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Header bidding - Everything you need to know


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Header Bidding is an advanced programmatic technique which allows you to call multiple demand partners or bidders to bid on your ad inventory, before sending the ad request to the Ad server.

This increases CPMs and Yield of your inventories. It has been used by 71% of the US publishers and proven method of increasing your Ad revenue by 60%.

In this slide, you'll learn 'What is Header Bidding', 'How header bidding works', the current state of the technology, and more.

At Automatad Inc, we've deployed our 'Header Bidding' solution to 100+ publishers across the globe and seen a drastic increase in the revenue.

Published in: Internet
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Header bidding - Everything you need to know

  1. 1. Header Bidding - Everything You Need to Know By Automatad Inc.
  2. 2. Header Bidding Usually, Publisher use ‘Header Bidding’ along with Doubleclick for Publishers (DFP) to increase their CPM and Yield. Typically, it’s a bidding process happening between multiple parties in just milliseconds. Header Bidding is an advanced programmatic technique, which allows publishers to make calls to multiple demand partners simultaneously, before sending the ad request to the Ad Server. 2
  3. 3. Why Header Bidding? First things first. Why people have developed this Header Bidding? Header Bidding was implemented to solve the inefficiencies caused by the RTB (Real-time Bidding (RTB) - where Advertisers and Publishers trade the inventories through Exchanges and Other platforms in milliseconds before a web page loads). 3
  4. 4. 1. What are the Inefficiencies? 1. Waterfall or Daisy Chaining 2. Doubleclick AdX Privilege 3. Various RTB Types
  5. 5. 1. Waterfall or Daisy Chaining “Waterfall auctions or Daisy Chaining” is the method publishers use to maximize their revenue and improve fill rates. But in this method, there will be multiple real time bidding rounds and inventories will be passed from one Exchange to other until they’re sold. This means advertisers using Exchanges sitting at the bottom of the waterfall would be bidding on poor inventories. In worst case, advertisers only can bid on ‘leftovers’. 5
  6. 6. 2. Doubleclick AdX Privilege Doubleclick For Publishers, world’s most used Ad Server, uses dynamic allocation to jump higher in the waterfall. It leapfrogged the queue to first bid on publishers’ inventories. This made the waterfall more worse for Advertisers and Publishers were also losing higher bids from the advertisers. 6
  7. 7. 3. Various RTB Types RTB comes in various types. Open Auction lets any SSPs and DSPs to participate and trade. But these auctions were preceded by exclusive and private auctions, where only selected publishers and Advertisers can participate. This fragmented the ecosystem and Advertisers demanded a transparent and ‘equal-footed’ system. 7
  8. 8. “ Header Bidding solves all the inefficiencies: Waterfall - Eliminated by a Unified Auction. AdX Privilege - Eliminated by conducting a pre-auction before sending the request to the server. RTB Discrepancies - Ad Impressions are available to any advertisers/Bidder at the same time and anyone can bid on the impressions. 8 Note: Once you learn how it works, you’ll be having a clear idea of the above mentioned points.
  9. 9. How ‘Header Bidding’ Works? From conducting a pre- auction to passing the key values to the ad server. 9
  10. 10. When a user loads a web page with ‘Header Bidding’ code, the code calls the demand partners/bidders simultaneously (shuffled order) to conduct an auction. For instance, once the page starts loading, code calls the bidders (Ad Exchanges and DSPs) and says the specs of the Ad Slots and user data (Non- PII). Phase I - Calling the Demand Partners 10
  11. 11. Now, the demand partners/bidders bid on the available impressions to win. The bidding price depends on many factors such as inventory quality, audience data, etc. The Header of the page contains wrapper which collects the bid values such as prices, name of the bidder, and others. This will be send down to the Ad server along with the usual details (Ad specs and available user data). Phase II - Pre-Auction or Header Auction 11
  12. 12. After receiving the request, the ad server will conduct an auction as usual, to determine the winner of the bid. But in that auction, winner of the pre-auction or header-auction will be considered to pick the final winner. (Typically, Line items in ad server will compete with each other to get the impressions). Phase III - Ad Server’s Auction 12
  13. 13. If any line items in ad server bid higher than the winner of the pre-auction, that line item’s creative will be delivered. Else, winner of the pre-auction will get the impressions and that bidder’s creative will be delivered. Phase IV - Winner 13
  14. 14. Phases of Header Bidding 14 Phase III Ad Server conducts an auction for the impressions along with the winner of the pre-auction. Phase I Header Auction or Pre- Auction, by calling the bidders simultaneousl y. Phase II Collecting the bids and sending the key values to the Ad server for the second auction. Phase IV The winner is determined and creative from the winner’s line item is served.
  15. 15. Key points in Header Bidding 1. The winner of the auction will pay ‘1 cent’ more than the second highest bidder, per second price auction model. (ex: If winner = $2, second highest = $1.50, then the winner will pay $1.51). 2. The pre-auction takes place on client-side (browser). In server-side header bidding, it takes place on the server. 3. Header Bidding Wrapper (Prebid.js) can send all the bids or only the winning bid to the ad server.
  16. 16. Key points in Header Bidding 4. In ad server, Line items must be created for the bidders competing in pre-auction to capture bids. 5. The decision is up to the ad server. Not every time, highest bidder (from the pre-auction) will win. That’s because it considers the deliverability of direct orders and days left. Additional Resource: bidding/
  17. 17. Header Bidding - Triangle 17 Programmatic Advertising 0203 01 Client-Side Header Bidding: Header Bidding will happen on the user’s browser and then, key values are sent to the ad server. Server-Side Header Bidding: Once the page begin to load, pre-auction will be conducted on a external server rather than the user’s browser. Hybrid: Adopting both technologies at the same time. Publishers do it to balance the disadvantages (Matchrate and Latency) of both techniques.
  18. 18. What’s Next in Header Bidding? 18
  19. 19. Results of Header Bidding Increase in % Revenue Increase 60 eCPM 55 Fill rate 40 19
  20. 20. 71.6% of the Publishers in US utilize Header Bidding! Whoa! That’s a big number! 20
  21. 21. Open-source Publishers can use open-source wrappers Unmatched Transparency 2x Increase in CPMs 21
  22. 22. 22 Automatad Inc. We are a publisher-focused company and offer a full stack programmatic monetization suite for publishers of all sizes. With over a hundred publishers dispersed across the globe, our solution have proven to drive 40 percent more revenue than the traditional solutions. Need any help with your Ad revenue optimization or digital content monetization, reach us @ Or mail us at
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