AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo Up Premium Ad Buying Through Programmatic API

AOL, Microsoft and Yahoo want the industry to adopt programmatic premium ad buying, so the trio will create a common set of application programming interface (API) specifications that automates the ad-buying process for online advertisements.

The move aims to automate systems that make premium ad inventory more accessible, and frees up human resources to refocus efforts on building relationships and creative materials.

The API specs that will automate exchanges make premium ad offerings available via programmatic tech automation for the first time. The move, announced Tuesday, will ultimately allow media buyers and sellers to increase transactions.

The first phase of the project will focus on streamlining order and post-sale workflows, such as the selection of ad offerings, the creation of insertion orders, and the management of campaigns and creative ads. MediaMath -- which also launched an Open Portal program to educate marketers -- and isocket will join in the pilot.

In the future, Microsoft Senior Director of Display Marketplaces Daniel Sheinberg said the company will work with AOL, Yahoo and others to extend programmatic services into the media-planning processes.

Almost one-fifth of U.S. display advertising budgets will go through automated systems this year, according to eMarketer. The analyst firm estimates that real-time bidding budgets in 2013 will rise 74% to $3.34 billion, representing 19% of U.S. digital display advertising.

Seth Demsey, senior vice president, global advertising products and strategy at AOL Networks, notes in a post that the three companies will work to programmatically enable the more than 50% of inventory sold through manual processes. He also believes they will shift more TV budgets online.

Programmatic exchange-based trading will take 30% of total budgets by 2017, while rich media and long-form video will grow at 16% and 26%, respectively, according to a study from Forrester Research. Forrester analysts attribute the growth to a shift in audience-centric buying and increased availability and quality of video placements.

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