Header bidding, an advanced programmatic technique has changed the way publishers monetize their ad inventory. Since its release in 2015, this technique has continued to be adopted by publishers to optimize their advertising revenue.
With Header Bidding, publishers can offer their inventory to multiple requesting partners at once. The primary benefit of implementing Header Bidding for publishers is that it ensures they get the highest possible bids for their unsold inventory, resulting in higher CPMs and ultimately account, an increase in advertising revenue.
The majority of publishers these days use this technique for setting up their ads, which can be considered a holy grail for publishers, but also comes with its own complexities and challenges. For starters, implementing header bidding is technically complicated. On top of that, it requires constant monitoring and innovation for the setup to perform better.
To get the most revenue from inventory, publishers need to optimize their header bidding setups. But, before we understand ways to improve header bidding performance, we need to understand the challenges associated with header bidding, let’s review these recurring challenges:
1. Complicated Setup
Header auctions come with a complicated implementation process. Choosing the right wrapper, integrating demand partner codes, regular maintenance and constant header code changes are complicated tasks.
Without dedicated developer support, publishers can no doubt find this a daunting task.
One of the main challenges of header bidding, latency, makes the web page load slower, which in turn slows down the ad load. In addition, it delays getting offers from demand sources.
3. Cost and resources
Since header bidding requires constant developer support, publishers may need to invest all of their time and resources to improve header bidding performance. However, publishers may not manage the header bidding service without abundant resources.
Now that we’ve established the common challenges, let’s explore the best ways to optimize performance.
Given these challenges, publishers may be suggested to adopt Managed Header Bidding services to improve their header bidding performance:
Managed Header Auction Services:
These services facilitate the initial implementation and maintenance of header bidding. Additionally, working with managed header bidding services allows publishers to use new versions of Prebid.
Use Prebid as a wrapper
Header auctions using the Prebid wrapper run faster. It ensures fast response time from demand partners and improves user experience. The technology is solid for desktop and mobile channels and works best with all ad formats.
What is Prebid, you ask? Prebid is popularly known as prebid wrapper, which is open-source and makes header-bidding free and customizable. Prebid includes over 150 demand partners, 15 adapters supporting currency conversion, multiple ad servers, and common identification systems.
However, Prebid Wrapper is also not easy to setup, maintain and run. It requires technical expertise and consistent developer support to make changes and fix errors.
Server-side header auctions:
The Managed Header Bidding service helps publishers analyze and understand header bidding performance with its analytics features. Additionally, with options between client-side header bidding and server-side header bidding, publishers can overcome challenges with their header bidding.
With server-side header bidding, publishers can solve the latency problem and improve the user experience. In server-side header bidding, bid requests are sent to multiple demand sources from ad servers. Then the auction takes place on the server provided by the technology partner.
Its implementation is less complex because a single script is added for all partners on the ad server side. Then, ad servers send the bid request to SSPs, ad exchanges, etc., and receive the bid.
Let’s understand why page latency happens in the first place. In the client-side header bidding configuration, multiple request partners are called directly from the browser. In server-side header bidding, all bidders are pinged with a single call, ensuring fast page loading and better user experience metrics.
Innovative ad format and optimized layout:
Usually, header auctions use banner ads, which users often overlook. To avoid banner blindness, publishers can come up with innovative ad formats. These formats can include native ads, outstream video ads, etc.
These ads grab users’ attention and improve visibility, delivering higher eCPMs. Additionally, with better ad inventory, header auction performance improves because potential demand partners have a variety of ad formats to choose from.
Ad layouts should be optimized through A/B testing, best performing ad unit, page latency and ad placement. Additionally, publishers may need to test page load times, ad positioning, and which ad formats generate the best CTRs.
Publishers have been turning to header auctions for some time and will continue to do so in the future. However, adopting header bidding is not the only way to maximize ad revenue. Header auctions require time, resources and technical expertise.
Publishers are constantly in a rush to work on the adjustments provided by Header Bid Analytics. Optimized ad format layouts go a long way in improving header auction performance and better viewability.
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