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.

And, no sooner has it slithered in to notoriety, the tactic is being tipped for greater things. So, what is it, and what comes next?

“There is code on the header of the page which looks at the user, values the impression, and that gets sent in to the ad server,” explains Rubicon Project’s seller accounts VP Ryan Mulcahy in this video interview with Beet.TV.

“It increases yield by letting all demand compete in real-time, which wasn’t happening outside of DfP prior to header bidding.

“Header bidding allowed us to move away from the waterfall – (previously), you would guess what CPM you would get for certain inventory, get a block to it – whatever wasn’t filled would move down and move down (through auctions).”

On Beet.TV lately, we have covered how industry executives are starting to talk about header bidding as the next wave of programmatic – another dimension that makes the underlying technology more powerful still.

Mulcahy thinks industry adoption, after the initial confusion, is now crossing a threshold. He thinks it is the development that will finally help convince media companies still operating on the old, manual “insertion order” (IO) model to make the programmatic switch.

“We’re getting in to a timeframe for ‘header bidding 2.0’, if you will,” he adds. “Initially, it was a race to get everybody understanding it, hooked up on it, embracing it. That’s happened. Most publishers are using header bidding or are going to. Now we can talk about, ‘Oh, what can I do with this?’

“Sometimes, technology gets ahead of the strategy. Now we’re having really good conversations about ‘How can we take this header bidding tool and make it strategically enhance what we’re trying to do to sell advertising?’”


This video is part of Beet.TV’s coverage of the IAB MIXX Conference, 2016, presented by The TradeDesk. Please find additional videos from the Conference here.

IAB MIXX Conference 2016, presented by The TradeDesk