Enhancing understanding of header bidding

Welcome to the live broadcast of ad buyers’ and sellers’ business lives! Publishers are actively seeking to pull their ad inventory in a way that brings them the most revenue by maximizing ad inventory yield.

But what of those named advertisers? They can’t stand by, so they’re thoroughly examining fair chances to bid on the desired ad inventory when choice items are available. This is where the trading path known as header bidding is instrumental for both sides.

We will not lie — the concept of header bidding might cause confusion at first sight. Its interconnected trails seem like a tangled mess of ideas and steps. But no worries! Oxagile’s AdTech team, with experience in header bidding secrets, has gathered those questions wrapped most in mystery around this technology. We stand ready to untangle any knots in understanding, lighting the path ahead with clarity.

So, are you prepared now to “switch to another channel” and explore the universe of header bidding? Let us journey forth together and uncover its riches!

What is header bidding? Cutaway view of the term

The prior question that heats people’s minds sounds quite logical, right? So, first off, let’s set the record straight on the term:

  1. Basically, header bidding is a programmatic advertising tech that publishers can enrich their websites with, to make ad inventory sales flow smoothly. It involves inserting a tiny bit of JavaScript code into the header part of a webpage.
  2. When users’ eyes first find the webpage, the header bidding song awakens. It calls out to those who help find the buyers of ad space — these are SSPs (supply-side platforms), a kind of middleman helping to sell ad space. Before the ad server is summoned and normal ad requests go out, it’s getting bids and asking, “Who wants to show an ad in this very place, and how much are they willing to pay?”
  3. The scene happens faster than two heartbeats, as accessed by publishers. This grants SSPs, DSPs (demand-side platforms), ad exchanges, and ad networks just enough time to react by introducing relevant offers. The final result is an advanced ad sales process for publishers. Ultimately, publishers trade in a swifter, smarter fashion.

Header bidding

But why did header bidding turn into quite a thing in AdTech?

It all goes back to 2014, which was a time when header bidding emerged in response to the dominant market conditions that caused the loss of profit for ad sellers and buyers. The big industry giants had a monopoly going on, and things weren’t either transparent or flexible in programmatic advertising. But then, header bidding came rushing up to get rid of the mess.

It started evolving at a moderate pace at first, but it really took off when The Telegraph reported a staggering 70% increase in their programmatic revenues shortly after they started using it. Word spread fast among a lot of other publishers who were excited by the promising nature of the tech, and they jumped on the bandwagon.

The numbers themselves sing loud truths: As per Statista’s conclusions, about 70% of online publishing websites and 16% of the top 100 thousand U.S. websites couldn’t get past header bidding in Q1, 2022. And this marked the rise of header bidding’s smash hit.

Header bidding is making waves and promising a prominent future for both sides, buyers and sellers, too good to deny.

Getting down to practice: How header bidding works

Are you ready to witness the bidding process in action? It’s like a perfectly choreographed dance, when everyone moves together in perfect unison. Here is how it flows:

Action 1. A user comes to the publisher’s website, and that’s the starting point where the header bidding magic begins.

Action 2. The publisher’s website loads a wrapper script, which presents a small piece of JavaScript code, into the header of the page.

Action 3. The wrapper script jumps into action and sends calls to ad exchanges, SSPs, and other demand sources. It’s like saying, “Hey, who wants to bid on these ad spots?” It can either “ask” the user’s browser directly or go through an ad server.

Action 4. All demand sources come back and present their bids, telling you how much they offer to pay per thousand impressions or per click. All hope it’s worth more than others.

Action 5. The wrapper script takes all those bids, seeing which is fairest. Then it asks Google Ad Manager, which is the ad server, to support with what’s going to be the next step — picking the best of the best in the next round, called a secondary auction.

Action 6. In the second round of bidding, the header bidding partners’ bids go up against other deals, like programmatic guaranteed or sponsorship. The bidder with the highest bid emerges victorious, getting a chance to show their ad as a prize.

Header bidding process in a nutshell

Header bidding process in a nutshell

Disclosing benefits of header bidding: Why is it a savior for publishers and advertisers?

What’s so great for publishers putting trust in header bidding?

  • Amplified ad revenue and yield
    Let’s imagine that header bidding is game to go to a publisher’s ad ecosystem. The publisher can share their ad space with a myriad of demand partners at once. This entails fiercer competition and higher prices. But who doesn’t dream of making more money?
  • Transparency galore
    Publishers are free to see all the details of what’s happening in the bidding arena. They are tracking the partners who are bringing in stacks of money for their ad inventory. It’s like having a front seat to all the truths and an auction’s juicy details.
  • Taking full control
    Publishers are in complete control of the situation, i.e., they choose who can “enter their lands” and access their inventory, as well as set all the rules, like minimum bids or timeout lengths.
  • A-grade user experience
    It’s the right moment to say farewell to snail-paced loading times! Header bidding resolves auctions in a flash, while ads load lightning fast and pages aren’t slow. That’s the case when users are totally satisfied with header bidding, too, and pleased users equal delighted publishers.
  • Fresh demand at your fingertips
    Header bidding unlocks new sources of demand by connecting ad space sellers with a rich selection of buyers. Publishers get off to a flying start in expanding their customer base this way and open new avenues sooner than thought possible.
  • Unleashed flexibility
    Publishers are free to adjust their header bidding setup without messing things up. They can swap partners in and out without effort, ensuring smooth site operations and uninterrupted ad delivery. Staying agile is key to enticing revenue strategies.

