Header bidding has grown in popularity over the years and become one of the main ways publishers sell their ad inventory. But the world of header bidding is constantly changing, with new challenges and opportunities arising with every passing year.
We recently asked some folks who work in this space about their views on what’s new with header bidding.
Filip Sadowski — AdTech Expert at Yieldbird
Jacek Jagiełło — System Architect at Clearcode
Daniel Elad — Chief Strategy Officer at TheViewPoint
When Does It Make Sense for a Publisher to Implement Header Bidding?
In my opinion, the answer is quite simple: always!
The days when header bidding greatly impacted a website’s performance are long gone. Of course, that does not mean there is no impact, but it is negligible with proper implementation and configuration.
In my experience, the revenue increase publishers get from header bidding is usually around 20-30% and can be as high as 50% for specific markets and setups.
When header bidding was introduced years ago, the implementation process was very difficult and resources were scarce. Furthermore, contracts with SSPs were hard to obtain.
Today, companies like Yieldbird help publishers with implementation by offering their own Prebid.js-based wrappers, tools and analytics. You can even use many different SSPs through Yieldbird without the need to sign a contract with each SSP separately.
With today’s ease of implementation, many efficient setup options, and easy-to-access SSPs, you should be using header bidding as soon as possible!
What Percentage of Publishers Are Using Prebid.js vs Prebid Server? Are Any Using Both Implementations?
Unfortunately, I can’t tell you the exact numbers regarding using only Prebid Server. However, having worked with many different publishers over the years, I would say very few are using only Prebid Server.
The biggest blockers are costs and difficulty with obtaining the knowledge, as Prebid Server is much more complicated.
From all the publishers I know that use Prebid Server, everyone uses both the client-side (Prebid.js) and server-side (Prebid Server) setup.
The most typical implementation includes the main SSPs (the strongest revenue-wise) on the client side and the rest on the server side.
How Can Companies Manage Their Prebid.js or Prebid Server Setups and Analyze the Performance of Their Header Bidding Auctions?
Managing both the client-side (Prebid.js) and server-side (Prebid Server) implementation can be quite complicated and challenging, especially for developers and AdOps teams that don’t have a lot of experience in implementing header bidding.
For the most part, managing Predbid setups is done by making manual changes directly to the code. This can lead to errors and misconfigurations that can result in the header bidding process not working properly, or at all.
The easiest way to manage the Prebid setup is to do it via a user interface.
This will allow both developers and AdOps teams to make the necessary changes to their Prebid setup and configuration without having to make direct changes to the code.
Not only will this prevent errors, but it’ll also mean that making changes will be much quicker.
At Clearcode, we designed and built a solution for Prebid called Header Bidding Control Center to solve these exact problems.
System architect at Clearcode
What Are the Main Challenges Around Header Bidding?
Header bidding requires a more complex integration, more operational costs and fees than standard VAST tags but works much better for bidding.
In many cases these incremental costs are not justified on a smaller scale and many of the SSPs are sending bid requests to the exact same DSPs.
What Challenges Are There With Applying Header Bidding to Non-Display Channels Such as In-App Mobile and CTV?
Brand safety concerns and complex business rules from the big publishers in the CTV space makes using a lot of exchanges impossible.
Moreover, a lot of the programmatic activity is running via curated marketplaces, which give more clarity on priority.
Therefore, there are far less SSPs and DSPs involved in the bidding process which makes header bidding less attractive.