OpenX Programmatic Advertising Blog

Combating Fraud: A View from the Front Lines

Part 1: The Impact of Fraud

Ad fraud is expected to cost the advertising industry more than $7 billion this year alone and the issue stands to undermine the growth of programmatic if it continues unchecked. In order to eliminate ad fraud, exchanges, demand-side platforms, publishers, brands and agencies need to work together to create a high-quality advertising ecosystem from end to end.

Companies across the industry, OpenX included, have been tackling fraud head on for the last couple of years, but industry bad actors evolve quickly due to the high rewards at stake. When industry leaders from all sides unite, we are better positioned to minimize the negative impact of fraud.

In the first part of this three part series on quality, our VP of marketplace quality John Murphy and director of traffic quality operations, Christopher Hallenback discuss the implications of ad fraud with Michael Tiffany, CEO and Founder at WhiteOps and David Hahn, EVP of Product and Strategy at Integral Ad Science.

Key Takeaways:

  • Without visibility on high quality and low quality inventory, buyers will bid on a blended average, undercompensating good inventory and over compensating bad inventory.
  • As an industry we need to prevent adverse selection and keep an open marketplace.
  • Players in the space who already are hitting the highest levels of quality, stand to win in the end.

In the next two parts of the series, we’ll discuss the root of ad fraud, where it’s most prevalent, and how players in the industry are taking steps to make viewability a problem of the past.

OpenX Buyer Forum: The ever evolving programmatic landscape


Ad tech is a forever changing industry – blink and you’ll miss the latest developments. OpenX’s first Buyer Forum on 25th October saw a group of industry leaders gather to pool their collective experience and review current programmatic trends – from header bidding to evolving the video marketplace.

Video made the advertising star

If one thing is certain, it’s that video advertising will continue to pave the way forward. OpenX put this to the group, and they agreed: 70% are now trading video. Supply constriction versus ramping demand was the primary theme – buyers are seeing lower levels of video quality as spending increases. It was hoped the supply of this format would rise in future to increase choice and drive down price, and that exchanges can pass clearer signals about formats while protecting brands from fraud.

The group further outlined the problem of measuring viewability, agreeing that brands see this as a key measurement of exposure to their target audiences. The experts concurred that advertisers are now looking for a minimum of 60%-70% viewability, and disclosed that they measure this using third party verification tools. However, almost all participants had found gaps in capabilities when reporting views on mobile and in-app – demonstrating the need for further refinement.

Another of the key issues raised was being able to use the right performance metrics. Click through rate was thought to tell a greater portion of the story than cost per view, but much of the panel prefer to use completion rate. It was agreed the plethora of available ad formats has led to a mixed bag of KPIs – and that alignment would help clarify which formats work best.

Heading towards header bidding

Moving on to header bidding, OpenX then asked the table, “What can SSPs do to help DSPs capitalise on programmatic’s growing access to inventory through header bidding?”

The industry leaders acknowledge header bidding helps them find valuable audiences, access a wider pool of inventory, and compete for premium placements, but some were confused by existing mechanics and needed guidance on how to create results. A common question was how to measure the performance of header bidding inventory against other types of access to programmatic inventory, and whether increased prices were offset by performance improvements. The audience agreed that a common signal in the bid request from all SSPs would allow them to measure performance and bid more intelligently.

Unsurprisingly, all attendees were hungry for insight to help them win auctions – especially the level of bid needed to be competitive. Price and win probability information were top of the list, and the experts spotted a gap in the market for a forecasting tool that made predictions using historical data.

In terms of selecting between SSPs, richness of data was found to be the main distinguishing factor. Signals in the bid request indicating competitive dynamics, and other forms of data enrichment were highly prized.

Shaping the roadmap

As ad tech catapults towards the future, it’s promising to see buyers forecast increased growth and efficiency. The roundtable generated creative solutions to some of the challenges the industry is facing, many of which will shape the OpenX roadmap in the coming months. Perhaps the biggest learning is that collaborative sessions like these will be the key to unlocking benefits for the whole industry moving forwards.

Would you like to attend the next OpenX Buyers Forum? Register your interest here.

