This month’s AdTech Thought Leadership series, we are featuring Brian Weigel – General Manager of bRealtime, the programmatic division of comprehensive digital media company, CPXi.
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He answers some of the most pressing questions about the hottest topic in adtech today: Header Bidding. Here’s our interview with Brian. Find out if the ad industry is truly ready for header bidding:
What are the usual challenges for publishers with regards to using a header bid strategy?
Although header bidding has been around for years, it is still relatively new in terms of its potential to transform the inventory monetization landscape. In fact, it is only recently that header bidding has become a hot button topic, on the lips of digital publishers and advertisers. With this kind of adoption curve in full swing, we tend to look at header bidding through the lens of being a newly embraced technology and new technology comes with some recognizable challenges, ranging from development, integration and post-integration decisions, to the effects the technology has on a publisher’s website and, therefore, the ultimate user experience.
To build or to buy: That is the question
The initial challenges come with the first question publishers must ask: Do we build or partner? Some publishers want to hold the keys to managing their demand partners. They want to create their own internal technology and manage the development process. Others feel it might be more valuable to rely on 3rd party providers and utilize industry experts, enlisting managed services that can provide ongoing support.
Next challenge: Latency
Once the strategy to build or buy is established, the next challenges are around latency issues and possible adverse effects from a user experience standpoint. These areas can indeed affect the implementation process and must be addressed before a publisher even begins to entertain the idea of adding on new partners.
There are many challenges a publisher can face, they are no different than the challenges that come with the integration of any new technology. Each strategy for any given publisher can be different based on the goals of the business. Evaluating all the options out there and identifying what’s possible with each is crucial for getting the most value out of implementing header bidding.
What do you think are the challenges faced by header bid providers and networks in offering header bid solution?
How can these challenges be overcome?
Moving forward, the major challenge facing header bidding providers will be whether or not to embrace the idea of container or wrapper solutions, header bidding developments that allow inventory from multiple sources in through one entry point.
Working with your competitors as an offering
Stand-alone providers are going to need to make a decision about whether or not to integrate wrapper solutions that publishers already have in place. While these header bidder providers are currently yielding positive results, most are only running their own marketplace on publishers.
What these providers need to understand is that just as was learned after the original rise of programmatic, working with multiple partners/competitors in the space will ultimately help their publisher clients. Creating more liquidity in the market is not something over which solution providers should be frightened. Instead, they should embrace it as part of their offerings to publishers.
More control and transparency for publishers
Providers must also learn that publishers are ultimately looking for control, or, at the very least, greater access to information. Coming to grips with this publisher need will push providers to embrace strategies like; creating more transparency, having open conversations with publishers about what the buy-side is looking for and working directly with publishers to provide A/B testing.
Where is header bidding headed and where should:
(a) publishers; and (b) header bid providers/networks invest in?
Header bidding is going to continue to become ever more prevalent in the market. Publishers will need to decide whether to make the investment in in-house technologies and teams that will keep up with market innovations or whether to focus on maximizing user experience and invest in strategic partnerships with companies who focus on header bidding solutions.
For Header Bid providers and networks
While there is still a lot of untapped potential on the buy-side that publishers have yet to see with the current integrations, what needs to be understood is that header bidding is really just the piping that allows buyers to cut down the noise between exchanges and other 3rd party providers.
In the long term, header bidding is going to be more of a premium play. It won’t be tied to standard IAB sizes across desktop and mobile inventory. It will allow for the deployment of more rich media focused units such as the rising stars, homepage takeovers and custom ads. These will have better exposure for brands and be more easily accessible to programmatic demand.
The tech providers who are really going to succeed long term are the ones who can cut down that friction between the marketer and the publisher to offer transparent, forecastable and executable inventory at scale.
What do you think is the ideal strategy to maximize a publisher’s ad revenue potential using header bidding?
Each publisher’s ideal strategy with header bidding will be different, based on their goals, ad stack setup, and internal resources. We have found that adding more demand sources through a container solution (whether proprietary, open-source or partnered) that limits latency effects is often a good decision for publishers. Maximizing competition for the inventory will drive CPMs up, providing higher ad revenue. However, the ideal partners, integration, and configuration will differ.
Publishers should make sure that they are educated about the options and ideal setup for their unique situation. This could be via an in-house expert or a consultative technology partner. It is important that a publisher’s header bidding strategy takes into account not only the top line revenue lift that can be generated from a header bidding integration, but also what the additional resource needs will be for integration, optimization, and support going forward.
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About the author:
Brian Weigel is currently serving as the General Manager for bRealtime, the programmatic division of comprehensive digital media company, CPXi.
bRealTime specializes in the integration of technology and services to bring advertisers the results they demand from programmatic buying and publishers the yield they expect. Leveraging over a decade of experience in the evolving programmatic landscape, the division has built vast relationships with quality content publishers as well as a multitude of platform integrations that provide solutions for both demand and supply-side partners.
Throughout his years at CPXi, Brian has been instrumental in building the company’s first formalized Publishing division in all facets of operations and sales on a global level. As General Manager, Brian’s primary focus is to keep bRealTime at the forefront of the industry, ensuring that publisher partners yield maximum value across all forms of media and that demand clients experience maximum buying efficiencies at scale.
Before joining CPXi, Brian received a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Management and obtained a minor in American History from Siena College in New York.