Illustration by Ollie Catton / The Current

What the Tech is OpenPath?

Illustration by Ollie Catton / The Current

How The Trade Desk helps build a more transparent and more efficient internet.

Programmatic advertising has made buying and selling digital ads significantly easier. The Trade Desk’s OpenPath initiative aims to make that process even more efficient by providing advertisers with direct access to premium publisher inventory.

But why is this important, and why have so many leading publishers, including The Washington Post, Condé Nast, and Reuters, rushed to embrace it?

What is OpenPath?
OpenPath allows advertisers to access premium publisher content directly, on The Trade Desk’s platform. As such, OpenPath makes the ad-buying process simpler and more transparent, and it’s a key component to the company’s larger commitment to fostering a more competitive digital media ecosystem.

Why is OpenPath appealing to advertisers?
Advertisers want to make every campaign dollar work as hard as possible. And they also want transparency into how their advertising dollar gets distributed across the ad tech ecosystem. How much of it, for example, ends up with the publisher? What value are they getting from other vendors in the supply chain? OpenPath creates a direct connection for them with premium inventory, and then the advertiser can decide which additional value-add services it wants to apply, such as yield management from a supply-side platform (SSP).

How does OpenPath make the market for digital advertising more competitive?
Advertisers want to ensure that they are competing on a level playing field for every advertising impression. OpenPath creates that direct transparency. At the same time, The Trade Desk will continue to prune supply paths that are opaque or inefficient. As part of the launch of OpenPath, The Trade Desk has turned off access to Google Open Bidding on its platform.

Why do publishers care?
Publishers are looking to maximize yield on their inventory of ad impressions. In pursuit of yield, they, too, want as transparent and competitive a marketplace as possible, and are equally as interested in the kind of supply-path optimization that OpenPath represents.

Why have so many media outlets jumped on board?
The field of journalism has been transformed by digitization. Ads that were once sold in printed copies are now sold digitally. Journalistic publishers are keenly aware of how necessary maintaining advertising value is to funding their important work. They understand that value exchange, which is why they have been so enthusiastic about OpenPath.


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By John McDermott