Video Header Bidding for Publishers in 2023

Last updated: January 18, 2023 | by Kean Graham

This post was most recently updated on January 18th, 2023

Before Video Heading Bidding, the preferred auction technique to optimize ad inventory was the waterfall method. Publishers used the waterfall approach to manage their exchange partners serving them in order of highest to lowest priority. In addition, it makes the publisher work with partners to earn more money.

Unfortunately, this strategy is not effective when it comes to increasing ad revenue. There will be yield risk as the publisher’s earnings are based on the assumption of what the impression was worth, but not the actual value that it could have been worth. This means that you can’t get the value of impression-level bidding if your ad server thinks every impression does not work the same thing. Another thing is fill risk. Calling a partner that can’t fill an impression is a major issue so it needs a lot of manual effort, supposedly an automated marketplace. So all of these issues had a domino effect for the publishers as they experienced operation pain due to fill risk and the reason for this was because of yield risk.

To solve this problem, header bidding comes into the picture. Header Bidding is the smarter way to monetize your ad inventory. By allowing publishers to integrate with different networks at the same time. Allowing them to bid against each other simultaneously without preferential treatment, each ad impression is auctioned at the highest possible rate in real-time. Increasing revenue as much as 50%.

Did you know that there’s a new way to auction off ad space on your website? It’s called video header bidding, and it could mean more money for you. But what is it, and how does it work? Keep reading to find out.

Find out more about header bidding here:

How is Video Header Bidding different from Display?

Video Header Bidding is a unique technique specifically designed to work more effectively on video inventory. Previously, publishers would rely on waterfall or fallback setups, so they would run multiple VAST or Video ad serving template ads. This can be a faulty concept because in the world of VAST these wrappers incorrectly return the ad that is serving, then the ad would actually return an auction running inside an ad. The action will basically fail and the result is no video ad’s running.

With Video Header Bidding, the concept is the same as header bidding in display but the implementation is different because it’s another JS code. This technology works with both in-stream and out-stream, plus in-feed and native video formats as well. This strategy opens up publishers’ video inventory to multiple demand sources simultaneously and the auction is actually happening in real-time in the browser. So, we’re getting all these different advertisers to submit their bids and getting the top bids. The auction happens in the wrapper of the web page. Once finalized it goes to the VAST URL from the winning bid to the video player.

How Video Header Bidding Works


Like display ads, video ads have header-bidding wrappers before the impressions are sent to the ad server.

The header bidding wrapper will:

-Invoke all configured bidders

– waits for the bids to come till maximum wait time hits

– selects the highest bid.

When it comes to the publisher ad server, the highest bid is fed in along with targeting keys which will develop a wrapper line item on the ad server. The ad server checks all eligible line items before the final selection. Selection is made depending on the configured price and priority among the line items.

Upon selection of the wrapper line item, the creative associated with the wrapper’s bid will be used.

Benefits of Video Header Bidding

  1. Maximized Yield– Because of multiple demand partners, the publisher is allowed to get a fair price for each ad unit and also monitor the demand partners’ performance. Since Video CPMs are priced higher compared to display ads, it’s proven that video ads drive higher CPMs that could lead to high yielding revenue for the publishers.
  2. Increased Ad Fill rate – The technology is a flexible solution and it allows the publishers to adjust the auction. By simply adding and deleting non-performing demand partners. It’s basically the best tool to secure the best fill rates by optimizing demand.
  3. Improves User Experience – Latency issues will cause poor user experience. Actually, video header bidding increases the “speed to render” a video ad because it can run the auction in parallel when the video player is loaded. It means it reduces rendering time and improves user experience.

Reception and Implementation of Video header Bidding

Display and video header bidding differ primarily in how they are integrated. Display is comparatively easier when you look into the mechanics of the wrapper sending the bid to the ad server & serving that ad. When it comes to video, it gets a bit convoluted when using the client-side wrapper and Javascript to connect the header bidding wrapper to the video player

There are two methods of implementation:

Client-Side –  Once the SSP/AdExchange is called by the header bidding wrapper then the ad requests’ multiple demand partners initiate bidding for video ads. Once the wrapper evaluates the bids, it will select and forward the highest winning bid to the ad server. Then send the video ad to the video player. With Prebid client-side (CS) integrations, we see strong CPM and fill rates for new implementations in particular.

Server Side  – All video ad calls are running in a simultaneous auction that sends the ad request to multiple demand sources. Technically, the server-to-server concept accepts the bids and holds the auction. The main goal is to find the highest bids and the server sends the video ad to the player. This method improves user experience because it reduces page load time and latency issues.

Client-side and server-side integrations come with their own bundle of advantages and challenges. Both methods are almost the same, the only difference is in how the ad requests are managed.

What’s Next


There’s a lot of potential in video header bidding that could offer higher revenues for publishers who want to make use of this goldmine. Today, most publishers are leveraging video ads and considering video header bidding an essential to monetize their content with different solutions since consumption of video ads and their engagement rates have skyrocketed since 2020.

Incorporating multiple header-bidding integrations allows for more control and a smooth user experience. The result is more competition during real-time bidding and more ad revenue for publishers.

Simply put, you can achieve an incremental increase in ad revenue with video header bidding.

Our AdOps professionals can help you implement video header bidding if you Sign up to MonetizeMore today to get started!


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