Prebid Video Gets a Boost From SpotX Upping Publishers’ Header Bidding Game

Header bidding is on the rise. It’s proven itself an effective strategy for publishers looking to maximize yield and enhance advertiser reach. And while it’s still early days, mobile (especially in-app) and video header bidding are now making headway.

Much of the trend we’re seeing with video header bidding is spurred by the growth of Prebid, the free and open-source solution for publishers who want to implement header bidding on their sites and in their apps. With nearly 50 vendors offering prebid.js bidder adapters to support video ads, and various video player integrations out in the wild, it’s no wonder that video header bidding is ramping up.

While AppNexus and Rubicon rule the roost in this domain (there’s no surprise there) and OpenX is following closely, many other vendors are stepping up with their own flavored offerings. Fortunately for publishers, Prebid.js adapters plug into Prebid.js Core and are interchangeable contingent upon who the publisher wishes to work with. Also, with an adapter, the onus is on the vendor to keep Prebid updated to its latest version.

And just in case you hadn’t already guessed, adapters make it much easier for publishers to implement header bidding. At the most basic level, a Prebid adapter creates the bid request for the bidder’s server and parses and registers the bid response.

One company entering the race to advance Prebid in the video world is global video advertising and monetization platform, SpotX. The company’s Chief Technology Officer, J. Allen Dove, was also recently named to the Prebid board to further these efforts.

We caught up with Tal Almany, Senior Director of Advanced Integrations at SpotX to learn more about their new Prebid adapter and what’s going on in the world of video header bidding.

Lynne d Johnson: What are the overall benefits of a publisher leveraging SpotX’s Prebid Adapter to implement header bidding and how does it work?

Tal Almany: The SpotX Prebid adapter makes it easy for a publisher to access SpotX’s demand, tools, and other services.

Using our adapter is just as easy as using any other one. You download it from the prebid site, implement it onto your page, and you’re ready to go. (It’s almost that easy.) Prebid loads up and initiates any installed adapters to make requests to those SSPs/Exchanges. SpotX gets the ad request and then we conduct our usual auction and submit our best bid(s) to Prebid, which selects the winning bid and submits it to the publisher’s ad server.

LdJ: Why should publishers even be interested in video header bidding?

TA: Anytime you take the onus off of the ad server, you are going to give the publisher an advantage. The reason header bidding was created was to take some of the power the DFP had over publishers and third-party supply-side platforms (SSPs). That power has shifted slightly with the changes Google has made to DFP/GAM, but still, utilizing header bidding for video gives the publisher a lot more control over their monetization.

Lastly, tags are so last decade. 🙂

LdJ: For the novices like me, how does header bidding differ between display and video?

TA: There are many more factors and complexities when it comes to header bidding for video than with header bidding for display. Also, more can go wrong with video, as VAST and VPAID errors are aspects that display does not need to worry about.

With video, there are many more steps that need to happen to get that ad to play. For display, you need there to be harmony between the page and the ad server. With video, you add to that, the need for harmony between the player and player SDK to the mix; this complicates things exponentially.

LdJ: So then are there any UX downsides to publishers employing video header bidding?

TA: I don’t think so. If you’re making a trade for header bidding and tags, then you are not adding any additional latency to your UX.

(Editor’s note: With Prebid, requests can be triggered at page load-time instead of waiting for the player to start—as it does with the waterfall—thus reducing latency.)

LdJ: What does the future of video header bidding look like? Will we still be debating client-side vs server-side?

TA: For video header bidding in a web-based environment, client-side rules the roost. You get better overall performance.

Server-side is definitely advancing and we think that at some point in the very near future, it will overtake client-side, especially in environments that require server-side ad stitching/ad insertion like in over-the-top (OTT) or connected TV environments.

(Editor’s note: To Tal’s point, PubMatic recently announced the expansion of OpenWrap, to support OTT and CTV inventory. OpenWrap enables both client-side and server-side bidding across all formats,including desktop, mobile web and in-app, all in one UI.)

LdJ: You also recently re-upped your partnership with video platform JW Player for Video Player Bidding for publishers. How does this ad product solution fit into a publisher’s video monetization strategy?

SpotX’s partnership with the JW Player has been extremely successful. We are currently working on the next phase of that partnership. The JW Player Bidding product really helped us scale our video header bidding initiatives and we love how easy it is for publishers to get video header bidding live on their site. Since the player is on the page and is controlling the content, it allows us to capture and pass along actionable data to our buyers in a seamless and efficient way.