Fyber

Beginner's guide: From in-app header bidding to unified auctions

by Scott Reyburn, Director of Content Marketing

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CH 01

Introduction

It’s rare to see evolutionary change in action because it occurs gradually and incrementally over time. Sometimes, however, those changes can be seen ripping across the landscape like a lightning storm. Such was the case when the digital advertising industry witnessed evolution before its very eyes. In mid-2015, header bidding came to be, shocking the desktop advertising world. Two years later, the header bidding storm had nearly washed away the inefficient—yet dominant—waterfall model, achieving an over 70% adoption rate among the leading North American desktop publishers, while at the same time growing CPMs by the double digits.

 

Desktop publishers were tired of Google’s DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) ad server giving their own ad exchange (commonly referred to as AdX) an unfair advantage over other demand sources in the waterfall, thereby artificially limiting the revenue potential of each ad impression. So the collective of publishers in the digital ad industry stood up and said, “No more.” Publishers’ answer to this bias: header bidding. As the name implies, header bidding took to the header (as in the head element of a website) to circumvent DFP, where an auction would be conducted in real time among preferred ad exchanges—particularly before calling the DFP ad server.

Today, mobile app advertising is undergoing an evolutionary transformation of its own, though it’s an entirely different beast compared to its desktop and mobile web counterparts. Mobile app advertising requires more than just a new auction to improve fairness and efficiency, it requires a complete overhaul—all the way down to its ad serving genetic blueprint.

In this guide, we explain the genetic underpinnings of mobile app advertising’s shift from the sequential waterfall model to a parallel, unified auction, so you can prepare your business for the future of mobile ad buying and selling.

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