Seller-Defined Audiences

Seller-defined audiences (SDA) is the IAB Tech Lab’s specification, developed to address some of the key potential challenges, emerged from the sale of publishers’ first-party data within the OpenRTB bidstream.

What are Seller-Defined Audiences?

In plain words, the SDA guidance by IAB Tech Lab is what enables to ensure the unified data taxonomy and verify quality of the first-party audience data, offered by publishers and/or trusted third-party data providers to advertisers in the programmatic supply chain.

Potential Benefits of SDA

In the light of the foreseen deprecation of third-party cookies, the introduction of the SDA specification can potentially help minimize relevant damages, helping advertisers to bid for publishers’ high-quality first-party data, at scale, in the somewhat open market and subsequently apply it for targeting purposes. 

From the publisher’s perspective, the newly-launched initiative should enable them to increase the value of their inventory and monetize their first-party data, offering their exclusive data insights directly for their Demand partners’ direct bidding, in a privacy-first environment, within the OpenRTB bidstream.

Challenges with SDA

Undoubtedly, the successful implementation of the SDA specification implies a unified effort of all stakeholders in the programmatic supply chain (publishers, data providers, third-party verification vendors, SSPs and DSPs), namely, in the following key aspects:

  • unified data taxonomy (achieved by following the IAB Tech Lab’s Content Taxonomy guidelines);
  • data quality verification (via integration);
  • SDA assembly in the bid request (in the three existing OpenRTB fields, via the Prebid “ortb2” object).

Perspectives of Adoption

Even though IAB Tech Lab first introduced its Seller-Defined Audience specification back in spring of 2021, the dynamics of its adoption by market players by Q4 2021 has been lagging, with the Sovrn-related news, being somewhat an exception, rather than the trend.

In view of this, the perspectives of SDA use across the programmatic advertising ecosystem will mostly depend on whether (and if yes, how fast) big businesses working in the niche will be eager to follow the lead and proceed with their adoption of SDA.

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