Thought Leadership

2019 Will Be the Year of Mobile… Header Bidding

January 3, 2019
By Alexandra Smith, Product Manager

From a consumer behavior standpoint, mobile has become a norm and advertisers and publishers now operate in a mobile reality. We can all agree that the frequently coined, “Year of Mobile,” has come and gone. But there are continue to be areas where mobile technology is catching up to its desktop predecessor. Header bidding represents one such key area, but not for long. It’s a space where we’ll see a tremendous amount of progress in 2019.

Most publishers are familiar with the header bidding concept and how it works, but very few mobile publishers—and even fewer mobile-first publishers—have fully committed to header bidding yet. Up to this point, mobile publishers have experimented with what currently passes for in-app header bidding solutions. They’ve spent the past couple of years dipping their toes into header bidding but for the most part, these solutions are still trafficking within a waterfall environment and do not represent true header bidding solutions.

Mobile publishers recognize that mediation leaves a good deal of money on the table, and 2019 is going to be the year that we see many of them get over their initial hesitancy and commit to making header bidding work for their apps. In this regard, certain solutions are likely to garner more attention than others.

Opening the In-App Header Bidding Floodgate

Going into 2019, we’re going to see other solutions in the market open a lot of publishers’ eyes to a world without a mediated waterfall. This newly spurred interest will give way to broader experimentation within the in-app header bidding space.

Here at Rubicon Project, we expect this interest will lead to a notable uptick in interest around Prebid’s header bidding solution for mobile apps. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Prebid represents an open-source solution that is particularly attractive to app developers, who value the transparency and fairness of such environments.
  • Prebid allows developers to tap into multiple demand sources through a single SDK.
  • Prebid will support all ad formats across devices by the end of 2019.
  • Prebid is an exceptionally lightweight solution. And once the SDK is installed, all configurations can be managed server side.
  • Prebid represents a true in-app header bidding solution that moves beyond the waterfall and levels the competitive playing field for bidding on app inventory.
  • Any SSP (or even DSP!) can build adapters into Prebid, and publishers can turn them on server-side as they see fit. This provides a lot of flexibility to publishers for testing and measurement.
  • Prebid’s mobile adopters to date have largely been SSPs known to work with premium brands vs. the performance-driven advertisers commonly brought in through other mobile SDKs.

In 2019, mobile header bidding will evolve from experimentation to best practice for mobile publishers. Rubicon Project is committed to supporting this important path to better monetization for app publishers. It’s one of the reasons we’re a founding member and active supporter of Prebid.org. Through these efforts and others, we’ll continue to advance the field of header bidding, with mobile-first publishers top of mind.


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