Just when you wrapped your head around “programmatic”, a new variant of the data-driven advertising technology is creeping on to the scene.

In so-called “header bidding“, publishers offer inventory to multiple ad exchanges before alerting their ad servers, intending to garner multiple bids on the same inventory and so make higher prices.

Now the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the umbrella which helps advertisers move through the industry and which has laid down definitions for many formats, is taking an interest in the fledgling tech.

IAB industry initiatives head Joe Laszlo, in this video interview with Beet.TV, describes “header bidding” as “a way to shift the ad transaction on to the web page itself, so that it happens on the client side, in a web browser”.

Laszlo says that’s good because the process “cuts the exchange out of the automated advertising transaction … header bidding creates a much more direct, seamless relationship between the published site and somebody who wants an ad on that site”.

But he acknowledges: “It’s still very new. There’s no clear standardized way to implement it. It potentially affects page load time and user experience.”

So Laszlo is creating a new working group inside IAB to help educate the industry. He calls the process “Header Bidding 101”.

“(We will also) evaluate the ramifications and the business case for the IAB to launch a further project to help standardize how header bidding gets implemented,” Laszlo adds.

Ad-tech vendor OpenX is amongst the pioneers in the header bidding space. And  its recently-announced Real-Time Guaranteed (RTG) system is now connecting with header bidding technology.


This video part of a series about the state of programmatic advertising sponsored by OpenX. Please find other videos from the series here.