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Everything Publishers need to know about Header bidding

Everything Publishers Need To Know About Header Bidding

Digital publishers want an effective advertising environment that maximizes website ad income. Header bidding…

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Digital publishers want an effective advertising environment that maximizes website ad income. Header bidding is needed to realize that dream. Competitive header bidding lets publishers offer ad inventory to several demand partners, increasing ad income.

By utilizing JavaScript to develop a header bidding wrapper, advertisers can improve ad targeting by eliminating inefficiencies like Google AdX‘s preferential bid position when publishers utilize Google’s ad server.

Prepare for a header bidding crash course. For good reason, it’s the ad tech buzzword. Read on to master header bidding and increase ad revenue.

What is Header Bidding?

Header bidding, an advanced programmatic advertising technology, lets publishers sell their ad inventory to numerous ad exchanges and networks concurrently. It is a real-time programmatic auction that maximizes ad inventory value by sending bid requests to various demand partners. 

Also known as advance bidding or pre-bidding, it was used by 84% of the top 10,000 US sites, and more than half of US publishers reported increased CPMs.

Publishers can generate bid requests utilizing browser resources by adding a JavaScript (JS) code snippet to the <head> section of their website. Users see the highest bidder’s ad once the publisher’s ad server filters them. Publishers should use header bidding, which takes seconds, to maximize ad revenue.

Ad Auctions before Header Bidding

Before programmatic header bidding, ad space was auctioned and provided when a web page loaded.

Because the ad server prioritized publisher direct requests, they were served first when a user visited a website. After the direct order frequency cap was reached, the ad server passed the impression to programmatic line items in a sequential “waterfall system,” a real-time auction.

The fundamental issue with the waterfall or daisy-chain technique is that impression prices don’t always reflect their true value. Top ad exchanges provide unsold material based on size, not highest bidder. If no one bids in the group, the inventory is passed down to the next tier until someone bids for it.

Someone at the next layer down may be willing to pay more, but they never got to bid for the inventory, resulting in publishers leaving revenue on the table.

How Header bidding work?

Header bidding starts as soon as the user loads the page. The code runs and calls all demand partners at the same time to bid on this image before calling the ad servers. Everything happens within a time limit chosen by the distributor, which is usually less than a second.

During this split-second window, many of these demand partners hold auctions to see who can send the highest price. The user’s browser then sends the best bids from each partner to the publisher’s ad server, which gets them before calling its direct inventory.

With header bidding, all demand sources take part in the auction at the same time, and publishers can choose which sources take part in the process.

Furthermore, publishers can raise the prices they charge for their premium inventory. When publishers don’t depend on just one supply-side platform (SSP), their overall yield goes up because they get more ad fills and better allocation of impressions sold to the best bidder.

Since there is only one sale and no sequential chaining, there are also fewer mistakes in the reports.

Why should publishers use Header Bidding?

Publishers profit most from header bidding’s yield. Publishers can sell inventory per impression by auctioning all bids simultaneously. Less SSP reliance provides wiser impression distribution and higher fill rate. But these are not the only options for publishers. Let’s look at some other benefits a publisher can get:

Increased control

Publishers might restrict bidding sources. Publishers can retain control over their sites and prioritize specific advertisers to continue working with them.

More Bidders

Publishers can control their impression-buying advertising. Not depending on a few advertisers,  boosts business resilience and agility.

More Revenue

Publishers can increase CPMs and revenue by offering more inventory to advertisers. Through header bidding, publishers have increased their ad revenue by 30-40%.

Enhanced Ad Quality

Advertising to a publisher’s readership will cost more for advertisers that like them. Competition raises ad quality and relevance.

Quicker Loading

Faster loading speeds up impression sales and ad rendering, improving user experience and SEO.

Setting Up Header Bidding

Header bidding configuration relies greatly on the user’s technical competence, but don’t worry, we are here to brief you. It  needs an uninterrupted connection between ad manager, header bidding wrapper, and SSP adapters.

Publishers must create a header bidding wrapper in JavaScript. The code must be included in the <head> section of a publisher’s website, after which the wrapper will receive the SSP bids and select a winner.

Now let’s get down to implementation:

Step 1: Finding the Right Demand Partners

The first stage is to design a website where multiple demand partners compete for ad space. After that, you’ll want to locate demand partners who match the niche of your website. Popularity of demand partners is not the ideal metric to base a selection on, and publishers should instead search for features that will enhance the theme of their website.

