Header bidding emerged as a key trend for display in 2015, but given the inherent complexities associated with video, it’s only natural that header bidding for video didn’t emerge until at least a year later. And it’s those very complexities that dictate how header bidding for video is different from display. To begin however, we’ll cover how the two are similar.
Header bidding, whether for video or display, both seek to compete as many demand sources as possible, including both direct sold and programmatic, simultaneously in a unified auction. Ultimately, this increases competition and drives up CPMs for publishers. It’s worth noting that all of this can be achieved without the tech heavy and somewhat clunky inclusion of header bidding. As long as a publisher works with an ad server that does parallel ad decisioning and can plug all their demand sources into that platform, there is no need for header bidding.
So what other similarities exist between display and video other than the overall objective? The presence of header bidder partners and associated auctions, as you can see below.
However, what happens on the back end of video header bidding is firmly different than display. To begin with, there is no header in a video player. While the header on a page in display advertising is what houses the code that enables partners to transact programmatically, the header doesn’t play that role in video. Instead, the video player houses code and acts as an intermediary between the publisher’s website and demand sources.
In addition to the backend mechanics being different, there is another notable area of difference, and concern, for video header bidding vs. display: latency.
Maintaining fast, efficient trading can already be arduous even with a simple format like display. When you add on the complexities and weight of video, managing the efficiency becomes much more difficult. Video ad creatives can easily be 1000 times larger than display creatives, which makes it difficult to manage the process in the same way. In display header bidding, lightweight creatives are cached in the header, making them instantly ready for demand to be called. Due to the large associated file sizes, the same isn’t as easy with video. In addition, IAB-compliant VPAID tags can exacerbate the problem.
Likewise, often video header bidding doesn’t occur until the user clicks the play button, which means the auction occurs while the video player is loading, not while the header loads. So while display has the opportunity to execute its header bidding process while the page loads and the user may have some tolerance for loading times, video doesn’t have that luxury.
Latency is further compounded by the fact that with header bidding, upward of 10 concurrent transactions can occur, in real time, after the user clicks the play button. This comes in addition to the fact that those transactions are competing with the video content that is also downloading. This can majorly slow down all these concurrent processes and ultimately result in a poor user experience. In some cases, this can even result in page abandonment, causing the publisher to lose the opportunity all together.
Header bidding is definitely trickier business for video than it is for display. Publishers should keep in mind that in addition to the increased complexities, latency can pose a serious threat to the overall effectiveness of their sales strategy. This makes it all the more important that publishers work with tech and header bidder partners that they trust and that are invested in their success and creating a positive user experience.
Interested in learning more about video header bidding? Check out more of our header bidding resources:
- What is Header Bidding?
- Server-Side Header Bidding vs. Client-Side Header Bidding
- What is a Header Bidding Wrapper and How Does it Work?
- SpotX Launches New Tools to Integrate Third-Party & Proprietary Header Bidding Solutions
- Compete Demand Holistically with SpotX
- Everything you need to know about video header bidding
Leah Brite, Director, Product Marketing