In the early 2000’s, Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) came to the foreground. These SSPs helped publishers aggregate their ad network demand into one platform. In 2017, the rise of header bidding has left publishers with a highly advanced, yet familiar problem: how to efficiently manage multiple demand sources.
If the concept of header bidding is unfamiliar to you, we suggest you view this article to learn more. If you are knowledgeable about header bidding, then you already know header bidding has yielded huge dividends for publishers. The addition of the header bidding wrapper further solidifies a place for header bidding in the publisher ecosystem; however, we must wonder at what cost. Each new header bidding partner boosts yield, but it also introduces more script, complexity, page load time, and creates a setup that is often complicated and difficult to manage. However, technology to help manage the bidding process mitigates the challenges associated with header bidding – welcome to the world of header bidding wrappers. In a nutshell, header bidding wrappers provide operational and performance benefits that help publishers manage multiple header bidding demand.
Features of Header Bidding Wrappers
The main benefit of a header bidding wrapper is that it leverages an asynchronous container to ensure all bidding partners have their bid requests triggered at the same time. The publisher has the ability to set a universal time out to manage the time the browser takes for bidders to respond – referred to as “response time” – and allows the wrapper to translate all bids into a common key value for the publisher’s ad server. The wrapper aggregates all header bidding demand and allows the publisher to customize rules, and manage the bidding process for the programmatic auction all through the wrapper’s script.
Ad server line item creation and management are one major concern with header bidding. For publishers that do not use a wrapper, each header bidder utilizes a different key-value parameter in its setup, and each one needs its own set of ad server line items which further complicates the publisher setup. With the use of a wrapper, all of these key values and line items can be consolidated into one ad server order. Wrapper technology will create these line items automatically through ad server API.
Once the wrapper is in place, it allows the publisher’s ad ops team to efficiently and easily run tests by adding and removing partners. It allows the publisher to monitor performance, a task impossibly complex before the advent of header bidding wrappers, by centralizing data collection, making it easier to analyze bidding behavior and response time. Every bidding partner is held accountable for consistent timeouts and must use the same key values to pass bid information into the ad server, which levels the playing field amongst partners.
Pros of a Header Bidding Wrapper:
- Ability to set timeouts
- Increase page load time
- Increase response times
- Less script on page
- GPT/ad load efficiency
- Asynchronous container
- Consolidate ad server line items & orders
- Easier to add/remove bidding partners
- Consolidated reporting & analytics
Cons of a Header Bidding Wrapper:
- Development work: Skilled developer resources are necessary and often take a lot of troubleshooting to make sure the bidders are efficiently bidding on a publisher’s inventory.
- Page load can be affected if the wrapper is not configured correctly.
- Ad load time can be affected if the wrapper is not configured correctly.
- Direct campaigns can be affected if the wrapper is not configured correctly.
- Not all wrappers have a user interface. Reporting can be challenging and may require a developer resource or custom implementation.
- Header Bidder Partner Resistance – Most bidders accept the wrapper technology as a reality; however, it is likely every publisher will ensure some pushback. All bidders want to be “on page” and not work within a wrapper.
Choosing the Right Header Bidding Wrapper:
Header bidding wrapper technology falls into two categories: open-source wrappers and commercial wrappers.
Open Source Wrappers:
An open source wrapper consists of many publishers and independent developers contributing to the source code. The open source wrapper is not “owned” by anyone, but rather a community of developers that allows you to use the script.
Open Source Wrapper Pros:
- Open source wrappers are free, customizable to the publisher’s needs, flexible, and give the publisher the tools for a true holistic yield management platform.
Open Source Wrapper Cons:
- Monitoring and management need to be built, requiring development work.
Current Open Source Wrappers on the Market:
These are wrappers that are created by the exchanges as well as proprietary solutions created by non-exchange platforms.
- Monitoring and management dashboards
- “Out of the box” solution
- Yield management tools
- Aggregated reporting
- Cost associated with use
- Lacks customizability and publisher control
- Gives the wrapper access to data from all the partners in the header
Commercial Wrappers in the Market: