bionic Advertising Systems joined AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yieldex to develop the API specifications.

“Programmatic direct,” also sometimes called “programmatic premium,” is a hybrid trading method involving both direct sales tactics and automation.

The IAB’s OpenDirect 1.0 specifications can be read in full here. It’s over 100 pages long, so we can’t cover it all in this space. However, the IAB highlights two things that “should be noted,” so we will highlight them here:

“The API takes an advertiser first approach,” the document reads. “Both advertisers and agencies must sign up with the publisher and receive credentials. Advertisers may perform their own buys or provide consent to have an agency perform buys on their behalf; for an agency to perform buys on behalf of an advertiser, the advertiser must provide consent. The process of signing up and providing consent is publisher defined.”

In addition: “To book a line, the line must have a creative assigned to it. The creative may be the actual creative that the advertiser plans to run or a placeholder creative that is later replaced with the actual creative when it becomes available. However, the line will run with whichever creative is assigned to it (the actual creative or placeholder creative).”

The IAB contends the specifications will increase workflow efficiencies for publishers, give them greater control of packaging, pricing and delivery of inventory and give them a realizable way of automating reserved inventory.

For buyers, the IAB says the standard will provide access to biggerpools of unique users, increase efficiency by using just one APIintegration across multiple publishers and allow buyers to bookguaranteed delivery and access to media offerings that are notavailable on an exchange.

“This common set of API specifications sets the stage for direct programmatic ad sales and will allow buyers who want to access guaranteed inventory via automated processes avoid multiple, costly, custom integrations,” stated Scott Cunningham, VP of technology and ad operations at IAB.

OpenDirect released to public!

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

After more than a year of work, we finally released the OpenDirect standard to the public. Whew!

Here’s the official press release from the IAB, including the following money quote from yours truly: “We are excited to unveil the work we’ve been doing with AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo to further our collective mission to make it easier for all premium publishers to increase efficiency and grow revenue,” said Tom Shields, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Yieldex. “This standard will enable agencies to efficiently and easily buy premium inventory from some of the industry’s most desirable properties.”

They have a resource center at, which has the full spec and commentary.

Here’s a nice explainer article. And MediaPost covered it as well.

Now we just need to get everyone to implement it…