With header bidding, publishers are boosting CPMs by as much as 50 percent
Ad tech acolytes are hyping header bidding as a way for publishers to make more money while also sticking it to Google. Publishers are buying into that hype.
Header bidding is a way for publishers to sell their ad inventory to direct and programmatic advertisers alike at the same time in a single unified auction instead of in a fragmented fashion. The idea is that giving every buyer an equal chance to bid on the same inventory at the same time leads to greater competition between bidders and more ad revenue for publishers.
At Graphiq, a collection of search engines for specific verticals including health care and careers, header bidding has helped boost CPMs by nearly 40 percent. The tactic has “completely changed” the way that Graphiq monetizes its indirectly sold inventory and its ad tech stack, according to Cory Wheeler, Graphiq’s programmatic lead.
“It’s a really big deal for us. It’s very simple: Whoever bids the highest wins the impression, so it puts the burden of optimization on the buy side rather than on the publisher,” he said. In other words: Header bidding is killing the waterfall, a tactic publishers use to maximize the price of their inventory across buyers.
Other publishers have seen similar results. Slader, a homework help site, for example, has seen a 20 to 50 percent lift in CPMs since adopting header bidding last year. At StudyBreak Media, which runs education sites including Easybib.com and CitationMachine.net, header bidding accounts for between 25 and 30 percent of its total revenue.
“Header-bidding enables a more competitive, more dynamic programmatic ad stack. That’s an improved solution, not hype,” said Emry Downinghall, StudyBreak Media’s director of growth and yield operations.
Ad tech companies also see opportunity in header bidding. AppNexus (Prebid.js), Index Exchange, Yieldbot (Pubfood.js) and many others have all introduced their own header bidding tech, particularly over the last year. Publisher adoption has spiked in recent months as word has spread about header bidding’s efficacy.
But some publishers also see header bidding as a way to compete against Google, which, between DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) and its ad exchange AdX, has a chokehold over publishers’ advertising stacks. With header bidding, publishers can bypass the favorable relationship between DFP and AdX, forcing AdX to compete directly with third parties for inventory. Google is already feeling the heat, as evidenced by its move last month to create its own header-bidding technology, called First Look.
“Most publishers now are beholden to DFP, but with this, they’re able to create all these new relationships with other partners,” said Matthew Goldstein, chief consultant at MSG Inc., which helps publishers develop digital advertising strategies. “As a publisher in the war against Facebook and Google, I’m going to want to get as much data and have as much control over everything I can.”
‘As good a chance as anybody’: Verizon Media looks to build on its DSP hot streak
Verizon is hoping a spree of publisher and agency partnerships will help solidify its role as the top DSP that isn't owned by Google, Amazon or The Trade Desk.
TikTok-native publishers look to expand business on other platforms after building audiences
Media brands launching exclusively on TikTok have amassed large, Gen Z audiences. The next step is expanding to other platforms to build their businesses.
U.S. cities and regions offer cash incentives to skilled remote workers to relocate
The uncoupling of work and location means that opportunities are no longer restricted to major urban centers.
SponsoredHow audio programmatic is unlocking ‘screen-free’ campaigns
In recent years there has been rapid growth in audio content available for streaming. Last year, 2020 was a particularly big moment for audio growth, one characterized by a massive shift in lifestyle. Many adults went from commuting to an office to working from home. As a result, they developed new habits and preferences. One […]
Member ExclusiveMedia Buying Briefing: As gaming explodes as an ad medium, media agencies aim to level up
Media buyers are ramping up their efforts to guide clients through the exploding but complex world of marketing in gaming.
Why temporary email apps could disrupt identity tech and publishers’ first-party data strategies
Apps that generate fake one-time emails can create just one more disruption to publisher first-party data and identity goals.