What is header bidding and why should a small business care?

Instant ad gratification
Open 21 Registration

Upcoming event: See how our commerce options can help your business adapt to the shifting landscape at GoDaddy Open 2021 on September 28.

Register for GoDaddy Open 2021.

If your small business is focused on creating content and sharing it with others, such as a blog or news site, you are a publisher. Though not all sites use ads to monetize their content, many publishers use Google AdSense or work directly with demand partners (advertisers) to add rail ads, skins and banner ads on their site. If ads are a way that you make money from your website, or you use ads to sell your products on other sites, then you don’t want to sleep on header bidding. So, what is header bidding? Read on to learn the essentials.

What is header bidding?

Header bidding is an aspect of programmatic selling, where a lot of the work that connects buyers and sellers is automated. Essentially, a publisher with digital ad space on their website alerts multiple buyers at the same time. Those buyers then bid their best price to fill said space. The highest bidder wins the spot, and their ad is displayed in the ad unit.

This is all completed via code and ad servers within a matter of milliseconds.

 

Header bidding is an answer to the problems publishers encountered with the traditional waterfall structure. In that scenario, publishers offer impressions to one vendor at a time, while the value of the ad decreases as they go further down the buyer chain.

What Is Header Bidding Pubwise
Photo: pubwise.io

Why you should care about header bidding?

If you run any programmatic advertising on your site, header bidding can make you more money.

Under the traditional waterfall structure, publishers had to run down a list of buyers, which resulted in longer page load times — also known as latency. In the world of high-speed internet and microwaves, if there’s one thing people hate, it’s waiting. If a page took too long to load because the publisher’s ad server was desperately running down a list of buyers, the user might exit out of the page before the process is complete — which means money and opportunity lost for the publisher.

With header bidding, everyone bids at the same time, so pages load faster.

What if I’m not a publisher?

If you sell ads, header bidding works to your advantage, too. If you advertise your products on sites that support header bidding, your ads are much more likely to be seen.

What Is Header Bidding Spotlight
Photo: Oscar Keys on Unsplash

The traditional waterfall structure tended to be a “good old boy” network, where buyers who spent the most money usually got first pick of all the ads. This kept other buyers, including those who would have paid more for the ad or had a better-matched audience, from having a chance to bid at all.

Header bidding evens the playing field because everyone — regardless of size — bids at the same time.

 

If you’d like more answers to the “what is header bidding?” question, head over to PubWise.io or schedule a demo today.

Stephen has been involved in internet development for more than 20 years and ardently believes that the best days of human connectivity are ahead of us. In addition to founding PubWise, he also built Launch Media Network — the parent company of Gamer Launch and GameSkinny — Sig Launch and Unfavinator.com. He is a technological visionary who is constantly building online tools to meet various needs.