AdMonsters Playbook: Header Bidding

By Brian LaRue June 14, 2017

There are few topics getting digital publishers chattering right now quite like header bidding. In a marketplace where many publishers long perceived buyers as having the upper hand, header bidding pits demand sources against each other, giving publishers a clearer idea of the true value of their inventory and how to quickly optimize. The practice is changing the programmatic landscape — publishers are seeing increases in CPMs, advertisers are getting closer to the inventory they value the most, and vendors in between are being challenged to re-think the ways they integrate and operate.

However, few would call existing header bidding solutions easy or straightforward. Integrations can be arduous. Implementation can cause technical issues, like page latency. And there’s a sense among many entities that current header bidding solutions are something of a temporary fix on the road toward something more sustainable and standardized.

But header bidding has undoubtedly become part of the programmatic toolkit for publishers: Even if you don’t have an immediate need for it — e.g., you monetize a limited amount of inventory through programmatic channels — it’s worthwhile to have an understanding of how it works. We can look at the growing number of vendors offering plug-and-play header bidding services to get a sense of how much traction the practice has gained in the programmatic ecosystem.

Header Bidding Since 2010

In this new playbook, we’ll take a close look at the current status of header bidding. In AdMonsters’ extensive reporting over the past year or so, we’ve had many intense and many casual conversations with publishers and tech vendors about the pain points they’re addressing with header bidding, their implementations of the practice, the results they’ve seen and the hopes and goals they have for the future. We’ll also investigate best practices for publishers to negotiate some of header bidding’s stickier points.

Header bidding is evolving, and it will remain a topic to watch and consider into the future. Right now, we’re stopping to take a wide-angle snapshot of header bidding as it is, to give publishers a handy resource to assess and make decisions about their own implementations of header bidding.

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