As it turns out, there’s more than one way to use header bidding.
Header bidding gets a lot of publicity for its ability to increase revenue for publishers. But a less-heralded aspect of header bidding is that publishers use it to prioritize certain advertisers in the auction. Publishers said that doing so encourages marketers to work consistently with them and make big budget commitments.
“People are addicted to talking about the technology and yield aspects, but we sometimes forget that programmatic is about marketing,” said Julie Clark, vp of programmatic at Hearst, when asked why the prioritization aspect of header bidding receives little attention. “Header bidding might be created as a yield tool, but it can also be used as a strategic marketing tool.”
Prioritization is done through supply-side platforms (SSPs) and ad servers. But priorities set in a SSP only apply to bids in that specific SSP. Publishers who want to set priorities throughout the entire auction do so through the ad server, said Jana Meron, vp of programmatic at Business Insider.
Sources said that ad servers can have nearly 20 different priority settings and SSPs can have over 100 priority settings. The preference levels can be set to the point that they “would allow [preferred advertisers] to beat even a direct campaign in your ad server,” said Marco Samuel, IBT Media’s programmatic account manager.
Giving preference to certain advertisers can contribute to short-term losses in revenue if this results in the highest bidder not winning. But publishers emphasized that giving preference to certain advertisers is a long-term strategy aimed at creating sustainable partnerships.
“If you look at our best customers over the last 100 years, a high percentage of them will be the same over the next 100 years,” said Chip Schenck, vp of programmatic at Meredith Digital. “So why are we sacrificing long-term relationships to eke out a little bit more yield with someone we don’t know or work with very often?”
Publishers said that by placing priorities, they can incentivize advertisers to make large upfront commitments because doing so signals that the publisher will work to get the advertiser the inventory they desire.
That’s why Meredith “lets PMPs (private marketplaces) punch above their weight class,” Schenck said. For example, a preferred advertiser in a PMP deal bidding $12 per CPM can be put on par with advertisers bidding $20 per CPM in the open exchange, he said.
While header bidding preferences might sound like a great deal to large-scale advertisers who regularly work with the same publishers, it could also come off as unfair to other advertisers who don’t do large upfront deals or regularly work with the same publishers.
Schenck said that if marketers feel frustrated by header preferences, they should work directly with publishers on campaigns. Clark added that publishers need to take their own considerations into account when giving preference to advertisers.
“To [prioritize an advertiser], we have to make sure you are bidding consistently at a certain CPM and not just occasionally,” she said.
Bloomberg Media will debut five new podcasts with iHeartMedia this year
Bloomberg Media and iHeartMedia are releasing five podcast shows this year, part of a three-year co-production and distribution podcast deal to create over a dozen new original shows.
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: What publishers’ latest earnings reports say about the state of the media business
In this week's Media Briefing, media editor Kayleigh Barber analyzes the latest quarterly earnings reports from BuzzFeed, IAC's Dotdash Meredith, News Corp's Dow Jones, Future plc, Gannett and The New York Times.
The pluses and pitfalls of team-led return to office approaches
Publishers like Dotdash Meredith, Dow Jones, theSkimm and NBC News are adopting team-specific RTO policies, designed to make the return to in-person work more accommodating. But they can also create complications.
SponsoredHow companies are improving career mobility to mitigate the Great Resignation￼
Matt Bartels, principal and media practice lead, Alexander Group The pandemic left an indelible mark on businesses around the world. This abrupt market force challenged leaders to reevaluate their business model, think creatively, work collaboratively and aggressively invest in their future or risk becoming obsolete. Unexpectedly, the global workforce reevaluated their lives while re-envisioning their […]
The Rundown: As e-commerce grows, the eCommFronts address data and communication issues
Night Market, which specializes in guiding clients through e-commerce and retail media offerings and inventory, hosted its third annual eCommFronts beginning Tuesday through today.
Q&A: How Vox Media’s branded content studio is working to integrate its podcast ad capabilities post-merger
Three months after Vox Media and Group Nine’s branded studios merged, the newly combined Vox Creative is using the different podcast ad formats it offers to integrate audio advertising into advertisers' campaigns, according to svp Yosef Johnson and executive producer of audio Annu Subramanian.