Did you say, in-app header bidding?
In-app header bidding is nothing but when mobile publishers sell their ad inventory through parallel ad exchanges. For a long time that happened through a method called waterfall technique where in simple words, you try & sell unsold inventory through various ad networks stacked in a waterfall style. So, if you are unable to sell some premium inventory yourself, it will be passed on to premium ad networks and still if that inventory or some of it doesn’t get sold, it get passed on to other ad networks and so on and so forth. So if a network bids $1 for an impression, and sits higher up the waterfall, the publisher will never see a bid of $3 that another network down the waterfall would have made – because they never got the opportunity to bid. Waterfalling had its own share of problems like a lot of manual optimization was required from publisher’s side and a lot of inventory was left unsold.
Problems like these and many others called for a new bidding method which gave birth to in-app header bidding. Like any other system, header bidding also has its own share of problems because app world is very different from desktop or browser environment. In words of Yogin Vora, Performance Lead at HDFC Life, “…there are too many integrations which need to be done to enable header bidding. It is limited only for CPM buys, so no CPC deals can be done, and finally in-app header bidding is not enabled for Video inventory”.
Prashant Nandan, Associate Vice President- Digital Trading & Buying at Amplifi India, on the other hand speaks in favour of in-app header bidding, “…technical hurdles now are gone and the era of in-app header bidding is here. One of the most important drivers towards the revenue for In app publisher/developer is optimizing impression per DAU(Daily active user) & with help of header bidding publishers can reduce latency & increase revenue by increasing the prices of their premium inventory. In app header bidding allows publisher to compete in real-time & aids advertising solution that allows advertisers to see more publisher inventory and that allows publishers’ inventory to be available to more advertisers.”
To help everyone understand more clearly, we want to talk about a very well researched and an interesting white paper titled, “UNDERSTANDING IN-APP HEADER BIDDING”. This white paper is published by PubMatic (a company which develops and implements online advertising software and strategies for the publishing industry) and is available for a free download on their website. It is one of their initiatives to educate and make publishers more aware of recent shifts in advertiser behavior and their spending strategies which gives publishers an edge.
This report gave us an understanding of current mobile ad spends along with latest brand preferences & budgets when it comes to in-app advertising. The report, in most simple language explains the shift in monetization approach followed by mobile apps by doing a comparative analysis of the old waterfall system of monetization and the new in-app header auction system. The white paper also explains how exactly header bidding works and why is the method particularly beneficial for mobile apps. The report also helps in evaluating in-app header bidding options.
The most interesting part of the report is towards the end where you will also find a cheat sheet which will help you find right bidding partner. There are some simple questions which will help you understand whether you have been able to reach full monetization potential or not.
In a nutshell, in-app header bidding overcomes a lot of problems which publishers faced in previous models. In-app header bidding is going to stay and probably will see a mass adoption sooner than expected. According to Nandan, “We are living in mobile-first world, it is prerequisite for in-app space to have a bidding model that has been proven to augment revenue for publishers & bring transparency to advertiser.”