BidSwitch Feature Aims To Open Up Native Supply

BidSwitch on Monday announced a feature for its API that will incorporate the OpenRTB2.3 standards, opening up new sources of native supply and, according to BidSwitch GM Bob Walczak, “[enabling] a much higher degree of innovation and efficiency in the native market.”

BidSwitch’s value proposition is its ability to integrate once and then connect with a wide pool of supply without straining engineering teams. “We’re a one-to-many connection, so say [when RTB2.4 comes out], [DSPs] do one upgrade with us … instead of having to reintegrate with every supplier,” he said.

BidSwitch’s pool of supply includes native-centric companies like TripleLift and AdsNative, as well as companies like PubMatic and Unruly.

BidSwitch’s efficient connections are particularly important since the demand side has been slow to integrate new native specs because of the hours required. Walczak said that it could take up to three or four weeks per integration, “So if [a DSP] deals with 30 direct connections [to SSPs], and they’re updated a couple times a year … that’s three, four, five engineers who are just dedicated to maintenance.”

With native establishing itself as a staple in many brands’ repertoire, laser-focused startups have seized the chance to be market players before more established companies.

Ari Lewine, a cofounder and CSO of TripleLift, said, “What’s exciting about the announcement in particular is that these DSPs have very long integration queues due to the proliferation of supply sources. A few years ago there were a few supply sources, and now there are literally hundreds.”

DSPs could still have the headache of updating native standards across scores of APIs, since in theory they would still need to integrate with any single native supplier they wanted to utilize, but Walczak doesn’t expect that to be an impediment for onboarding new partners. “If [DSPs] wanted to they could go around it, but what we find is they turn on native [through BidSwitch] and then use their engineering resources elsewhere,” he said.

This claim is partially substantiated by big exchange players. Ryan Christensen, SVP and GM at AppNexus, told AdExchanger that native is an area of interest with clients, but not the most pressing. He said AppNexus’ clients want features to support the areas where their budgets are moving, including larger ad formats and better video reporting.

But BidSwitch’s Walczak sees the company’s unique model as emblematic of how the exchange system is evolving. For instance, BidSwitch just channels bids to suppliers, who then host their own auctions. So as many influential competitors are working hard to convince marketers and publishers that they’re media agnostic, BidSwitch skirts the issue by not having brand, agency and publisher clients in the first place.

Lewine also noted that BidSwitch is uniquely qualified to open up new native markets. “I think it’s going to accelerate the adoption, and bring it to different markets due to who BidSwitch’s clients are and where they are globally,” he said. This is a reference to the fact that BidSwitch is owned by IPONWEB, an ad tech provider headquartered in London, with a development lab in Moscow and a heavily global client roster.

“Big ad buyers don’t have time to integrate with EMEA and emerging markets with fragmented supply,” said Walczak. “They can work with BidSwitch and it turns on new supply pockets they wouldn’t have access to.”

When discussing the barriers for any new ad tech service, Lewine notes: “This industry is a scale business and it requires ease.”

BidSwitch is relying on that ease. If it can provide reliable service to the majority of native supply, including global sources where it has unique access, the company can claim to be a better option for a DSP than expending resources on widespread integration.

Walczak emphasized that the new feature is a standard product add-on, not a macro-level strategy decision, but he still has high expectations for native programmatic and for BidSwitch’s potential to swipe nascent market share. “As things ramp in native buying, I think we’ll be a key indicator for the marketplace,” he said.