In July, the IAB Tech Lab finalized their OpenRTB SupplyChain specification and released it for industry adoption. The specification introduces a new extension object, called SupplyChain, to OpenRTB bid requests. The goal of the object is to surface all parties involved in the programmatic supply chain. In this post, we will explore what’s included in the object and how it increases transparency in the ad tech ecosystem.
What’s included in the SupplyChain object?
The SupplyChain object consists of a set of nodes representing the entities involved in the sale or resale of an impression. Each node includes the following required fields:
- asi: The domain name of the SSP or exchange facilitating the sale of the impression. For example, an impression sold using SpotX as the SSP would list spotx.tv.
- sid: The unique identifier associated with the seller or reseller account within the SSP or exchange listed in the asi field.
- hp: Indicates whether this node is involved in the flow of payment for the inventory. When set to 1, the advertising system in the asi field pays the seller in the sid field, who is responsible for paying the previous node in the chain. When set to 0, this node is not involved in the flow of payment for the inventory. For now, the IAB has indicated this field should always be set to 1. In future versions of the specification, the IAB plans to introduce non-payment handling nodes.
Additionally, the SupplyChain object itself can either be complete or incomplete. A complete SupplyChain object contains all nodes leading back to the source of the inventory, whereas an incomplete SupplyChain object does not.
How can buyers use the SupplyChain object?
To understand how buyers can use the SupplyChain object, let’s look at an example with three fictional entities: Publisher A, Reseller B, and Reseller C.
Publisher A sells an impression opportunity to Reseller B. Reseller B resells the opportunity to Reseller C. Reseller C then sells the opportunity, for a third and final time, to the end buyer. If the SupplyChain object is complete, the end buyer and their DSP will now be able to see all the parties involved in the sale of that impression opportunity.
Building on the example above, let’s pretend there’s a buyer who doesn’t want to do business with Reseller B. Prior to the SupplyChain object, the buyer could only see the entity who last touched the impression in the supply chain. In this case, Reseller C. Now with the SupplyChain object, the buyer has transparency into the complete supply chain and can decide not to buy the impression based on Reseller B’s involvement.
The SupplyChain object has many benefits for both buyers and sellers. It increases transparency, which should help convince buyers to move more of their advertising spend to programmatic. It also helps ensure buyers’ budgets reach legitimate sellers rather than being spread across illegitimate resellers.
SpotX, a strong supporter of the IAB and its transparency initiatives, has implemented the SupplyChain object in all outgoing bid requests. To learn more about the SupplyChain object and the IAB’s recommendations for industry-wide adoption check out the IAB SupplyChain object implementation guide.
This article was written by Jaycee Spies, product marketing intern at SpotX