Programmatic display buying is horrendously complex, each new wave of technology is meant to simplify everything that came before it but eventually only adding extra complexity that needs to be simplified with something new. This cycle repeats itself roughly every 3 years.
The latest tool on the block that is gaining momentum with Publishers is “Header Bidding” or also called “Pre-Bidding”. The idea behind the header bidding is that a dynamic auction takes place offering the inventory/user to multiple ad-exchanges before the auction is passed to the publishers own ad servers which will handle things like private market places, direct sales and the rest of the inventory waterfall.
From a publisher perspective, this set-up will result in greater yield of typically up to 10% (on a well organized site) and we’ve seen yield increases of up to 200% when starting from a lower base.
From an advertiser perspective, the header bidder can help the bypass Private Market Places or preferred publisher/advertiser relationships by getting a first look at the inventory/user.
The difficulty for advertisers is that each publisher will organize their inventory differently, for example does header bidder supersede the private market place? Depending on the publisher the answer is yes or no. Without the publisher confirming the advertiser has no way of knowing. So the KPIs to monitor as always are bid requests, clearing prices, win rates and most importantly performance.
Given the increase in yields header bidding has to be on every publishers roadmap, if your SSP doesn’t provide it, time to start shopping around.