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OpenX Aims To Make Guaranteed Buys Truly Programmatic With RTG
A new Real-Time Guaranteed marketplace promises to give publishers guaranteed revenue while delivering buyers access to audience targets on premium inventory.
With programmatic becoming the dominant way digital ads are bought and sold, OpenX is launching a solution aimed at automating guaranteed buys, which are still largely conducted manually, in a way that will leave both buyers and sellers satisfied.
OpenX unveiled Real-Time Guaranteed (RTG) on Tuesday in what it is calling the industry’s first programmatic marketplace for direct, guaranteed deals.
“At a high level, RTG provides the best of two different worlds: guaranteed business terms and spend that come from manual buys or automated guaranteed, and the automation offered by private marketplaces,” said Paul Sternhell, GM, Ad Server & Programmatic Direct, by phone on Monday. Sternhell argues that publishers haven’t been able to see the benefits from either angle. “RTG is a truly programmatic way for buyers to spend and target their audiences and provides publishers with a way to lock in inventory sales in advance.”
Private marketplaces have become increasingly popular ways to facilitate premium advertising sales between advertisers and publishers in an automated fashion. “There is frustration with private marketplaces,” however, says Sternhell, “because publishers don’t get spend and revenue commitments with the current models. Many private marketplace deals don’t scale once the buyer’s targeting gets layered on.”
With RTG, publishers will be able to secure guaranteed volume commitments. Advertisers, meanwhile, will also be able to set flexible spending commitments with publishers beyond a specific floor and execute campaigns via a DSP (demand-side platform).
A bit more on how it works: Buyers can sync their audiences and run a forecast on a specific publisher or all publishers on the open exchange and return results on the number of impressions available. The buyer then deals with the publishers through its DSP, agreeing on the impression threshold and price. There is also a flexible guarantee option, which “strikes [a] line down the middle,” says Sternhell. For example, a publisher can agree to send 10 million impressions to the DSP, but the buyer is only obligated to buy seven million of them. Flexible guarantees then allow buyers to meet their frequency cap goals and not show too many ads to the same people, while still giving publishers a fixed buy.
Sternhell expects most RTG connections to be handled through header bidding (unless they use OpenX’s own ad server), allowing publishers to prioritize RTG inventory in their ad servers as they would a direct buy, while also allowing buyers to pass their audience targeting data. The connection can also come via a DSP through OpenRTB or a proprietary trading desk, in which case the deal will look similar to a private marketplace deal with Deal ID support. Either way, the same audience syncing for buyers and pricing guarantees for publishers applies.
As far as creative controls, publishers will have access to the tools already available from OpenX, for example, the ability to rule out autoplay video or advertising from specific categories. And RTG is running through OpenX’s current infrastructure, so it can accommodate all common ad formats now.
RTG doesn’t support home page takeovers and other specialty units at this time “but will probably do so later this year,” says Sternhell. “We are rolling out support for rich media in the open exchange and adding video later this year. We also now have support for mobile apps. Given that RTG is going to be more focused on premium, it will likely accelerate support for these types of formats.”
OpenX has started recruiting publishers and buyers to participate in the RTG beta and plans to add more functionality through the year. The goal is to have a full-systems go by the end of 2016 or early 2017.