What are the pros and cons of header bidding?

Before leaping on to discussing Header bidding, let us first deal with the question of what is Header Bidding. Header bidding is an improved programmatic method which serves as an alternative practice to the Google “waterfall method”. It is used by publishers to offer inventory to a number of ad-exchanges at the same point of time before making any call. The idea is to increase the yield and to make more money by the publishers by allowing them to bid on the same ad-inventory at the same time.

So as mentioned above before discussing the advantages and disadvantages of header bidding we must see the process of inventory filling to get an idea of it in totality.

Process of Filling inventory:

In this, the direct-sold inventory is given a priority over the program-driven inventory. Your site must contact the ad-server, and it serves as the available inventory. For example, let us take Google double click as an ad server for waterfall sequence, this process will automatically prioritize the unsold inventory to the top-ranked ad- exchange as the rest of the list follows.

The ranking is generally based on the size, saying that it sometimes happens that the biggest ad-exchange might not be paying the highest price every time. Therefore, if the inventory is not assigned to the highest bidder, it may affect the total revenue in return.

Google complicates the process a bit more with the inventory allocation with Google ad-exchange.

Here the Google DFP uses a feature using which, it is possible to outdo the highest bidder by as low as just a penny. This is a shortcut process to win bids because at most times Ad-Exchange gets the last bid.

PROS of Header Bidding:

Publishers can benefit from the header bidding particularly, rather than the typical strategies of Google because they can have auction from all the bidders simultaneously, which allows getting a higher bid than general. The pointers below may be useful in understanding how this works.

  • Simply increasing the prices of the premium inventory will give higher revenue to the publisher.
  • The publisher has the last right to choose a bidder from an auction, and if required, you can choose a particular bidder, numerous times.
  • Discrepancies are generally not found in this as only a single auction happens in Header bidding.
  • The whole process is very transparent, and so the advertisers can make an informed decision about the inventory. It is as simple as, if you want a premium inventory, you obviously must bid on the higher side.
  • The accessibility is ensured to be transparent and equal to every advertiser.
  • Based on a single supply-side platform, caused less yield on the previous occasion. So, with header bidding, the impression can be assigned more smartly, and fill rate can be increased as well.

CONS of Header Bidding:

  • With header bidding, the loading of the page gets a bit delayed as scripts are required for header bidding.
  • Browser compatibility is a must while doing a header bidding. Client-side header bidding also requires code changes. This sometimes makes it difficult for the advertiser to participate and in exchange, the number of bidders falls.
  • While implementing client-side, the most common issue that is faced is duplicate bidding. This makes the number of bidders less as one bidder can make a number of bids which clogs the bidding and makes it unfair or futile as an auction.


Discussing all the advantages and disadvantages of the header bidding, it is now clear to you, what to keep in mind while using header bidding. As it goes with all things there have to be some cons but measuring both; header bidding will obviously give you a great hike in revenue as a publisher.

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