The Best AdSense Alternatives for Header Bidding in 2021

Have you been considering partnering up with a header bidding provider to monetize your website? With publishers seeing a 20-50% boost in earnings when switching from networks such as AdSense, it’s certainly become an enticing way to monetize.

Though it can be tempting to just jump right in with the first company you see that seems appealing, it’s best to consider all of the options available to you first. Fancy buzzwords like “machine-learning” can certainly sound exciting but shouldn’t distract you from finding a premium partner who uses similar tech. For the sake of your money and your site quality, it’s important to understand what actually makes a good header bidding partner.

Our Recommendations

Best Overall Newor Media is a great choice for publishers of all size. With a all-in solution, you can get advanced header bidding running quickly and easily, with some of the best customer service in the industry. Learn More
Best Enterprise Freestar has established themselves as a strong choice for enterprise-level publishers, with advanced ad tech tools and solutions. Learn More
Best Self-Service Index Exchange is a solid choice for publishers who already have their network relationships and want control of their bidding system. Learn More

Demand Partners 

One of the most important factors to consider when deciding on a header bidding provider is the quantity and quality of their network partners. Having a wide variety of potential bidders that provide high-quality inventory to fill your ad units is instrumental to ensuring that earnings are as strong as they can be. 

Having a diverse stack of networks bidding on your site also ensures that the ads that are shown will draw from a large pool of advertisers. Some even offer direct deals that can further boost CPMs and potentially stock your site with ads that are directly related to your content!


On the technical side of things, it’s important to consider whether the network you’ve chosen implements their tech client-side or server-side. Client-side rendering often provides a better cookie-match rate but can lead to a poorer user experience due to higher latency.

Server-side rendering allows for more demand partners by ignoring the limitations of a site-visitors browser, ultimately delivering a quicker experience.

If the provider offers both, be sure to discuss with them what implementation will best suit your needs. Using the wrong implementation could handicap your site and limit earnings!

Support And Services


If you’d rather not get too involved in the technical side of your site and generally leave it to someone else, you should ask any potential header bidding partners if their product is self-service or a managed-service. Oftentimes self-service partners will provide a wealth of resources and instruction on how to get everything set up, but ultimately implementation will be left to the publisher.

A managed-service provider, on the other hand, will take care of everything for you and ensure that everything is running smoothly. It’s important to ask questions, and even some self-service providers may be able to help you set everything up – just make sure you’re aware of any fees!

Additional Services

As there are many factors that go into how successful a header bidding setup can be, having a knowledgeable and responsive support team can go a long way. Unless you’re an advertising veteran, there’s a good chance that you’re missing out on some of the best strategies for ad placement and viewability. A good partner will help to optimize these things and provide advice on how to make the best of the space on your site. 

Navigating privacy laws and regulations can also be a daunting task, and that process should be made completely painless by your header bidding provider. Having a partner who will do most of the heavy lifting allows you to spend more time focusing on making your site the best it can be!

Customer Service 

Above all else, a good customer service team is paramount to having a good experience with header bidding. Ideally, you would end up with a company that offers dedicated service representatives that are able to answer any questions you may have in a timely manner. Be sure to do your research, and you should be able to tell pretty quickly whether or not business will treat you more like a partner and less like just a customer.

Payment Structure & Policy

There’s no better feeling than being secure when it comes to payments. Knowing that you’ll receive your earnings every month without any hoops to jump through can make your experience significantly better, so it’s important to find a header bidding provider with a track record of good payment history.

Take note of any service fees or contractual commitments that a provider may offer. It’s common for companies to take ~15-20% of total revenue for their own. While you may be tempted to find a partner with a lower revenue share number, be sure not to sacrifice quality for that extra 5%, as you may lose more due to lower overall revenue!

Additionally, be clear on the payment terms that companies will offer. NET30, NET60, AND NET90 are all common options, so make sure what you’re getting works with your budget and finances.

Privacy Laws & Protection
Data Protection

Data protection is a growing concern across all digital channels, and with these concerns come the rise of new privacy laws. To avoid mishandling data or violating laws, publishers should look for a header bidding vendor who offers a fully up-to-date Consent Management Platform. The right provider should make your site compliant with most current privacy laws and regulations across both the EU and the US.

Ad Fraud

No header bidding vendor is without susceptibility to ad fraud. As a publisher, you need to know what proactive measures are in place to protect your ad inventories. An ideal provider will have a combination of manual human checks and technical measures to block ad fraud. If a vendor outsources ad fraud to a third-party ad fraud detection company, be sure to get as much information as you can on their services. 

Brand Safety

Header bidding providers have a responsibility to adhere to your brand/site standards. Publishers should rest easy knowing the brand they’ve worked to achieve won’t be tarnished by inappropriate or cheap advertising. A header bidding team should be able to whitelist and blacklist advertisers that cause any issues 

Reporting And Analytics

Beyond a ‘just show me the money’ type arrangement, you’ll want a partner who provides you with transparency through reporting and analytics. Having access to metrics such as eCPMs, viewability, and revenue can help you gauge not only whether the provider is doing their job well but can highlight room for improvement in your ad strategy. Be sure to ask what kind of reporting they offer and the turnaround time for receiving it. If a company works with a third-party header bidding analytics provider or offers a slow turn-around time (more than 24 hours), it can be tough to notice problems quickly and come up with a fix in a timely manner. 

Getting Started

While there are a ton of header bidding providers out there, hopefully, the information above will help you choose the right one for your website. Be sure to cut through the fluff of trendy buzzwords and tech-talk, and make sure a provider is ready to give you what you need. 
Header bidding can make a world of difference when it comes to the revenue you can generate, so if you qualify, it’s best to make the switch as soon as possible! Check out this free earnings calculator to get an idea of what you could be making!