Header bidding – how and why publishers should use it

Header bidding can make it easier for publishers to access the best bids from a wider range of demand partners, potentially increasing revenue. Here we explain more about the advantages of header bidding, how it works and how to set up header bidding on your site.


What is header bidding?

Header bidding is dynamic demand optimization technology, which automatically selects advertising exchanges that show the best performance. The main distinctive feature of Header Bidding is the possibility to receive all bids at the same time. 

Technically speaking, header bidding allows publishers to make their ads inventory available to multiple demand-side platforms (DSPs) or advertising networks at the same time. In other words, publishers offer their inventory to several bidders who can simultaneously place bids using a JavaScript tag installed in the HEAD part of the site (hence the name header bidding). Based on the results of the auction, the system will select the best offer among all DSPs. You can find out more about how it works in this previous blog post

How is header bidding different from open bidding?

Open Bidding (formerly EBDA Exchange Bidding Dynamic Allocation) is a tool for organising a real-time auction between AdX and verified third-party exchanges based on dynamic allocation. Technically, Open Bidding is a server-side solution that gives ad exchanges and SSPs the ability to bid on publisher inventory along with Google AdX in a unified auction. It may sound the same as header bidding, but it’s not. Unlike header bidding, where the auction takes place in the site or app header, with Open Bidding the auction runs on the ad server. 

According to Google, Open Bidding is a system, where requests are handled by Ad Manager through a “server-to-server” integration between publishers and their demand partners. So, as soon as an ad request is generated, Ad Manager runs a unified auction to determine the best yield. After that third-party demand partners are able to compete for inventory in real-time. 

Three reasons to use header bidding

1. Increased revenue – Header bidding allows more advertisers to bid on a website’s inventory and gives the space to the highest bid in the auction, so publishers are likely to make more money from their ad placements.

2. More control – Using header bidding, publishers can choose which sources to include in the bidding process, and prioritize certain advertisers if they wish.

3. Better user experience – The time needed to sell and show an ad on the page is visibly reduced, so pages will load faster. This means a better experience for the user, which is also likely to have a positive impact on search rankings.

How to access header bidding

Header bidding works by adding a section of JavaScript code into the <head> section of the site. Usually this will be done using a header bidding wrapper, which organizes all buyers and sets the rules for the programmatic auction.

One of the most popular wrappers is Prebid.js. This was created in 2015 by Xandr and is still in use by many publishers. Prebid works in the user’s browser on the client side, which brings such drawbacks as page latency. On the other side, with the Prebid server, header inserts are performed on a dedicated server, which relieves the load from browsers, speeds up the display of ads and gives users better content. However, Prebid.js is likely to require a technical expert to set it up.

Using header bidding with Clickio

With Clickio, publishers gain access to a wide range of premium demand partners via Google Ad Manager, Open Bidding and Server-to-Server bidding, as well as header bidding. Our technology allows you to test different demand sources, ad units and layouts to get the best performance.

We provide the code you need for Prebid.js and any other integrations, and a dedicated account manager will work with you to get everything set up and help you maximize revenue from the ad placements on your site.

Click here to join Clickio now, or contact us if you would like more information.

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