In February of 2017, the programmatic industry was shaken up in a way that caught many people off guard, but not the team at OpenX. Marc Pritchard, the CMO of P&G, the largest brand marketer in the world, publicly took a stand against the quality issues that were facing the programmatic industry.
“The days of giving digital a pass are over,” Pritchard said. “It’s time to grow up. It’s time for action.”
Pritchard called for transparency, and among other things, he called for any company that touches their digital media spend to be accredited by TAG (the Trustworthy Accountability Group).
Anticipation of these types of demands is why OpenX made the massive cuts in 2013 to improve the quality of the company’s marketplace. When the largest marketer in the world demands quality, everyone takes notice, so the bets made years ago began to pay off like never before.
An additional quality-focused initiative that launched in 2017 was ads.txt, the IAB’s solution for publishers to proactively identify who they are authorizing to sell their inventory. For companies like OpenX that were committed to quality, this was yet another opportunity to rise to the top and help push out lower quality players, and in audit done in October 2017, OpenX was the leading independent Ads.txt partner, and the second most listed company overall, trailing only Google.
The 2016 mobile growth continued into 2017 and as the company launched a new and advanced mobile SDK the business grew 39% year-over-year, including 89% in-app.
In many ways the recent growth in mobile is symbolic of the larger journey OpenX has taken over 10 years. When the business first launched, the Apple App Store did not yet exist, yet the company evolved with the times and is now mobile first.
The OpenX business has needed to evolve and in many ways reinvent itself every 24 to 36 months, and with new categories like OTT/CTV, audio and others on the horizon, it appears likely that this will remain the case. It’s been an exciting journey so far though, and as a company, we can’t wait to see what comes next.
The 2014 introduction of header bidding took OpenX to a new level of growth, and in 2015, this trend continued and in many ways even accelerated.