Leading Operations Online

If header bidding offers such a great boost for yield among its most vocal champions, why would a programmatically active publisher have reservations about implementing it? Well, there are a few things. But one of the top concerns making some publishers shy about header bidding is latency. Pre-bid calls are being sent and received before page content even loads, and pre-bid partners may be sending inventory information onto DSPs or other sources to get bids. That’s a lot of variables, which can make for hiccoughs—any delay in this process will likely cause page latency and bring on the user ire.

So what about solutions, ways pubs can troubleshoot on their own? There’s a two-fold response. First, thoroughly test the technology of your header bidding partners before setting them live. Take note on average load times, and be in constant communication with their representatives to ensure all is well. After all, the tech providers are making revenue as well, so it’s in their primary interest for their technology to be working swimmingly. Talk with...

Back in January, I posted “Header Bidding Trial by Fire: How Six Popular Header Bidders Perform.” Sortable ran an experiment to measure what happens when you increase the number of bidders, and how that impacts CPM. We found that there is a strong correlation between increasing bidders and increased average CPM performance -- we saw a 58% increase in CPMs when running six bidders versus none.

I received a number of comments on this post, and the topic of latency came up frequently. Publishers have a vested interest in finding the right balance between revenue and site performance, as latency impacts user experience, Google organic ranking, ad viewability and preferred timing for high-paying direct campaigns. So we looked at the metrics from the original experiment and pulled some new data to see whether header bidders impact latency, and by how much.

Recap: Why Header Bidding?

Publishers have many...

Imagine you’re a brand and you’ve contracted an agency or vendor to run a direct-response display ad campaign. You’ve allowed 30 days post-view and post-click ad attribution, along with allowing pixels (both retargeting and conversion) to be placed throughout your sales funnel. 

After some initial hiccups, everything seems to be going well! Your CPA is consistently going down, your sales are going up, revenue is being tracked and fed back into your CRM system and it looks like you’re spending less money on media than you’re bringing in on sales. So everything’s perfect, and when the agency or vendor wants to double, or even triple the budget, how can you possibly say no?

That being said, a whisper comes from the back of your mind’s eye. You look at your topline sales numbers, and… that’s funny… despite all these new conversions, your sales haven’t dramatically increased. Certainly not as much as you would have thought. But the ads are working, right? The conversions are happening, or at least the agency/vendor says they’re happening...

Is header bidding an addiction? It seems once you get your first demand source implemented you just get hungry for more and more (as long as latency isn't an issue). Fortunately, there's a simple tech fixit to enable your desire for greater numbers of header bidding partners: the wrapper. One bundle to rule (or at least manage) them all!

But beware – not all wrappers are alike. To suss out the differences between the most popular options, we reached out to Index Exchange's VP of Partner Success Steve Sullivan and VP of Strategy Jourdain-Alexander Casale. In the interview below, we discuss the nuances of mediation platforms and open-source frameworks, what kind of control a wrapper should offer and what's next for the fast-evolving world of header bidding.

Gavin Dunaway: How do you differentiate your wrapper solution from others?

Jourdain-Alexander Casale: First of all it’s a consultancy more than a technology, and what that means is we have a large dedicated resource pool that just focuses on...

The prognosis for programmatic video looks pretty bright: eMarketer estimates that ad spend will hit $5.37 billion in 2016, which is more than 50% of total predicted digital video ad spend ($9.59 billion). However, the current situation is a bit cloudier: issues with latency and standards are making premium publishers wary of the channel, especially when their pre-roll inventory is already limited. 

To improve delivery and efficiency, tech providers like VertaMedia have developed algorithms to avoid dreaded VPAID errors and improve fill rates. Advertising Director Alex Volker took me on a trip through the weeds of programmatic video, while also discussing the potential for outstream and what makes him giddy about the latest VAST update.

Gavin Dunaway: Issues with VPAID errors have long been a thorn in the side of publishers jumping into programmatic video waters...

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