IAB Releases Native RTB Specifications

As native and programmatic converge, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) officially released OpenRTB 2.3 native ad specifications to spell out how marketers should buy and sell native ads in the programmatic marketplace, which could lead to a standardized way of trading native ads programmatically.

The IAB’s OpenRTB group created a subgroup focused on native ads in May 2014. The official guidelines and API specifications for native were released in February 2015.

The mission of the OpenRTB Native project is to spur standardization and greater growth in the real-time bidding (RTB) marketplace for native ads by providing open industry standards for communication between buyers of advertising and sellers of publisher inventory,” wrote the IAB.

The IAB gives bid request and response examples for numerous native ad formats, including content wall, app wall, news feed, chat list, carousel, content stream, grid adjoining the content and others.

The "programmatic native" market has already gained steam. For example, Taboola, which operates a programmatic native ad platform, recently raised $117 million with the intention of doubling down on automation, and Nativo added comScore CEO Serge Matta to its board of directors earlier this week.

By the end of 2014, Undertone noted that about 20% of marketers were using programmatic to buy native ads, a percentage that figures to rise.

The IAB highlights members from Rubicon Project, Nexage, PubMatic, AOL, Rocket Fuel, Google, OpenX, Criteo, Adelphic, Visible Measures, Twitter, InMobi and others for helping create the specifications.

The full specifications can be found here.

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