5 Important Questions to Ask a New Header Bidding Partner

Header Bidder Questions to Ask your demand partner

Going into 2020, header bidding still remains to be the most popular way for publishers to create a fair auction between all of their demand partners. It can be tough for a publisher to create and maintain a fully optimized header bidding stack with a variety of strong demand partners bidding. eMarketer compiled the data and explains the current state of header bidding which is worth a read. Here are five important basic questions a publisher should ask their demand partners:

they have Unique Demand?

If you go on the Prebid header bidding website, you will see over 150 bidder adapters that you can plug in to your Prebid integration. Many of these bidders are pulling demand from the same advertising exchanges. Make the demand partner explain and show exactly how they are sourcing demand. You don’t want to utilize too many bidders that are calling the same exchanges you already have. When a demand partner sends you their ads.txt file, closely examine the various exchanges they are integrating. Most demand partners utilize some form of OpenRTB demand, but ideally they should be bringing some direct deals, PMP’s or have demand specific to your vertical.

sample of an ads.txt file unique demand

they integrate client and server side?

Most header bidding stacks for publishers are a hybrid client and server to server set up. Generally a publisher with a well optimized header bidding stack will set up some form of a Prebid client side wrapper with 5-8 demand partners along with a server side wrapper such as A9 TAM or Google EBDA with another 5-8 server side. You don’t want to add too many partners client side as it could add page latency on the page while server side offers all the ad calls housed in a server with a set timeout rate. Check out our article on server side header bidding trends to learn more.

are their payment terms?

Some publishers mindlessly sign agreements with a new header bidding partner without actually even reading the fine print in the terms. Before signing an agreement, look to see what the revshare % is and payment schedule.You want to do your research on these companies that you are allowing to purchase your ad inventory now, and pay you later.

In 2019, there was a lot of drama in the adtech industry when Defy Media went out of business and did not pay their publishers resulting in thousands of dollars lost for hundreds of publishers, severely affecting their businesses in many cases. You should also look for sequential liability and revenue clawback clauses to understand if you will still get paid if a demand partner fails to pay the ad network. To reduce collection risk, consider using a company like Oarex who can free up your cash flow by buying your demand partner invoices and paying you NET0.

they offer unique ad units?

If you already have a well optimized header bidding stack and do not want to add additional demand partners to your client or server side integrations, consider adding a custom ad unit such as a slider or video player to unlock a new stream of revenue. There are many companies that offer these services like Underdog Media, Consumable, 33Across and Infolinks.

Example of Underdog Media Custom Ad Units

The great benefit to these kinds of units is that they are highly viewable, generate high CPMs and are able to sometimes rotate both standard display and video on each ad call. Do not be alarmed when these companies provide you an ads.txt file that is similar to the same ads.txt files you already have as this is common among these types of units.

they offer a fully managed wrapper solution?

Setting up a header bidding scratch can be alot of work and take up precious dev resources. Even once the initial set up is complete, you need to be constantly checking your adapter connections, managing discrepancy between Google Ad Manager (GAM) and your bidder UIs as well as updating Prebid to the latest version to ensure all adapters are bidding correctly. It’s a lot of work to manage all of these integrations and sometimes it’s just better to outsource to a header bidding management company that will handle everything for you and take a small cut of revenue.

There are about 100+ companies who offer this service with some of the most popular being Automatad, SetupAd, Freestar, AdThrive, MonetizeMore, Sortable and Ezoic. They all can be a great header bidding partner. Always do your research, read reviews and ask fellows publishers if they have had any experiences before signing with one of these companies.

If you need help evaluating a potential header bidding partner feel free to shoot us an email and we are happy to help evaluate, make introductions or provide general feedback on your ad stack!