Header Bidding for Apps: The Next Step in Mobile Monetisation


A recent study on smartphone use has confirmed what we already know – consumers spend the vast majority of their time on apps, not on mobile web. Marketers are beginning to realise the value of in-app advertising – not just to access large audiences, but also to effectively reach consumers with timely, relevant messages.

However, scaling in-app advertising can be problematic for publishers – often resulting in low fill rates and wasted impressions – so how can they reach optimal monetisation?

It’s time to abandon the waterfall and embrace the power of header bidding. This tool exposes each impression to maximum demand, ultimately boosting revenues, enhancing transparency, and reducing wasted opportunities.

In this article published by Mobile Marketing Magazine, Mike Nicholson, Director of Mobile Business Development, EMEA, at OpenX explains how publishers can benefit from in-app header bidding.

Happy reading!
The OpenX Team

The OpenX School of Programmatic: The Need for Speed


Latency in automated advertising is a critical issue for publishers. Slow loading ads result in slow loading pages which can lead today’s time and attention-scarce audiences to browse elsewhere, taking publisher revenue with them. With that in mind, the latest session of our School of Programmatic looked at the challenges publishers face in reducing latency and how these can be overcome.

First we took a look at the four elements that most impact load speed:

Page weight

Each element on a webpage adds weight, and the heavier a page the longer it takes to load. To keep pages streamlined and speedy publishers must looks at each element in turn – from third party tracking and analytics tools to dynamic ad units – to determine whether their presence on the page justifies the additional load times.

Network latency

There are various factors that impact the speed of a publisher’s network. First there is distance, where services are hosted far from the user and data has a long way to travel. Second there is service quantity, where every service deployed to render content expands the network and increases transit time. Finally there is user connection, where connecting to certain devices – specifically mobile operator systems – slows down the process.

Auction process

A sequence of events must take place each time an impression is auctioned. In an exchange this sequence may include receipt of an ad request, application of quality filters, data enrichment, selection of buyers, and the auction itself, after which the result is recorded so the ad creative can be served. This already complex chain of events takes longer where data has to pass between technology vendors and buyers, so publishers should look for tech partners that can co-host with buyers.

Ad units

Complex creative and large ad units significantly increase page loading times. While publishers have little control over ad size and type once the auction process is underway, they can define clear criteria in advance that advertisers must meet. This includes understanding how advertisers are set up for content distribution, whether they will cache resources on the page, and what ad units they will use.

Here are six key takeaways for publishers looking to increase speed:

  1. Speed measurements vary greatly across the industry, so define what speed means to your business and optimise accordingly.
  2. Take a holistic view of speed, taking into account all of the above four elements and their impact on the user experience.
  3. Find an equilibrium between workload and performance, and identify elements that can be excluded to reduce latency.
  4. Look at speed optimisation as an ongoing process, rather than a one-time project, and keep up with the latest technological advances.
  5. Use an independent tool to analyse latency throughout entire websites, not just individual pages, to maintain load speeds across the whole user base.
  6. View maintaining load speeds as a continuous cycle of measuring, adjusting, testing, and repeating.

The session also included a presentation on header bidding from a speed engineer’s perspective, which outlined the complex procedure necessary for each and every demand partner. This illustrated the need for header bidding containers for multiple demand partners to speed up the process, which takes us neatly onto the following School of Programmatic session.

The next School of Programmatic lesson takes place on 18th October and explores the evolution of client & server-side container solutions. Sign up here to secure your place.

What the Industry is Talking About Post dmexco


With over 1,000 exhibitors in four halls, and 250 hours of content sessions across 15 stages, a bewildering diversity of topics were discussed over the two days of dmexco 2016. So what are the key themes we’re still talking about now the conference is over for another year?

Virtual reality is entering the marketing mix

With the industry forecast to grow to $70 billion by 2020, and the technology set to change the way we engage with content, it’s no wonder virtual reality (VR) was high on the agenda at dmexco. A new theme within dmexco’s World of Experience was dedicated to VR, allowing visitors to experience its multifaceted application areas themselves. This immersive channel is already entering the marketing mix and as VR advertising is adopted on a wider scale, programmatic delivery will make it possible to offer personalised creative based on a variety of data signals – including eye tracking.

Header bidding must evolve and grow

Header bidding was another much-discussed technology with a strong focus on how it needs to progress in the future. Alongside representatives from MailOnline, eBay Kleinanzeigen, and CafeMedia, Jason Fairchild, OpenX’s Co-founder and CRO, took part in our a panel on the future of header bidding. The discussion explored the necessity of standardisation across the industry as well as the potential expansion of header bidding into channels such as native, video, and mobile in-app. An overview of the header bidding panel can be found here

OpenX at dmexco 2016: header bidding panel

Video ads should be shorter

With Google using dmexco to launch its TrueView offering for action based ads, video advertising was always going to be a hot topic at the conference. Video ad lengths were a particular discussion point, with research from YuMe revealing the relative impact of different length ads – reinforcing the view that short ads can be effective. This theme will remain in the limelight as advertisers catch on to consumers’ reduced attention spans and realise they need to deliver ‘snackable’ video ads that are just long enough to deliver their message without being too heavy for the content they accompany, or the device on which they are served.

Walled gardens limit choice and visibility

OpenX took part in a panel discussion entitled, The Battle Field: Walled Garden versus Open Grounds?, where the audience was asked whether walled gardens are threatening the advertising industry. The majority of the audience (59%) responded that yes, walled gardens are limiting the overall visibility of the customer journey. This debate over walled gardens and open platforms will continue, with those opposed to walled gardens feeling they limit choice, grow to become monopolies, and prevent advertisers getting a true view of their customer – while those in favour of walled gardens claim they prioritise data protection and user privacy.

Marketplace quality is still a concern

Marketplace quality was an on-going discussion point at the conference, particularly regarding the impact of fraud. Scott Knoll from Integral Ad Science explained how fraud is following advertising budgets into mobile, and emphasised the necessity of using the latest tools to combat fraud – combining impression-by-impression analysis to uncover individual instances, with wider Big Data analysis to catch larger groups of fraudsters. With OpenX research showing perceived levels of fraud and viewability remain well above the levels marketers will tolerate, this discussion is likely to continue as far as next year’s dmexco conference and beyond.  

As Europe’s biggest digital marketing conference and exhibition dmexco is always a highlight of the year, providing endless industry talking points. Echoes of this year’s discussions will be heard across the industry throughout the coming months.

We would like to thank everyone who joined us at dmexco. If you have any questions please contact us. In the meantime, view our photo album to see the moments we captured from the event!

Best wishes,
The OpenX Team

Header Bidding: A dmexco-eye view

OpenX at dmexco 2016: header bidding panel

Header bidding was a hot topic at dmexco last week, and OpenX hosted a panel discussion about how the technology has evolved and what the future holds.

In addition to our own CRO and Co-Founder, Jason Fairchild, the panel, moderated by Alison Fennah, Executive Business Advisor at IAB Europe, consisted of Hannah Buitekant, General Manager, Programmatic, Mobile, Video, at MailOnline, Serhan Günes , Head of Advertising and Partnerships at eBay Kleinanzeigen, and Patrick McCann, Vice President, Data Science, at CafeMedia.

The Evolution of Header Bidding

The discussion started by taking a look at the impact header bidding has had for each panellist, with overall agreement that the technology has significantly opened up the demand landscape for publishers, increasing yields almost overnight. Buitekant reported a sustained increase in ad revenue month-on-month for MailOnline over a period of two years, while Günes  indicated an initial uplift of 20% for eBay Kleinanzeigen when it integrated with OpenX, with many additional opportunities to further grow its revenue stream.

The impact on buyers was also discussed, with Günes suggesting eBay Kleinanzeigen has seen more sophisticated buyers reacting to the opportunity to optimise their campaigns and understanding how best to leverage the technology. Buitekant reported MailOnline’s buyers appreciate the opportunity to see end-to-end where they can buy inventory, rather than this being dictated to them, allowing them to think more strategically and tailor their campaigns accordingly.  

Header Bidding Pitfalls

Despite the positive results gained through header bidding a number of pitfalls were identified with the technology in its current form, with a particular focus on potential latency issues caused by header bidder tags. McCann emphasised the importance of user experience and suggested header bidding wrappers as a method to avoid this being negatively impacted. McCann and Buitekant further discussed ensuring content calls occur before ad calls so the page content can load without waiting for the ad. The panel also discussed whether there is an optimum number of demand partners for header bidding to be effective, with eBay Kleinanzeigen currently using six, MailOnline using eight, and CafeMedia using 14.   

