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Debunking the video header bidding hype, a publisher’s guide

March 14, 2017

By SpotX

by Kevin Hunt, Senior Director, Product Management, SpotX

You can file away “programmatic TV” and “walled garden” as last year’s buzzwords. For 2017, “header bidding” is shaping up as the word on everyone’s lips. But, as with so many of the buzzwords that have come before, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. While there has been no shortage of articles or panel sessions on header bidding, clarity around what it is and what it allows publishers to achieve remains in short supply.

To alleviate this problem and help publishers optimize a video header bidding strategy, there are four key points that need to be understood:

• The different styles of “header” bidding and how they apply to video, which, unlike display, isn’t usually executed in the web page header at all,

• The pros and cons of header bidding versus server-to-server bidding — advanced ad servers have been able to achieve the same benefits as header bidding for years, but with greater efficiencies,

• The role of the wrapper — how to deploy header bidder wrappers to maximize demand partner connections.

• How to devise a monetization strategy that leverages header bidding and other more powerful revenue maximizing techniques.

1. The different styles of header bidding

The benefit of header bidding for publishers is clear: competing all demand sources — programmatic and direct — simultaneously drives up yield.

Many ad servers lack the programmatic infrastructure (the mechanisms to execute concurrent, real-time bidding) that allows media owners to compete demand sources simultaneously — hence the practice of “waterfalling,” or calling demand sources one after the other. Header bidding allows a media owner to plug in the advantages of programmatic to compete direct sold and programmatic campaigns against each other. It’s a win for both the sell and buy sides — having more bidding partners drives higher yields for publishers while giving buyers more opportunities to successfully execute a campaign.
But there are different ways of executing header bidding, ad servers that can call multiple demand partners simultaneously instead of waterfalling, and, most importantly of all, major differences between video and display. In video, the mechanisms that enable “header” bidding usually reside in the body of the web page, not the header like they do in display, and can leverage JavaScript-based VPAID containers. The bidding often doesn’t occur until the user clicks the play button, which means the auction runs while the video player is loading, not while the header loads. When video header bidding is discussed by the industry, this isn’t always taken into account. That being said, let’s look at the broad concept that header bidding, and various related terms, are being used to describe — refer to our definitions below.

In general, server-side implementations give the publisher significant auction efficiencies and enable faster page load times, while still allowing the buyer to inspect and value each opportunity. This allows publishers to …read more

Source:: Digiday