IAB Tech Lab Releases OpenRTB 2.6 For Public Comment

OpenRTB 2.6 Provides Incremental Improvements to Support Pod Bidding For Connected TV

IAB Tech Lab, the digital advertising technical standard-setting body, announced the release of OpenRTB 2.6 for public comment for a 60-day period until February 7, 2022. OpenRTB is the communication protocol that enables real-time buying and selling of digital ad inventory.

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The flagship feature of OpenRTB 2.6 is that it enables seamless buying of Connected TV (CTV) inventory by introducing structured, dynamic, and hybrid ad pods. Ad pods simultaneously bring structure and flexibility to ad breaks within CTV content, enabling advertisers to place multiple ad requests in one bid request. Structured pods have a fixed number of ads, all with specified lengths, whereas dynamic pods have a fixed duration for the ad break; however, there is flexibility in the number of ad slots and their length. Hybrid pods combine features of both structured and dynamic pods. The addition of ad pods in CTV brings ad buying in line with the way traditional TV advertising is bought and sold, with the added benefit of flexibility enabled by digital real-time ad bidding.

The improved flexibility offered by ad pods allows media companies to better monetize their CTV commercial breaks by providing a more comprehensive range of monetizable CTV inventory to which advertisers are accustomed in traditional TV. This will drive higher fill rates within each pod.

“As more and more CTV is bought and sold programmatically, it is critical that the industry is able to use a standard, yet flexible protocol,” said Shailley Singh, Senior Vice President, Product, IAB Tech Lab. “IAB Tech Lab listened to our members and developed OpenRTB 2.6 to meet this industry need.”

“This is a huge leap forward in how the industry will monetize CTV ad breaks,” said James Wilhite, Director of Product, Publica. “The IAB Tech Lab has partnered with publishers, demand partners, and technology providers to develop a clear solution for podded requests within OpenRTB 2.6.”

The additional benefits of OpenRTB 2.6 for programmatic buying are:

  • The enablement of faster and more frequent changes in lists and enumerations included in OpenRTB through the use of AdCOM. Earlier versions of OpenRTB required a full upgrade of version to facilitate changes, the use of AdCOM means that lists can be updated and implemented independently
  • Improved support for contextual buying and selling by making it easier to signal the various taxonomies from IAB Tech Lab in the bid request
  • Introduction of Network and Channel objects to support CTV inventory description

“This is a step forward for the industry,” said Singh. “We have seen a number of OpenRTB 3.0/AdCOM features being hacked into older 2.x versions of OpenRTB, which ultimately leads to fragmentation. OpenRTB 2.6 provides intuitive features from 2.x to 3.0 that the industry has identified as very important and enables faster speed to market for urgent industry needs.”

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