Header bidding adoption continues to increase rapidly. Research shows from eMarketer that 79% of the top 1000 USA websites (ranked according to Alexa) have switched to header bidding in the last few years.
Why are websites switching to header bidding?
Header bidding can significantly boost a website’s ad revenue (27% – 65%). It does this by connecting the website to more advertising platforms like Amazon. You can compare header bidding to beginner monetization tools like AdSense with our AdSense revenue calculator.
What is header bidding?
Header bidding is a technology that lets publishers offer their advertising inventory to multiple SSPs, ad exchanges, and ad networks at the same time.
This increases the publisher’s revenue because the advertising demand sources bid against each other as they try to win impressions.
With header bidding solutions like Snigel’s AdEngine, the advertiser with the highest bid wins.
This means advertisers have to pay more to outbid each other and win impressions. As a result, website owners get more revenue for their ad inventory.
Types of header bidding solutions
When the demand for header bidding technology increased, advertising technology companies, like Snigel, created header bidding solutions. When choosing a header bidding solution, publishers should consider which features are important to them. Header bidding solutions can include:
Client side header bidding plus server side header bidding
While client side header bidding helped publishers increase their ad revenue by 28% on average, it also created issues with latency and page load speed. Server side header bidding solves these issues with lightning fast ad auctions and fewer ad requests. However, it has not been able to match the revenue level client side header bidding delivers. As a result, the most efficient header bidding solutions, like Snigel’s AdEngine, now use a combination of client side header bidding and server side header bidding to maximize ad revenue and page load speed.
Adblock usage is continuing to rise with 763M devices blocking ads as of December 2019. Header bidding solutions with anti-adblock technology are able to sort devices into two groups: devices without an adblocker and devices with an adblocker. For devices without an adblocker, the header bidding solution will serve ads as normal. For devices with an adblocker, the header bidding solution will serve high-quality, whitelisted ads. This lets publishers recover ad revenue where they previously would have received nothing. If your site has a high level of anti-adblock traffic, ask Snigel about how our anti-adblock header bidding solution could work for you or read our anti-adblock guide here.
Many publishers have seen their time-on-site increase but have been unable to take advantage of this because their ads are only served once – when the page loads. Header bidding solutions with a Smart Refresh let publishers serve ads multiple times based on user interaction, page engagement, and time on site. For example, websites could serve new ads when:
- Users change tabs
- Content finishes rendering
- Users move their screen after a set time
- A game finishes playing
- Users click after a set time
- A news ticker finishes running
Advanced header bidding solutions are able to serve new ads based on these custom triggers without reloading the whole page. Some solutions, like the Snigel Smart Refresh (SSR), can also check the viewability score of the ad unit and the bid level (CPMs) from advertising demand partners before deciding whether to refresh the ads. As a result, the header bidding auction can be set to run again and refresh ads only if there is an overall positive financial impact for the publisher.
Google’s search algorithm is continuing to factor in a website’s page load speed. If a header bidding solution has asynchronous tags, it can load the page and the header bidding stack simultaneously. Since this does not block the page from loading Google does not penalize the site. Publisher’s using Snigel’s AdEngine header bidding stack were able to hit 99/100 for page speed on desktop and 96/100 for page speed on mobile devices with Google’s Page Speed Insights tool.
Header bidding auctions open your ad inventory to bids from multiple advertising demand sources such as Google, Amazon, IndexExchange and AppNexus. Most header bidding companies use a long list of these SSPs and ad exchanges. As a result, they should have comprehensive anti-malware technology embedded into their header bidding stack. Anti-malware scanners detect and remove ads that contain malware before they are displayed on the publisher’s website.
Header bidding solution customization
Header bidding solutions can be customized to favour page load speed or revenue. By adjusting the number of bidders in the header bidding auction and setting auction timeouts, header bidding companies can improve performance to meet the publisher’s requirements.
Video header bidding
Native video has been shown to increase time-on-site, user engagement and ad revenue. It can work for publishers even if they don’t have their own video content as high-quality syndicated content is now easy to obtain. Video header bidding providers like Snigel can install native video players that run pre-roll or mid-roll ads through header bidding auctions. Publishers using native video should expect to see revenue levels at least 3x higher than those provided by standard display ads. If you’d like to include native video as part of your ad strategy, work with a video header bidding provider.
The best header bidding solution
The best header bidding solution for your website will depend on the features you want to access. Do you want to use server-side and client-side header bidding? Do you want a smart refresh? Snigel is a full service header bidding provider that works with over 200 of the world’s largest websites including SimpleFlying.com and MakeTechEasier.com. If you meet our entry criteria we’d be happy to provide a free assessment of your website and discuss how our header bidding solution could work on your site. Contact Snigel here.
About the Author
Ben is Snigel's Head of Publisher Success. He works on business development and marketing - spreading the word about how Snigel can help publishers supercharge their ad revenue.
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