Header Bidding 101: What You Need to Know Now

Published on December 29, 2016
blog, insights

For publishers, maximizing ad inventory is a key profit driver. But, with the rise of programmatic advertising, publishers must find new ways to automate inventory availability to complement the dynamic requests from serving programmatic ads.
Header bidding, sometimes called advanced bidding or pre-bidding, is a product of that rising use of programmatic advertising.

What is Header Bidding?

Header bidding is an ad auction strategy publishers use to increase the usage of ad inventory on their pages. Publishers use header bidding to alert multiple ad exchanges that an impression on their site is available to be filled with an ad. The ad exchanges are alerted so that they can bid for the same impression at the same instant.
Thus, header bidding is a way for advertisers to adjust to changing conditions for ad inventory availability.
Header bidding also offers publishers means to understand what kinds of dynamically placed ads audiences are seeing and learn if those ads are relevant to their content topics. This relevancy can impact readers' likelihood to click an ad.

Key Tips for Using Header Bidding

There are a few tips to keep in mind when deploying header bidding in your marketing plan. The key is to remember that many header bidders are deployed as a wrapper tag on a publisher's website. The tags are comparable to the languages familiar to web developers – HTML, JavaScript, so their maintenance can be managed within any web developer's skill set.

  1. Examine the wrappers against other scripts that are in the head HTML elements. Doing so ensures that the pages load into the browser without conflicts among the scripts that would slow down page load speed.
  2. Over time, publishers must monitor page load speed in the reports of your analytics solution. The metrics represent page performance when a page is loaded in a browser. Browsers can occasionally load programming scripts alongside header bidding tags slowly, impacting performance.
  3. Publishers should also monitor how bidding partners perform, where possible. To accomplish that, look for response rate, bid rate and win rate metrics. These indicate if the program is yielding meaningful results.

Programmatic ads are increasingly a standard part of marketing plans. Header bidding is simply another mechanism for advertisers gain a better opportunity to reach their desired audiences.

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