Step 2: Installing and Assembling a Header Bidding Wrapper

A wrapper organizes all purchasers and establishes the programmatic auction rules. It means that publishers can increase the number of demand sources vying for an impression in an auction without introducing code for each new bidding partner.

Wrappers act as a repository, including code from various demand partners and determining an auction’s protocols.

Even if you have little or no technical knowledge, there are various trustworthy header bidding partners like Advergic, who can help you maximize ad revenue.

Step 3: Configuring the Format

For header bidding to work well, the publisher needs to configure the auction format like setting auction time limits and floor prices for each ad section to keep the website from having errors.

What do header bidding wrappers do?

All the buyers are put into groups by a header bidding wrapper, which is also called a container or framework. It also sets the rules for the programmatic sale.

This means that producers can get as many demand sources as possible to bid on an impression in an auction without having to add code for each new bidder.

All partners who use header bidding have their bid requests sent at the same time. You can set the delay for a wrapper to control how long the browser waits for a response before the auction ends. 

Also, header bidding wrapper software comes with a set of analytical tools that can be used to find the best methods and partners that should be removed from the wrapper. You can easily take out a demand source from the bidding process if it’s not getting any views.

What is prebid.js?

The prebid.js header buying wrapper is one of the most used ones. The open-source project prebid.js was created by AppNexus in 2015 and is based on the Apache License, which was adopted by the Rubicon Project in 2017.

Prebid.js is a header bidding wrapper that lets authors set up line items and handle multiple ad calls with an ad server that happen at different times.

What are the Pro’s and Con’s of Prebid.js?


  • Advanced tools for talking to ad servers
  • When publishers use bidding header-style bids instead of waterfall models, they usually see faster times.
  • Free and open source.
  • A large and strong community of users who help improve the code and offer support


  • Not very user-friendly. The header bid wrapper is hard to set up and keep up to date.
  • Running the header bid wrapper can slow down the speed at which a site loads because it adds extra work.
  • There are a number of forums where anyone can get help from a big group of professional users and developers. You can get help from other users, but it’s not available on demand like paid support.

It’s clear that the pros are much stronger than the cons. That doesn’t change the fact that only a professional will be able to set up and run prebid.js. It does have many benefits, but it won’t work for everyone or all the time. 

For now, it’s important to note that this is not the only wrapper out there. Amazon, for instance, keeps its Transparent Ad Marketplace (TAM) software up to date, and Google does the same with its Exchange Bidding in Dynamic Allocation (EDMA) tool.

Why is Header Bidding better than AdSense?

It’s like going from swimming in a small pool to swimming in the ocean when you switch from AdSense to header bidding. You can include AdSense in your bidding, but this method lets you drastically increase the number of advertisers and ad exchanges that can bid on your inventory.

Google’s general market share keeps going down because other ad partners are getting better at competing with it. Year over year, it has dropped as much as 10%. This change is happening because publishers’ sites are using header bidding more, which is more clear. Another reason is private marketplaces (PMPs), where advertisers are spending the most money.

What’s the Difference Between Client-Side and Server-Side Header Bidding?

When a lot of advertisers connect straight to the header bidder wrapper, it runs a lot of JavaScript on the page. This makes the page and ad load times take longer. Different people will bid at different times, so the sale can only go as fast as the slowest bidder.

In a client-side header bidding process, publishers can try to limit the number of demand sources that can bid. However, this goes against the main benefit. The whole point is to get more people to bid in sales so that the price goes up before calling the publisher’s web server.

Google AdX and server-side header bidding in general fix the latency issue by holding the auctions on remote cloud servers. Instead of the user’s browser making the bid requests,the ad server sends them to all the appropriate SSPs. Publishers still need to add a small piece of code to their site.

How Advergic Can Help You Setup Header Bidding?

You can get higher cookie-match rates, higher CPM rates, more transparency, better-targeted ads, and a higher total fill rate with Advergic’s client-side implementation. Everything is good, so everyone wins.

In the ad operations area, header bidding integration has been a huge step forward in programmatic technology. Making it easier for people to buy ads has given publishers more power, made things clearer, and helped them make more money from their ads.

With header bidding, advertisers can also get good results. They now have better access to and awareness of all of a publisher’s ads, which lets them bid on premium ads that they could only get through direct sales before. 

When it comes to advertising technology, Advergic is an expert. We help publishers all over the world with header bidding. Find out more about our header bidding services right now by getting in touch with our team. 

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