Benefits of header bidding

Advertisers are not left out of the loop either

  • Premium inventory is just a short hop
    Header bidding is like winning a direct pipeline to more premium inventory options available and admission to the best ad spots, so advertisers gain far more chances to delight their intended audience on top-notch websites.
  • Enhanced targeting
    Advertisers are easily tapping into advanced targeting options, for they reach their customers with greater care, getting super specific with demographics, interests, or behaviors. It’s like having a laser-focused targeting mechanism that guarantees that ads land right in front of the right people, maximizing campaign effectiveness.
  • Campaign performance has never been so lush
    Once advertisers join header bidding auctions, they stand a real chance to win ad spaces at honest market prices. This brings improved campaign performance, higher click-through rates, and better returns on investment.
  • Ad fraud faces defeat
    Header bidding endeavors to protect advertisers from ad fraud. When bidding directly on inventory and skipping obsolete waterfall setups, advertisers are 100 percent sure that ad impressions are legit and reaching true people. No more wasting money on fake traffic.
  • Higher ad viewability also comes
    Header bidding unlocks top-tier ad slots that users are much more likely to actually notice. While other advertisers may get chump spots out of sight and mind, header bidding puts the one who uses it front and center.
Talk to an expert

Uncertain about the advantages of header bidding for you?

We’re here to alleviate any confusion and share some expert tips, tailor-made just for your business!

How to implement header bidding: Components you shouldn’t neglect

To enable the accurate setup of header bidding technology to make it work its magic, certain key players must come together in harmony.

Let us now explore the header bidding adapters and wrappers, two strong currents that predetermine header bidding’s path. They ensure a smooth joining of hands between all who would dance in the auction circle. Through them, sellers and buyers find each other’s rhythms without friction.

When adapters and wrappers work as one, the auction dance is joyful and fruitful for all parties.

We’re going to talk about the intricacies of these components and discover the best-selling and influential examples.

Header bidding adapter: What’s it like?

Is it your intention to implement header bidding? If so, the header bidding adapter plays a key role. It serves as the messenger, carrying words between buyers and sellers to make the trade flow and the kaleidoscope of ad requests and bids go smoothly.

The adapter does more than merely deliver messages, thus connecting publishers and demand partners. It also sends out calls for bids and interprets the responses from sellers. This allows all to hear the value of the bid and ensure a flawless transition of info to the ad server.

To use header bidding’s power, publishers need strong ties with SSPs, so trade can flourish. There are two trails to build the ties:

  1. The first is to possess an adapter specifically for each partner. This personal concept ensures messages pass clearly between them.
  2. The second is to use one adapter that speaks to all partners at once. Though less personal, this simplifies managing trades and lets publishers’ words reach more ears.

By deciding on the proper trail, publishers can augment what they gain from trades and let their businesses prosper through header bidding markets. The adapter helps the deals flow for the sake of each party’s convenience.

Another indispensable element is the header bidding wrapper

One more detail that makes header bidding strong is the header bidding wrapper. At the center of any trading path that bears fruit lies this container that helps all work as one.

The wrapper brings together the messengers so trade can flow freely. Without its help, each seller would need to talk with buyers separately, slowing things down and lessening what can be gained. Put simply, the wrapper speeds up the accumulation of bids from demand partners and the whole trading procedure.

And there is more to come in terms of wrappers’ power. For those publishers who watch over their consent management activities, it eases the work by eliminating the need to deal with each bidder’s consent individually. No more drowning in a flood of tasks and wasting time. Publishers can guide consent management with less effort and ensure compliance with ease if they rely on the wrapper.

How the liaison between adapters and wrappers looks

How the liaison between adapters and wrappers looks

There is a vast deal of wrappers to help header bidding work, each with their own gifts. Among them is Prebid.js, the header bidding wrapper that has gained widespread acceptance across the trading paths.

Others include:

  • Proprietary wrapper solutions
  • Managed wrapper solutions

What makes Prebid’s wrapper strong in the eyes of ad players?

This open-source JavaScript library carries many proven pre-built adapters for ad networks, ready to be shared. Its API also makes the integration with custom bidders an easy path.

What about the peculiarities of other wrapper options?

Each wrapper has its own gifts to share.

Proprietary wrappers are usually owned by big trading world representatives, like SSPs or ad exchanges, and offered to publishers but require payment. They may help traders in their way; however, publishers have not widely adopted this path yet.

One reason is a lack of clarity. Publishers worry about the rules that may favor certain ad exchanges over others. They also fear that the requirements are set too high, blocking some from accessing these wrappers.

Managed wrapper solutions aim to give a boost to all publishers, regardless of their technical capacities or established business ties. Typically built on Prebid’s proven foundations, they provide extra benefits, such as assistance in deployment, dedicated account management, and ad ops engineering specialists to ensure operations flow smoothly, to name a few. With managed wrappers, publishers can streamline their work and channelize energy into gaining the most out of their inventory spaces.

Wrapping up

All publishers or advertisers who care about gaining value from their ad trades can hardly ignore the impact of header bidding technology. The number of AdTech businesses embracing this trading path is growing at a breakneck pace. If you do not learn its rhythms, your competitors have every chance to pull ahead in gaining wealth.

We are close at hand to help your company learn more about header bidding and how its related elements connect. We can guide you through many bidder adapter solutions and share tips for setting up trades smoothly. Likewise, we will also explain how to use header bidding’s full power and tricky parts, whether called from client- or server-side header bidding.

Are you keeping any questions in mind now as your company considers all possible ways to implement header bidding in your business? Oxagile is eager to share our AdTech knowledge and help you prosper.