what is header bidding

Header Bidding allows all digital ad suppliers to compete in real-time for impressions. Meaning all networks/SSPs/exchanges have equal access to ad impressions - so the highest paying ad wins every impression. The price that they compete at is fair and accurate. No specific SSP or exchange gets preferential treatment. The increased competition generally means advertisers get access to more impressions and can more effectively pick the ones they want. Publishers make more money from their most valuable impressions.


How does it work?

Header Bidding came about because many networks/SSPs/exchanges were not able to compete fairly for impressions. Certain ad servers favour specific ad suppliers – which means they get to choose what impressions they want and the rest get allocated based on manually set priority levels. This is not an efficient system. Without real-time and unbiased competition for impressions you can’t guarantee you are getting the best price.

Header Bidding sends information about the ad request to SSPs/exchanges before the ad request reaches the ad server. Those buyers then get to respond with what they are willing to pay to win the ad impression. This is sent in the form of a key value to the ad server. The ad server can then make a more informed decision on where to allocate the impression. It can see exactly how much each party is willing to pay to show an ad – so the highest paying buyer is selected.

The idea is by letting multiple demand sources bid on the same inventory at the same time, publishers increase their yields and make more profit. Advertisers can access exactly the impressions they want and bid aggressively when they are willing to beat the competition.

Should I be using it?

  • if you have limited dev time
  • if you lack ad technology knowledge
  • if you are unsure of what tech platform to use
  • if you want fair competition for your ad impressions

Header Bidding has been an amazing development for publishers and advertisers. But it is complicated to setup, monitor and optimise. Publift were the first to use this technology in the ANZ market and we have more experience than any other tech partner in region when it comes to successfully implementing Header Bidding. Outsourcing the setup and management of Header Bidding to us will enable you to focus on other things while generating the most ad revenue possible. We are a team of publisher monetisation experts, so let us help you.


See what we can do for you and your site’s remnant advertising revenue. We’re confident we can achieve great things together.

*All results above are estimates based on previous achievements.