The Future of Header Bidding

An improvement in standards was identified as vital to increase the scalability of header bidding and continue its evolution. For instance publishers all have their own methods for measuring speed and this must be standardised across the industry. Jason pointed out that in the long term there’s no need to invent new criteria for header bidding, we can leverage the existing real-time bidding (RTB) standard.          

Various growth areas were identified for header bidding in the future. McCann reported CafeMedia has already had success with header bidding in native, and eBay Kleinanzeigen is currently looking to develop this format. Buitekant identified video and mobile in-app as crucial areas for expansion in header bidding, an opinion echoed by Guenes who stated 60% of eBay Kleinanzeigen’s traffic comes from apps so header bidding needs to evolve to work across all platforms.

When asked whether header bidding will be the only alternative to shape the market in the coming years or whether Google’s new solution will challenge this, the panel largely agreed there is a strong future for header bidding. McCann explained that while Google is reacting in an interesting way it is not yet providing a strong enough answer for publishers to walk away from header bidding.

Overall the panel saw a positive outlook for header bidding as it expands to encompass more channels and formats, but expressed the need for improved industry-wide standards to streamline and speed up the process.

If you have any questions about header bidding, or for anything else please contact us.

Best wishes, 
The OpenX Team























So long summer: spend moves to ‘education’ and ‘electronics’ during bank holiday weekend


So long summer...The August bank holiday is a time of endings and beginnings. As we pack up the BBQ and wave goodbye to the great British summer, we also dust off our woolly jumpers and start looking ahead to the new experiences autumn will bring.

But amid such transition, where do consumer interests lie — and how are brands’ advertising budgets adapting to the seasonal shift? To find out, we analysed spend across industries and website categories over the weekend itself, and compared it with investment four weeks prior. This uncovered some intriguing variations along the way.

Which categories and industries saw a notable increase?

The close of August means the end of the holidays and for many signifies the last chance to prepare for going back to school or university. It’s no surprise then that the ‘education’ category saw a 69% uplift in comparison to a month ago.’ Yet there was time for some leisure with the biggest share (81%) of budgets devoted to reaching ‘mobile websites and apps’, where advertisers hoped to reach consumers taking a break with their smart devices.

Industry investment also demonstrated a return to more practical areas, with 137% uplift in electronics, as consumers stock up on tech to pass darker days. A 55% increase in healthcare spend also suggests advertisers hoped to target those concerned about the oncoming cold and flu season. Accordingly, the most significant rise in spend was for airlines (92%), with many consumers now likely to be looking for somewhere to escape the winter blues as the summer draws to a close.

Which categories and industries saw a notable decrease?

Website categories including ‘fashion’ and ‘home and garden’ experienced a decrease of between 10-14%, as the bank holiday pivot-point moved consumer attention from summer chic and outdoor pursuits to staying cosy indoors.

Indeed, this change was powerfully illustrated in the 68% reduction in spend for the ‘family and parenting ’ category — the largest investment decrease and a clear sign that there will be fewer family days out now that children have returned to school.

Interestingly, on the industry side there was a sharp decrease in both entertainment, within culture and fine arts experiencing a 66% reduction. Meanwhile, the ‘consumer finance’ category fell by 89% – indicating that the August bank holiday might not be a weekend for splashing out on but a moment to savour the last of the sun and contemplate exciting new horizons. This may also explain why energy and news category spend were down by 33% and 34% respectively.

Of course, the August bank holiday means something different for every consumer but it seems the insights point to one conclusion: advertisers that want to make an impact must seek to help audiences say “so long” to summer and welcome autumn by focusing on the education, tech, travel and healthcare that will carry them through.


What to expect from OpenX at dmexco 2016

OpenX at dmexco 2016

Europe’s biggest digital marketing conference and exhibition – dmexco – will be landing in Cologne, Germany on the 14th September 2016. Attracting more than 50,000 visitors, over 500 international top speakers, and 250 hours of content sessions across 15 stages, the event is a must-attend for anyone working in the advertising, publishing, and marketing sectors.

