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The IAB Tech Lab Releases Updates To Three Programmatic Protocols

By Melissa Gallo

The IAB Tech Lab is thrilled to announce updates to three industry shaping programmatic protocols. Programmatic has been the buzz word in the advertising industry and U.S. programmatic digital display ad spending alone is expected to reach $20 billion this year, according to eMarketer. The development of standards allowing for interoperability and seamless technical integration will help grow this revenue.

OpenDirect 1.5

First released in early 2015, OpenDirect is the only open standard that supports automated guaranteed buying. OpenDirect 1.5 marks the first major update for the OpenDirect protocol. The protocol has gained steady traction globally, particularly in the European market. OpenDirect 1.5 main improvements include:

  • Increased currency rules–OpenDirect 1.5 supports multiple products per currency and allows the user to choose currency
  • Publisher Order Creation–Enables publishers to create orders on behalf of the advertiser/buyer
  • Change Request support–Allows for buyers to request changes to the order mid-flight
  • Optional Creative Assignment–Support for publishers to allow for orders to be finalized prior to the assigning of a creative

The IAB Tech Lab also created an OpenDirect FAQ to answer all your questions about OpenDirect.

OpenRTB 2.4

OpenRTB has proven to be the standard of reference both domestically and internationally when it comes to real time bidding. As with the introduction of Native in OpenRTB 2.3, the latest version of OpenRTB breaks new ground by introducing another brand new advertising medium to the protocol: digital audio. With the rise of audio platforms such as iHeartRadio, Pandora, and Spotify, standardizing digital audio within real time bidding was no small achievement. Other major advancements in OpenRTB 2.4 include:

  • Increased Location Features–Allows buyers to know which IP source was used to derive a given geo-location and when the latitude/longitude was last fetched using the device location service
  • Video Skippability Support–OpenRTB 2.4 supports skippable in-stream video advertisements
  • Introduction of Encryption–OpenRTB now recommends the support of both HTTP & HTTPS

Both video skippability and HTTPS encryption are in line with the IAB Tech Lab’s LEAN Ads Principles which focus on the importance of user experience.

The Dynamic Native Ads API 1.1

2015 was a huge year for native standards with the release of the OpenRTB Dynamic Native Ads API and the IAB Deep Dive on In-Feed Ad Units. The latest iteration of the Native Ads API further builds upon the work that was done last year.  Improvements in the Open RTB Dynamic Native Ads API 1.1 include:

  • Creative element standardization–Includes the creation of two new fields: Context (describes the type of content surrounding the ad on the page) & PlacementType (describes the format of the ad being purchased).
  • Articulation of native ads sequence–Provides further clarification for Demand-Side Platforms (DSPs) to bid for specific slots within the feed.

For more information on how to get involved in the development of programmatic technical standards, please contact


Melissa Gallo
Senior Director, Product