• Nikki P

Header Bidding: Now a Top Priority for Programmatic Advertisers

In the midst of Covid-19, PubWise discuss the emphasis on Header Bidding as a way to optimize existing revenue from programmatic advertising.


According to a 2018 poll by ad monitoring firm Ad Lightning, 73% of US ad operations professionals cited header bidding as a top trend for improving ad quality. Today, as the world tries to make sense of a ‘new normal’, businesses are scrambling to preserve and optimize existing revenue while identifying new sources of revenue. Publishers are certainly no exception. For years, publishers and digital marketers have built their programmatic ad strategy relying on technology with little transparency. Publishers have tried to thrive in a complex environment of uncertainty, distrust and instability while faced with the accountability of the outcome of their efforts. Header bidding was the first tangible solution to this problem. So, now with this global disruption, things are more complex than ever. It's no wonder header bidding has gained popularity among publishers and marketers.

PubWise hosted a live, interactive webinar, “Header Bidding: a 2020 Outlook” where Founder and CTO Stephen Johnston Jr. shared his perspective of recent trends affecting header bidding as well as modern techniques for prebid management and optimizing demand in prebid analytics. Of the 80% of webinar attendees who indicated they were actively using header bidding, 60% stated they have been using header bidding as a strategy for more than1 year. On a subsequent audience poll question, we asked attendees if they felt they “were doing well keeping up with the changes in programmatic technology” and 0% voted YES, NOT A PROBLEM. In fact, the poll results show that all respondents are struggling to stay up to date, and 22% admitted to having NO ability to keep up.

Since Prebid is a concrete way to accomplish header bidding, Stephen began discussing the major initiatives and evolutions across key aspects of prebid which include:

  • Data: Real Time and First Party Data

  • Configuration: Pricing Floor Model and PreBid Server Cookie Matching

  • Privacy: GDPR TCF 2.0, Turtledove & Sparrow, First Party User Data

  • Supply Chain: SCHAIN, Sellers.json and Safeframe

All of these trends support the position of the publishers and marketers maintaining control and having more visibility into their programmatic stack.


During the webinar, Stephen also highlighted a couple of aspects of Prebid management that’s similar to how a publisher manages GAM. Ultimately the goal is to provide a header bidding workflow similar to classic AdOps operations provided by GAM instead of a code release cycle that is often employed. This allows header bidding to operate in the same business flow as other ad operations.. Testing capabilities is also a critical aspect to ensure publisher expectations are being met.





PubWise offers a variety of solutions for publishers of any size. PubWise clients are able to mitigate these issues by using a patent-pending technology called SPOT - Smart Path Optimization Technology® which relies on machine learning to offer timely insights that automate configurations while providing core analytics that publishers can use for management and optimizations.


According to a 2019 eMarketer article, “US programmatic advertising will account for 84.9% of US digital display ad spending, or $59.45 billion. Double-digit growth will continue for the next two years…” So whether you still use the terms, tagless, universal auction, parallel auction, dynamic bidding, real time advertising targeting, full bidding or Javascript in the header, header bidding took off in 2015 with no signs of slowing down.

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Atlanta, GA 30328, United States

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