The theme of dmexco, Digital is everything, not everything is Digital, explores how digital media has saturated our daily lives, and the endless opportunities this provides. The event will look towards the future, identifying the key trends and innovations that are set to dominate the landscape.

OpenX will be exhibiting at B059-C058, Hall 8, and we have a series of exciting and informative events planned.  

The first is a workshop titled, Header Bidding: Lessons Learnt and What’s Next.

Header bidding has transformed the digital advertising industry, with 70% of publishers now using the technique. The session will explore:

  • How header bidding has impacted publisher’s monetisation strategies
  • Best practices for achieving maximum yield
  • Managing multiple header tags through the use of containers
  • What’s next in header bidding as the technology is applied to mobile and video
  • The relationship with header bidding and Google’s Enhanced Dynamic Allocation

Join J
ason Fairchild, CRO and Co-Founder at OpenX, Qasim Saifee, SVP of Monetisation at OpenX, Hannah Buitekant, GM, Programmatic, Mobile, Video at MailOnline, Serhan Günes, Head of Advertising & Partnerships at eBay Kleinanzeigen, and Patrick McCann, Vice President, Data Science at CafeMedia for this exclusive workshop moderated by Alison Fennah, Executive Business Advisor at IAB Europe.

Date: Wednesday 14th September
Time: 11:00am – 11:45am
Location: Seminar 3 in Hall 5

Ahead of our workshop with MailOnline, eBay Kleinanzeigen and Cafe Media, watch our video on The Evolution of Header Bidding and the Rise of Containers.



Of course no dmexco is complete without a party. The OpenX Happy Hour will be held at our stand (B059-C058, Hall 8) on Wednesday 14th September at 5:00pm- 6.30pm. Expect delicious cocktails and canapés!

On the final day, OpenX is excited to be part of the panel discussion, The Battle Field: Walled Garden versus Open Grounds?, featuring Jason Fairchild, CRO and Co-Founder, OpenX, Andrew Bloom, SVP International Sales and Business Development, Sizmek, Paul Coffey, Director Platform Solutions EMEA, Google, and Benoit Cacheux, Global Head of Digital & Innovation, Zenith.

The panel will explore whether the grass is greener in a walled garden, or whether open grounds in the media landscape are the only way to allow innovation, and provide a balanced ecosystem with fair pricing.

Date: Thursday 15th September
Time: 1:40pm – 2:15pm
Location: The Debate Hall in Hall 6 

For more information, or if you are interested in attending any of our events, please visit our dmexco homepage. For anything else please email us

Remember to follow us on Twitter @OpenX and tune into our hashtag #OpenXatdmexco

See you there!

Best wishes,
The OpenX Team

What programmatic direct means for marketing strategies

Warc logo

In a recent article for Warc, Andrew Buckman, Managing Director UK at OpenX discussed how programmatic direct has become the industry’s answer for executing inventory based deals – filling the space between the traditional handshake and programmatic.

Programmatic direct offers greater control of digital advertising revenue, creating a significant level of appeal for sellers. City A.M, the latest OpenX publisher partner to adopt an entirely automated method of selling guaranteed ad space via programmatic technology, has already started to experience amazing results.

Buckman explores what programmatic direct means for marketersand their strategies, and how to fully realise its benefits.

Read the full article on Warc to learn about the benefits of programmatic direct, how it boosts publisher yield while increasing choice and transparency for buyers, why it matters for marketers and what’s next.

If you have any questions about programmatic direct, please contact us and a member of our team will be happy to help.

Happy reading!
The OpenX Team

What’s next for header bidding?

Andrew Buckman, EMEA MD, OpenX

In the last 12 months, header bidding has not only become a hot topic in the programmatic world but also one of the key issues of debate in the industry typically because publishers are being asked to make a choice between the header bidding technology and the Google alternative. More than 50% of large publishers are already using it which begs the question of what exactly should we expect for the future of header bidding?

Andrew Buckman, Managing Director, EMEA at OpenX wrote an article for The Drum recently and explains not only how the technology works and why it’s so important for both buyers and sellers, but also outlines what’s next for header bidding.

Read the full article on The Drum to understand the header bidding journey and discover what its future in the digital industry looks like.

if you have any questions about header bidding, or for anything else, please contact us and a member of our team will be happy to help you.

Happy reading!
The OpenX Team