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IAB Tech Lab releases OpenDirect 2.0 and OpenData 1.0

13 Jan

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Tech Lab is out this week with two new specs: version 2.0 of its OpenDirect spec for automated guaranteed buying and selling of ads and the first OpenData spec for reporting campaign performance metrics.

OpenDirect offers standards for ad transactions directly between a publisher and an advertiser. While IAB’s OpenRTB provides the transactional protocol for real-time bidding, OpenDirect specifies the protocol for non-real-time guaranteed sales, with support for price negotiation processes and for new opportunities to buy inventory.

“This update to OpenDirect,” IAB Tech Lab Senior Vice President and General Manager Dennis Buchheim said in a statement, “will allow for more fluid movement of premium inventory, while greatly reducing the overhead involved when integrating with partners.”

Robyn Parker, CIO of ad tech firm Adslot and co-chair of the OpenDirect Working Group, described automated guaranteed sales as the “automation of the insertion order process,” where publisher and advertiser used to exchange emails or even paper.

One key feature of this newest version, he told me, is that it splits the tech standards (such as height, width, length, automatic playing of sound or pausing) from the commercial ones (such as how the ad is priced, whether it’s auction or fixed price). By splitting them apart into two tracks, he said, they can evolve at different rates, so that a technical update doesn’t need to affect how the ad is bought and sold.

Version 2.0 of OpenDirect also supports multiple publishers on one API, he said, and provides a new negotiation tool so that buyers and sellers can chat in real time. The previous OpenDirect spec only allowed machine-to-machine communication.

The OpenData 1.0 tech spec has standards for campaign analytics used by publishers, agencies and data management vendors. It provides a unified set of terms for field headings in reports, including Flight, Purchase Order, Strategy, Target, Rotation and Anonymized ID, as well as dimensions like ad tag, creative and placement and metrics like impressions and clicks.

Both OpenDirect 2.0 and OpenData 1.0 are open for public comment through mid-March.

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