Header Bidding

Better Monetisation with Header Bidding

Increase ad revenue by simultaneously collecting multiple bids from a variety of demand sources each time a new impression is available

Header Bidding

Header Bidding Optimization – A Step by Step Guide

Learn how header bid optimization for better ad revenue and performance with our step-by-step guide. Boost your advertising profits with ease

There’s no doubt that header bid optimization can help publishers maximize their ad revenue and improve their website’s overall user experience.

As header bidding allows publishers to offer their inventories to multiple demand partners simultaneously, it becomes important to be well-versed with the nitty-gritty of header bid optimization.

This sophisticated process ensures that publishers are getting the highest possible value for their inventories. The end result is, of course, increased CPMs for publishers.

Since the inception of header bidding in 2015, it has been receiving a steady adoption rate. In fact, out of one million websites with the highest traffic, 2.6% adopted header-bidding technology as of June 2022. 

header bidding optimization
Image Source – Statista

Similarly, among the top 100,000 websites with significant traffic, 8 percent utilized header-bidding technology, and among the top 10,000 websites, this figure rose to 12.5 percent.

But is it enough to just implement a header bidding setup to get better ad revenue?

The answer is a resounding no.

For starters, implementing header bidding is technically complicated. On top of that, it requires constant monitoring and innovation to keep the setup yielding better results.

Hence, in this post, we help publishers in understanding what challenges are associated with header bidding. And how they can improve their performance.

But first, let’s take a look at the most common challenges publishers usually experience with header bidding.

Importance of Header Bidding Optimization

Maximizing the benefits of header bidding requires a proactive approach to optimization, especially when your revenue declines.

By staying ahead of potential issues, publishers can ensure a seamless and profitable advertising experience for both themselves and their users.

Here’s why you need to keep a close eye on header bidding.


Header bidding latency is a well-known issue, often the primary challenge associated with it. Latency generally means increased page load time, slow loading of ad creative, increase in time for getting bids from the bidder, etc.

Technical Complexity

Another recurrent problem with header bidding is the technical complexity associated with it. Even though wrappers (like Prebid) have made its implementation much simpler, there are technical complications that still occur.

Apart from these two challenges, many publishers are unable to stick to the right container technology.

However, publishers can overcome these challenges. Here’s how publishers can perform header bidding optimization for better results.

Best Practices for Header Bidding Optimization (bid optimization strategy)

Without proper optimization, the full benefits of header bidding can go unrealized. To help you get the most out of your header bidding setup, here are some best practices to follow for optimal results

Consider Managed Services

Starting our list of header bidding optimization practices with managed services, with this approach, publishers have two options:


  1. Either implement and maintain Prebid themselves (i.e. through in-house developers) or 
  2. Opt for a managed header bidding service.

Publishers who have previously implemented complex and custom header bidding in-house can stick to the former.

They might be at an advantage in maintaining header bidding personally since they are aware of customizations suited to their needs.

But in-house management takes time and consumes resources.

If time and resources are not abundantly available, then we recommend such publishers to use Managed Header Bidding services. Such services further offer features that make both the initial implementation and maintenance of header bidding easy.

Also Read: In-House vs Managed Ad Tech Services

You shouldn’t look at an existing solution and ask “how can I retrofit that technology to solve my business challenges? Instead, you should look at your business challenges and ask “how can I work with a technology provider to develop the best possible solution to achieve my goals.

Kevin Haley, Chief Scientist, Videology

One of the best advantages of working with managed services as a part of your header biding optimization is upgrading to new Prebid versions. It’s because upgradation is a tiresome job involving technical complications, and publishers can end up delaying it.

This can negatively impact monetization since they are missing out on the latest optimizations and features of Prebid

Transition to Server-Side Bidding

Publishers, these days, have options to choose from client and server-side header bidding

The server-side option has recently been presented as a solution to latency issues caused by client-side setup.

Page latency can occur from having to call multiple demand partners directly from the browser. S2S bidding, however, makes one call that pings all the bidders on the server-side.

This ensures that ad load time is reduced for providing users with an enhanced experience and facilitating higher viewability scores

Switching to server-side bidding though is a concern for publishers, as cookie match rates are comparatively lower with this bidding type. This can affect revenue generation.


However, the ad tech industry is quickly heading towards a post-cookie era. Google Chrome has already promised the sunsetting of third-party cookies since 2022. Hence, this issue will not hold meaning within a few years.

Prebid, the most popular HB wrapper, has a server-side solution called Prebid Server with additional benefits such as better transparency, reduced page latency, unified auctions, support multiple demand partners, etc.

Also Read – What are Header Bidding Wrappers? How Do They Work?

Implement Innovative Ad Formats

Implenting innovative ad formats as a part of your header bid optimization can work work wonders.

Traditionally, publishers have used header bidding for banner ads. However, website users have learnt to subconsciously ignore such ads. This phenomenon is commonly called banner blindness

However, several innovative ad formats have entered the ad tech industry, and render publishers with much better revenue. Some of these include outstream video ads, native ads, sticky ads, etc.

