IAB Tech Lab OpenRTB Community Extension: Extended Content Identifiers

A Framework for Video Data Connectivity

The advertising ecosystem is going through a period of unprecedented growth and rapid innovation. With the decline in linear television viewing, the rise of connected TV (CTV) viewing, and the looming privacy regulations around user data, many in the industry are seeking alternative ways to reach consumers. While there are many initiatives across the industry to address these challenges, key among them is the ability to target ads that are aligned to the video content a consumer is watching.

There is a lot of discussion about contextual targeting today with many contextual intelligence companies aiming to analyze and segment video content on CTV and online video but there has been one underlying problem:

How do sellers and buyers know what video is playing next to the advertisement?

Step 1: Building a Foundation for Video-level Content Identification

This requires some sort of standard for identifying individual pieces of content, transmitting that in a bid request, and enabling lookup or classification of that piece of content’s metadata.

To answer this question, we created a persistent unique video identifier called the IRIS_ID.  Every video that is ingested into our platform is assigned an IRIS_ID. This content identifier is then passed into the bid stream on every ad opportunity so that it is possible for buyers and sellers to identify which video an advertisement is about to play adjacent to. The IRIS_ID can then be decoded by data partners to help understand what the video content actually is.

While the IRIS_ID has been available since earlier 2021 there remained one major issue for the ecosystem to solve which was:

How should the ecosystem pass a content identifier like the IRIS_ID between selling and buying platforms?

Step 2: Creating a Framework for Video Data Connectivity

Last week that question was answered with the release of a new IAB Tech Lab OpenRTB Community Extension called the Extended Content ID.  This community extension offers how the content ID information is to be conveyed in bid requests so that DSPs can request classifications from contextual vendors. Please click here to read the full explanation of the Extended Content ID.

“Extended Content ID is yet another step in enabling sellers and buyers to plan, target, verify and measure the type of video content an ad runs adjacent to on any screen,” said Ian Trider, VP of RTB platform operations at Basis Technologies and lead technical writer on Extended Content ID. “I believe this type of industry standardization is necessary to simplify the complex video advertising ecosystem for brands and publishers.”

"Magnite supports collaboration between SSPs, DSPs, identity groups, and content data providers, such as IRIS.TV, to find useful and open solution standards," said Gerry Swinton, VP Technical Operations, Magnite. "With the IAB Tech Lab’s release of the Extended Content ID Community Extension, we see the fruits of such labor -  promotion and support for a solution enabling vendors such as IRIS.TV to thrive in a community-consensus-driven framework."

“For the past 15+ years the industry has been centered around individual user attention metrics to drive how media is bought, sold, and measured with a variety of technologies providing solutions to the industry,” said Joe Hirsch, CEO Springserve. “As we all know many of these solutions utilize cookies, IP-addresses, device IDs, MAIDs, and other user-identifying solutions. While these tactics have proven extremely performant, as we evolve the need to access and share video-level contextual information at scale is becoming table stakes for our industry. This is a huge step forward.”

"It's been long overdue that the RTB bid stream supports a standard way to identify video content and we are excited to be a part of this important initiative as one of IRIS.TV's best-in-class contextual video partners. We've seen over the years the challenges and lack of transparency that emerge when there isn't a common foundation for everyone to operate off. The faster we can all start speaking the same language, the faster we can help advertisers connect with consumers in meaningful and effective ways in new emerging digital environments like CTV," says GumGum's CTO, Ken Weiner.

“The lion’s share of connected TV and video advertising is transacted through programmatic today, and as such, advertisers and traders are increasingly demanding more transparency into their media buys,” said Daniel Church, Head of Advanced TV Product at Beachfront. “The connectivity and standardization of video-level content information through initiatives like Extended Content Identifiers will make it much easier for the industry to use and transact on valuable metadata. Buyers gain greater transparency into the context in which their ads are delivered, while publishers are afforded new means for driving incremental revenue and inventory yield.” 

“At IRIS.TV, we’re working to make the data behind every video accessible and actionable to help great storytelling thrive and create better ad experiences for everyone,” C.J. Leonard, VP of Platform Operations, IRIS.TV. “The community extension shows what collaboration across the industry can do to enable new solutions at scale and we are thrilled to have assisted in making this happen.” 

For more information on the community extension visit the Github repo here.