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  • Writer's pictureAdvanced Contextual

Leveling the Programmatic Playing Field for the Future

Updated: Sep 22, 2021

Every brand and every publisher transact programmatically via private marketplaces, (PMP’s) and open exchanges. Brands naturally aspire to lock up the most valued inventory and audiences for their business goals. Publishers, on the other hand, seek the revenue dependability that those types of deals deliver. Both want simple and leverageable workflows for open exchange activity that allow the lowest cost of execution.

We think it’s time to bring context to the open exchange. This should be executable at the page level and should leverage the IAB RTB spec as well. If this were to be activated, both the brand and publisher will benefit from making context part of the page level bid request. Right now, this cannot be done.

Here, we drill into this topic and lay out our vision of the future.

How We Solve for Contextual Now

Today, Context is accessed through either pre-bid segments or private marketplace deals. The traditional Private Marketplace (PMP) is one flavor of the latter, while the Curated Marketplace (CMP) is an alternate piece of the pie that’s been created for a cookieless and data-differentiated world.

Within each, it’s easy for publishers to specify site and section-level classifications. We know that the highest fidelity of relevant contextual attributes (topics, entities, sentiment, keywords, etc.) exist at the page-level. No one has yet to take the hill of making page-level contextual targeting ubiquitous - programmatically - in the OpenRTB Bid Request specification.

Why has no one answered this challenge? We think there are two reasons for this - both of which can be solved for today:

  1. Publishers are simply not set up to classify content programmatically. We built this type of engine and it’s a lot of work that’s likely not endemically intuitive to publishing companies.

  2. No company in the ecosystem has stepped up to programmatically populate the page level field in the context widget in the RTB spec. The company that takes this on has to be able to deliver programmatic speed and handle different topic or KW models to enable custom segments when IAB 2.2 Content Taxonomy categories won’t do.

How Context Should be Leveraged

Keeping in mind the goal of enabling a similar 50/50 split of usage (as it is now via Cookies), there are a few simple steps to make this happen.

Here’s why this is simple (although not easy): Within the OpenRTB Bid Request Spec sits the Site object. The Site object contains three fields that represent the domain, the section and the page category. Publishers can invariably get the domain and section accurate since that can be executed manually. But, the page field remains the outlier here. There are simply too many pages to categorize manually.

We see two steps which need to occur in order to allow buyers and sellers to leverage either open or private deals to leverage context;

  1. Develop the ability to programmatically address the page level field. Advanced Contextual is able to remove this step- this is pretty straightforward to us. The approach is simply to have an engine plugged in pre-bid that can listen to pages and enable addressability - likely in partnership with one or more SSPs.

  2. Leverage multiple contextual signals so the buyer and seller can customize. We are finding that there are some accounts whose targeting needs to fit neatly into the IAB Content Taxonomy 2.2, and there are others who do not. The engine which supplies IAB-standardized categories must also support alternate topic models to enable injecting custom topics into the bid request.

Why bother, you might ask? It’s simple. The walled gardens will support any workflow that takes money from the open web. We believe we are only glancingly competing against other open web companies. Who we are mainly competing against are the walled gardens. We cannot afford to go into that battle with inferior weaponry. We endeavor to fully arm ourselves against the guys who have all of the money so we can all stop beating each other over the head thinking we’re competing against Google, et al.

The technology and even the workflow exist in a spec that drives the industry. Why leave the most important piece going forward out of the equation?

As an ad buyer/seller, are you wondering how you can leverage open exchange activity to utilize context? Read Advanced Contextual’s thought leadership piece for more details here.

Contact Advanced Contextual here:

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