These ad formats can help retain user attention, thus offering much higher CPMs as opposed to traditional formats. This can boost header bidding performance by offering better inventory potential to the demand partners.

Several publishers partner with an ad network that provides header bidding (like AdPushup). We encourage such publishers to assess whether their desired ad tech partner offers multiple innovative ad formats or not.  

Check out some innovative high-impact ad formats that AdPushup offers: Innovative Ad Formats

For including innovative ad units, publishers need to implement certain changes in their header bidding wrapper. 

Ad units need to be called out in the header by entering ad unit sizes and identifier codes in the header. The place for entering these parameters depends on the wrapper that a publisher is using. 

For example, if a publisher is using Prebid as their header bidding wrapper, the edits will have to be made in the variable “adUnits”. The publisher will also need to put in unique parameters for bidders who will be serving ads on these ad units. 

Optimize Ad Layouts

You’re probably missing out on a lot if you’re still not experimenting with the ad layouts as part of header bid optimization efforts.

If a publisher is just using standard ad layouts, they are most likely missing out on ad viewability optimization. This directly implies lesser revenue generation.

An ideal way to deal with this is to make sure that ad layouts are personalized for users. 

Here’s how publishers can optimize their ad layouts for increasing header bidding performance: 

1. A/B Testing

We cannot stress enough on how important it is to test your page layout for assessing which ad units gives the best CTR. We encourage publishers to test for page load time, ad formats, ad positioning, and other important factors for improving the ad layout of a web page.

2. Top ad unit

If your top performing ad unit in terms of CTR is not loading faster than others or can be boosted by trying out a newer ad format, you are clearly missing out. This also relates to ad testing wherein you consistently figure out how to boost your top ad unit performance.

3. Location

Ad location on a web page is pivotal to improving ad revenue. Imagine if a reader is browsing through your web page but ads at the wrong places are ruining their experience?

This is why it’s important to test where exactly you should render your ads on a page. As a rule, publishers need to find the balance between aiming for enhanced user experience and earning maximum CTR out of your ad units.

Also Read: Increase your Income Using Ad Layout Testing and Optimization

By taking care of such issues, publishers are essentially inviting a larger number of demand partners, and in turn, avoiding revenue loss.   

Use Prebid as Header Bidding Wrapper

Many publishers today are utilizing Prebid as their header bidding wrapper for their header bid optimization efforts, due to its highly flexible nature which allows for customization to meet their specific needs.

Prebid allows publishers to set up a timeout for bidders. If one of the demand partners is not responding to bid requests in an optimal amount of time, the whole process can be stalled. Furthermore, publishers are free to add their own yield partners via their adapters to various auctions.

Choosing the ideal header bidding wrapper is important for publishers, as it basically sets the rules for auctions. Prebid allows for seamless implementation of header bidding and takes care of latency issues, which is a major issue for client-side bidding. 

You can also take a look at this short video to understand the difference between client-side and server-side header bidding wrappers:

Final Words

It is safe to say that more publishers will be shifting to header bidding in the future for improving their ad revenue. Merely adopting header bidding isn’t enough, it’s important to improve the ad performance by actively keeping up with the header bidding optimization methods.

Publishers need to pay attention to ad layout optimization and innovative ad formats for increasing ad viewability on their pages. Increased ad viewability will encourage more demand partners to bid on their ad inventories. 

Additionally, a proper header bidding wrapper gives publishers the freedom to conduct their auctions in a customized way. With a wrapper like Prebid, publishers are allowed to implement advanced criteria for conducting auctions.

AdPushup’s Header Bidding Solution

Merely deploying header bidding in your ad stack isn’t enough. Consistently optimizing it with technical improvements is the need of the hour. This is what AdPushup’s header bidding solution does. Through our multiple optimization features using data science and machine learning, we help publishers maximize their yield. 

With our header bidding solution, you get: 

  • Automatic demand partner selection according to optimum requirements
  • Smart timeout management
  • Freedom to bring your own demand
  • Bid monitoring and discrepancy resolution 

So, schedule a demo today and see it in action!

FAQs – Bid Optimization

1. What is bid optimization in header bidding?

In header bidding, bid optimization is a process that refers to increasing the revenue and filling the ad space by optimizing the bid parameters and algorithms that are set forth by the demand partners.

2. How does bid optimization helps in increasing the revenue for publishers in header bidding?

Bid optimization helps publishers maximize their revenue because it allows them to get the highest possible value for their ad inventory. By optimizing the bid parameters and algorithms of demand partners, publishers can attract the highest bidding demand source to display ads. 

Furthermore, bid optimization can help improve fill rates by identifying and addressing any issues with demand sources that are not bidding or underbidding.

3. What are the latest trends and developments in bid optimization for header bidding?

There are multiple methods publishers can use for effective bid optimization. These include header bidding wrapper solutions, auction time bidding, Server-to-Server (S2S) Integration, and more.

Not to mention, publishers should be well-versed in the parameters and algorithms of demand partners. All of these practices can be quite complicated, therefore, enlisting support professionals can be considered a feasible solution.

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