- Header Bidding: A dmexco-eye View

2016 09 22 hero - Header Bidding: A dmexco-eye View


February 12, 2016

Header Bidding: A dmexco-eye View

Header bidding was a hot topic at dmexco last week, and OpenX hosted a panel discussion about how the technology has evolved and what the future holds.

In addition to our own CRO and Co-Founder, Jason Fairchild, the panel, moderated by Alison Fennah, Executive Business Advisor at IAB Europe, consisted of Hannah Buitekant, General Manager, Programmatic, Mobile, Video, at MailOnline, Serhan Günes , Head of Advertising and Partnerships at eBay Kleinanzeigen, and Patrick McCann, Vice President, Data Science, atCafeMedia.

The Evolution of Header Bidding

The discussion started by taking a look at the impact header bidding has had for each panellist, with overall agreement that the technology has significantly opened up the demand landscape for publishers, increasing yields almost overnight. Buitekant reported a sustained increase in ad revenue month-on-month for MailOnline over a period of two years, while Günes  indicated an initial uplift of 20% for eBay Kleinanzeigen when it integrated with OpenX, with many additional opportunities to further grow its revenue stream.

The impact on buyers was also discussed, with Günes suggesting eBay Kleinanzeigen has seen more sophisticated buyers reacting to the opportunity to optimise their campaigns and understanding how best to leverage the technology. Buitekant reported MailOnline’s buyers appreciate the opportunity to see end-to-end where they can buy inventory, rather than this being dictated to them, allowing them to think more strategically and tailor their campaigns accordingly.  

Header Bidding Pitfalls

Despite the positive results gained through header bidding a number of pitfalls were identified with the technology in its current form, with a particular focus on potential latency issues caused by header bidder tags. McCann emphasised the importance of user experience and suggested header bidding wrappers as a method to avoid this being negatively impacted. McCann and Buitekant further discussed ensuring content calls occur before ad calls so the page content can load without waiting for the ad. The panel also discussed whether there is an optimum number of demand partners for header bidding to be effective, with eBay Kleinanzeigen currently using six, MailOnline using eight, and CafeMedia using 14.   

The Future of Header Bidding

An improvement in standards was identified as vital to increase the scalability of header bidding and continue its evolution. For instance publishers all have their own methods for measuring speed and this must be standardised across the industry. Jason pointed out that in the long term there’s no need to invent new criteria for header bidding, we can leverage the existing real-time bidding (RTB) standard.          

Various growth areas were identified for header bidding in the future. McCann reported CafeMedia has already had success with header bidding in native, and eBay Kleinanzeigen is currently looking to develop this format. Buitekant identified video and mobile in-app as crucial areas for expansion in header bidding, an opinion echoed by Guenes who stated 60% of eBayKleinanzeigen’s traffic comes from apps so header bidding needs to evolve to work across all platforms.

When asked whether header bidding will be the only alternative to shape the market in the coming years or whether Google’s new solution will challenge this, the panel largely agreed there is a strong future for header bidding. McCann explained that while Google is reacting in an interesting way it is not yet providing a strong enough answer for publishers to walk away from header bidding.

Overall the panel saw a positive outlook for header bidding as it expands to encompass more channels and formats, but expressed the need for improved industry-wide standards to streamline and speed up the process.

If you have any questions about header bidding, or for anything else please contact us.

Best wishes, 
The OpenX Team