In an effort to shed light on this relatively new concept, here are five things you need to know about Header Bidding.

1. What is Header Bidding?

Header Bidding
The more people bidding on and competing for an item, the higher the price the item will sell for. Why wouldn’t publishers want this for their ad inventory?

Header bidding, also known as advance bidding or pre-bidding, is an advanced programmatic technique wherein publishers offer inventory to multiple ad exchanges simultaneously before making calls to their ad servers. The idea is that by letting multiple demand sources bid on the same inventory at the same time, publishers increase their yield and make more money. Header bidding is a much cleaner and better tech integration between revenue partners, ad tech companies and publishers compared to what’s going on currently.

2. How does Header Bidding work?

Header Bidding is a type of inventory bid management that allows publishers to offer first look and bid opportunity to multiple programmatic partners that is then carried through to the publishers ad server. The set up is powered by a demand partner’s javascript tag that is placed on a publisher’s page (usually in the header) which requests bids from the partner before the adserver is called. This is sometimes referred to as header tag integrations or tagless integrations. The demand partner passes their bid value (through a key value pair) into the ad tag(s) that call the adserver. A campaign with line items in the publisher’s adserver are pre-set to target to those parameters. If the demand partner’s campaign wins above all other opportunity, the partner is called to serve the ad at the price they bid to pay.

3. What is the key benefit?

At its root, the key benefit is Header Bidding’s core concept — it enables publishers to increase bidding competition on a per-impression basis, which can drive up the price and increase overall advertising revenue. By taking cross marketplace bids and placing them in the first auction/marketplace, all market places can compete to win the impression.

4. What’s the disadvantage?

Header Bidding
The biggest benefit that header bidding offers to publishers is greater yield. Adding just a single header bid source can increase yield by 10 percent.

At this early stage of Header Bidding integrations, it’s not plug and play. Since we’re talking about integrating multiple demand partners, the implementation has to be tailored to each specific partner. This type of custom coding isn’t easy, and there are no standards yet defined. Publishers who are early technology adopters shouldn’t shy away as effective functionality is achievable through proper setup. More importantly, there are concerns to address around data leakage (the browser exposes a lot about the user and the page to these buyers even if they don’t buy) and page latency. Setting up time out limits across partners so pages aren’t held up from rendering is super important to avoid hurting the user experience.

5. What do I need to set this up?

Header Bidding integrations usually require help from your development team to get the code added to pages as well as support from adops to set up the corresponding campaign line items in your adserver and let’s not forget a BD resource to set up the account and integration with the platforms that offer it.

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