Should I use in app header bidding or mediation?

Header Bidding
Last updated: July 8, 2021 | by Kean Graham

This post was most recently updated on July 8th, 2021

Over the few years, both In-App Header Bidding and Mediation have become the talk of the town for the App monetization. Both of these have Pros and Cons in their own ways. Let’s first see what they each mean.


Ad Mediation (Waterfall Model) is a platform that allows you to display ads on your apps from different ad networks by maximizing the fill rate and increasing the App monetization.

It boosts mobile app revenue by sending an ad request to a series of third-party ad networks in the order of expected yield (waterfall). Each third-party ad network has the opportunity to fulfil an ad request; however, if one ad network fails to do so, the next ad network in the sequence gains the opportunity to fill the requests and so on.

Also, Mediation platforms make it easier for app publishers and Developers to manage multiple ad networks through an SDK (Implement the SDK of each ad network individually, resulting in the increase in app size).

How Google App Mediation works?

  1. Ad Manager receives an ad request from the publisher’s mobile app.
  2. Which line items and yield groups are eligible to serve for the request is determined by the Ad Manager.
  3. Ad Manager establishes a chain of ad networks to request mediation, and then the expected yield of the mediation chain is compared to other line items in GAM.
  4. Ad Manager sends the mediation chain to publisher’s mobile app
  5. Google Mobile Ads SDK sends a request to each ad network and finally an ad is returned. (If none of the ad networks in the mediation chain are able to fill the ad request, the request will be unfilled)

Should I use in app header bidding or mediation? MonitizeMore

To start using Mediation, the first step is to install the Google Mobile Ads SDK in the Mobile-app and then implement the network adapters to connect the app with each third-party ad network used for mediation.

Note: Mediation will only work/ apply for Single Size Ad requests; not for Multi size ad requests. UPR rules and Protections do not apply to Mediation.

Advantages Disadvantages
Increased competition from multiple ad networks Conflict of Interest
Higher Fill rates Increase in App Size
Higher CPM

Header bidding:

In-app Header bidding, also referred to as Unified Auction or parallel bidding, is a sophisticated advertising strategy in which mobile publishers may sell their ad inventory in an auction, allowing all of their advertisers to compete against one another at the same time.

It delivers a variety of monetization benefits to the publishers by flattening the Mediation (Waterfall) setup. With header bidding, Publishers may guarantee they get the highest possible CPMs for their inventory by using in-app bidding, which lets advertisers compete for impressions in real time rather than being placed in a hierarchy of demand partners (like in waterfall).

Publishers usually offer ad inventory to several ad exchanges before making calls to their ad servers. In-app header bidding (or unified auction) allows the app publishers to present it simultaneously to all interested parties, creating fair competition for every piece of free ad space within an app. Owing to the increased competition among the advertisers, In-App Header Bidding has the advantage of boosting CPMs.

Additionally, Header Bidding can scale effectively through server-side bidding, instead of adding an SDK of each ad network like in the waterfall method. Header bidding auction works on the first-price auction model, which means that the highest bidder gets to serve their ad creatives, and they pay exactly what they bid during the auction.

Should I use in app header bidding or mediation? MonitizeMore

In-App Header Bidding
Advantages Disadvantages
Increased demand Increased latency
Full transparency Troubleshooting complexity
Improved efficiency Loss of forecasting integrity in the ad server
Increased fill rates Reports discrepancies

Waterfall Vs Header Bidding Auction, Which is better?

Should I use in app header bidding or mediation? MonitizeMore

Depending on the App needs, any of the two approaches may be preferable, since they both offer advantages in various ways. Header Bidding is the way to go if you want to automate your advertising operations. App mediation may be the best option if you want a more hands-on approach where you can carefully regulate and optimize your ad revenue.

Both mediation and in-app header bidding help publishers of all stripes increase

Revenue, improve fill rates and provide a better user experience.

Both ad mediation and header bidding are excellent methods of generating income from a mobile app. You should choose which method is most suited to your needs and then apply it accordingly.


Now that you have a better idea of the differences and implications of Header Bidding and Mediation, you can decide whether it’s a good fit for your App. Having trouble monetizing your app and implementing Header Bidding or Mediation? We know how difficult ad operation can be to do alone, so let MonetizeMore help. MonetizeMore is a Google Certified Publisher Partner and has helped thousands of publishers realize their Ad Revenue Potential. Subscribe and start today!

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