How Does Header Bidding Fit into your Overall Ad Ops Strategy?

Header Bidding
Last updated: August 13, 2020 | by Kean Graham
Header Bid Auction

This post was most recently updated on August 13th, 2020

True programmatic efficiency is almost close to impossible with the rise and fall of new technology in the advertising spectrum.  As they say, there will always be room for improvement. The evolution continues and this time it has challenged the biggest advertising giants in the industry with the rise of a more advanced mechanism: Header Bidding.

Related Read: 13 Ad Tech Experts Discuss The Future of Adsense Alternatives

This technology gives the buyer access to the most premium inventory before any ad network (including Google!) in your ad server. A true win-win for both publishers whose main goal is to improve yield; and for buyers who want the best impressions.

Header Bid Solution: What it is and how it works?

We’re sure you’ve heard of these names – header bid, pre-bidding, holistic yield management, advance bidding system, and Tagless header (even so it still requires some tags to be plugged in).

Simply put, a header tag is injected into the site. When the page header loads, the tag is called before it is sent to the ad server. In effect, the header bidding applies more pressure to the DFP and AdX dynamic allocation set up. It’s the real alternative to Adsense or Ad Exchange that one might think the ad tech industry is waging a war against Google.

Here’s a clear illustration of how a header bid solution works with DFP and AdX on the dynamic delivery setting:

How Does Header Bidding Fit into your Overall Ad Ops Strategy? MonitizeMore

The Header Bid Solution is able to give advertisers access to the most valuable impression, buying this at a far higher rate than what’s offered on the exchanges. Advertisers are now starting to acknowledge that this header bid technology is able to give them an opportunity to reach the right audience, as well as cherry-pick the impressions before Google does.

The best thing about it is that publishers get the most out every impression for a 100% fill without the worry of a waterfall passback, constant floor pricing/monitoring, and impression discrepancy issues in the daisy chain.

Related Read: How to Create Passback URLs With CoffeeCup: 10 Simple Steps

Pros and cons of the Header Bid technology


  1. Great revenue yields for publishers
  2. Publishers are able to set price points to increase overall CPM performance
  3. No need for waterfall passback set up
  4. Access to premium advertiser base


  1. May affect page load speed as the header tag loads before the content
  2. Complicated integration set up – definitely not plug and play
  3. Not all publishers are qualified to run it due to volume requirements
  4. Valuable information leakage of your audience

Despite the disadvantages, publishers attest that the header bid is a solution that one should not miss. This claim comes after they have tried the technology, as well as other strategies like Programmatic Open Markets, Exchanges, SSPs and even Private Marketplaces

Our recommendation

Should you try it? Oh, definitely!

It’s mostly available to SSPs and Exchange partners or through buying platforms. But before you jump in, here are some things to consider first:

  • Do you have the volume requirement?

OpenX Header Bid, for instance, requires 100 Million Monthly Impressions to qualify

  • How much average CPM does your site deliver?

This information is important when setting up the price points. You do not want to underprice your impressions when they cost over $10 or more.

  • Do you have someone to help you with the setup?

The setup of header bidding is a bit different and requires thoughtful ad optimization planning.

The ideal Header Bid strategy

Our idea of an optimal setup is to run the Header Bid with a strong stack in DFP to receive impressions that have not been filled on tip:

  • Top-level premium impressions will go to the header bid alongside:
  • Enhanced + Dynamic Allocation via AdX using optimized price floors,
  • Flat CPM full-fill partners to compete with ad network partners,
  • Exchanges with price floors to drive competition; and
  • A safety net to catch all impressions at the very end.
  • These are aside from your direct ads.

We at MonetizeMore currently have this set up with a percentage of our premium publishers. We’ve seen incredible increases in performance as a result.

TIP: For publishers who do not work with any ad server, the Header Bid technology will now allow you to run your current Google or 3rd party tags in the most optimized fashion.

Related Read: Top 8 Ad Servers For Publishers

The challenge for publishers

Some important questions, and most likely the biggest concerns of publishers are:

  • Where and How to avail of the Header Bid solution?
  • Also, what if you do not have 100 Million monthly impressions?

Stay tuned because MonetizeMore will soon be offering this solution, especially for publishers who can’t get into Ad Exchange. If you are looking for a real Adsense or Ad Exchange alternative; or simply want to complement your Google tags with premium campaigns, apply now as our Premium Publisher.

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