Header bidding is the most efficient way of selling inventory for publishers. After the release, it has been adopted and praised by many publishers and advertisers. So, it won’t be strange to see video header bidding following the same path.
Due to this, vendors are experimenting and providing more options to publishers and advertisers to encourage the use of video header bidding. For example, OpenX, AppNexus, SpotX, and many other popular names have started optimizing their header bidding wrapper for video advertising.
Also, the fact that header bidding is now a preferred method for 75% top publishers. Industry is seeing publishers actively implementing video header bidding for their video inventories.
What is Video Header Bidding?
Video header bidding is a process of making a publisher’s video ad inventory available to multiple demand sources. The process is designed as a solution to the traditional waterfall process earlier used to sell video ad inventory. In waterfall, a publisher’s video ad server is required to make ad calls to demand partners one after another causing latency and reduced yield.
The concept of video header bidding is similar to header bidding in display advertising, but with different execution.
The two ways to conduct video header bidding are client-side and server-side video header bidding. Just like header bidding, video header bidding involves a header bidding wrapper to conduct the auction. Video header bidding sounds a lot like header bidding in display advertising. However, the working process is quite different.
How Does Video Header Bidding Work?
As discussed, video header bidding is conducted using two methods: client-side video header bidding and server-side video header bidding.
In client-side video header bidding, a publisher puts a header bidding wrapper in the header of the website. Then, on the webpage, there is a video player to run video ads. Now, whenever an impression is available, header bidding wrapper calls out the demand partners and conducts an auction on the user’s web browser.
Once a winning bid is selected, the wrapper sends a signal to the ad server. Next, the ad server sends the video ad to the video player which is then displayed on the user’s screen. During this entire process, the video player stays in the loading period.
Server-side video header bidding takes the auction to the server rather than on a user’s browser. Meaning, as soon as an impression is available, the server collects the bids and runs the auction. Once the winning bid is selected, the ad is placed on the user’s screen by an ad server. This reduces page load time for a better user experience. Furthermore, video header bidding works best when implemented via the server-side.
Role of Header Bidding Wrapper?
A header bidding wrapper contains the framework needed to conduct the header bidding process. A wrapper is used to organize various demand partners and defines a set of rules to run the auction. Usually, a header bidding wrapper is provided by a publisher’s header bidding partner. Alternatively, it can also be accessed from open sources like Prebid.js.
Properties of header bidding wrappers are:
- It can be used to add and/or remove demand partners from an auction.
- The wrapper can be used to set a timeout period for each header bidding partner.
- Using the wrapper, the publisher can ensure that the bid request is sent to multiple demand partners, simultaneously.
Facts About Video Header Bidding
Video ads generate better yield than display advertising. Some reports suggest video header bidding increases CPMs by 50% or more. But the profit for publisher highly depends on experimentation (A/B testing, ad optimization and more). Hence, it becomes hard to say whether video header bidding is as beneficial as display header bidding or not.
Also, video header bidding offers a great opportunity for publishers to open up for video advertising, but it is still not the first choice for many. This is because a video impression gets accounted only when a video ad plays on a user’s device.
Moreover, there are two other concerns for publishers using video header bidding: page latency and technical complications.
Page load time increases in case of a video. Since videos are considered as rich media files, they take more time to render on a user’s device. Also, adding this load time to the usual time taken to run an auction for client-side bidding, cumulatively, makes the process more time-consuming.
All a publisher wants is to maximize the yield by selling inventory. We know, both client-side and server-side header bidding has their challenges. Hence, there is no ideal method to execute the header bidding or video header bidding for that matter.
However, to truly maximize the revenue, publishers need to implement and test with the video header bidding. Hence, demand for the video header bidding will increase. Only if the demand increases, the industry would be interested in updating the technology and find solutions for current drawbacks.