Header Bidding Adapters Used by Publishers

Before we start you should understand what Header Bidding is. Each SSP (Supply Side Platform) and DSP (Demand Side Platform) has their own requirements. Many of the large tier 1 (high quality premium) partners approve only websites/blogs above a certain number of banner impressions. Therefore limiting options for those who struggle with website visits. Each partner will work different on different geographies, layouts and users. Some of the adapters will work great, while others might do poorly – to make sure the best stack is selected we suggest to do some testing and trying out as many SSP partners as possible.

What is Header Bidding?

It is an advanced programmatic advertising technique that offers publishers to offer their website inventory to multiple buyers simultaneously. Each bidder (partner) is given a chance to bid for the impressions of each banner tag on the website, the highest bidder wins and their advertisement is displayed. This way the most possible revenue is squeezed in a competitive environment.

For publishers that do not have enough direct campaigns this is a great way to offer advertisement space to outside advertisers. Many large websites have gone 100% Header Bidding, but some still have a lot of direct sales and that is when a combination of both can be applied. Meaning, if a publisher has some leftover inventory (impressions) it can be passed back (passback) and sold for cheaper, but this way filling 100% of the available requests.

What does this all mean? Well, because there is so much competition the price of your inventory (ad banners) rises as more advertisers join and start competing for incoming requests. Equal ground means that that every advertiser will be able to have fair chance of serving, unlike the waterfall method.

Header Bidding Partners (Adapters)

Adding many partners gives you an opportunity to be in the one in control of who and when is able to buy advertising space on your website/blog. You can add or remove partners, place floor prices, block certain ads, choose the best possible sizes that can work in rotation to provide the best price.

In order for the header bidding to work you will need a wrapper (also can be called as a container) that helps to run several partners. This wrapper allows to play with the settings on how each partner/adapter works. The most popular wrappers are Prebid.js and Pubfood.js.

For those who have limited understanding in regards to website’s technical side can opt in for a proprietary solution that has already added these partners and has experience in such setup.

List Of Popular Header Bidding Partners

A table below has the most popular tier 1 – 3 header bidding partners that can be integrated, starting from the highest quality including the requirement of the minimum monthly ad banner impressions. The key to success in effectively running header bidding is by utilising the best paying buyers and adding as many strong ones as possible to increase competition. This will differ from site to site and each might require a different setup to reach the maximum potential.

TierPartnerMinimum Monthly Impressions
Tier 1Google Adx90,000,000
Tier 1A9 (Amazon)99,999,999
Tier 1AOL/OATH30,000,000
Tier 1AppNexus350,000,000
Tier 1Criteo10,000,000
Tier 1Index Exchange100,000,000
Tier 1Facebook20,000,000
Tier 1Media Math
Tier 1OpenX100,000,000
Tier 1Pubmatic100,000,000
Tier 1Rubicon40,000,000
Tier 2Adform
Tier 2Sovrn1,000,000
Tier 2Sortable
Tier 2RTB House
Tier 2YieldBot
Tier 3152 Media
Tier 3AdButler
Tier 3bRealtime50,000,000
Tier 3Defy Media
Tier 3District M1,000,000
Tier 3Insticator
Tier 3J Carter Marketing
Tier 3Komoona

A full list of header bidding partners can be found on Prebid.js website. By looking at the list we can see that the top tier SSP’s and DSP’s are requesting the highest amount of minimum traffic in order to get approved. If you do not have so many visitors you can always find a ready made product that has these premium tier 1 exchanges added. Otherwise we suggest to start with ad exchanges (SSP’s) that require no minimum visits and slowly gaining your way to the top tier buyers.

How To Add Header Bidding Partners?

Adding new partners to a header bidding stack depends on the wrapper used. If you have chosen to go with open source projects such as Pubfood.js or Prebid.js then you first need to learn at least some intermediate programming. They have provided instructions and manuals on how to add the bidders/adapters and all the user needs to do is follow the guidelines.

If you have chosen to use a proprietary solution then you do not have to worry about any of the previously mentioned skills. Usually they take good care of each website as they have great knowledge and data to work with. Therefore website setup is quite fast and it is easy to check on what Header Bidding partners are added. To check this you can read this article and see how we check each website.

Always check how many and what Tier the header bidding partners are, if there are only 3-5 added and are low quality then we suggest to try some other product or try for yourself. We suggest choosing a proprietary solution where there are at least 7-10 (tier 1-3) partners added to really take advantage of header bidding magic. Use the extensions and methods suggested in this article in order to check the bidders added.

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About Alvils Karlštrems

Alvils Karlštrems is an Ad Operations Specialist. Knows all the ways how to optimize ad delivery on websites.

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