Thought Leadership

Building Out Header Bidding Solutions Across Platforms

September 9, 2019
By Nina Harvey and Matt Cunha

From gaming apps, to streaming audio, to rewarded video, mobile advertising is growing: ad spend is set to top $93 billion this year, $20 billion more than TV. With so many ad dollars flowing to mobile, programmatic selling is moving past desktop, and mobile header bidding solutions are cropping up to help publishers scale. For staying power, these solutions must be intentionally developed with certain guidelines in mind.

1) They must be lightweight.

According to eMarketer, apps account for over 90% of internet time on smartphones. For mobile app publishers to connect with demand partners, however, they must implement bulky SDKs in their app, which increases download size, sometimes deterring users from installing the app. Here, initiatives must be undertaken to lighten publishers’ load time and save the user experience. 

One promising arena is server-side header bidding, where the mediation of demand partners is moved to the cloud. A focus on server-to-server technology can keep the footprint light on the mobile publisher side, and improve the end user experience. 

2) They should be open source.

Rubicon Project has become a leader in the community, working continually to bring high performance, open source technology to the forefront of programmatic advertising. 

Open source tools and products are easily adaptable and can be configured to best serve publishers based on their specific header bidding needs. 

Prebid’s header bidding solution can be applied to the most popular platforms and formats, including web, mobile app, native, video, AMP, and server-to-server. As open source header bidding solutions mature in the mobile world, there will be a continued focus put on collaboration and community-led innovation. 

3) They must put publishers in control.

The right kind of solutions give more control to publishers while simplifying ad selling. Rubicon Project approached the development of Demand Manager with this intention in mind. Demand Manager is tech that sits on top of Prebid’s open source wrapper, providing analytics and a rich UI that makes it easy to add and remove Prebid partners, while staying lightweight. 

The same intentional approach we used to develop Demand Manager should be applied to the development of mobile header bidding solutions. Solutions should give mobile publishers more control while simplifying the process of ad selling.

Ultimately, the demand for mobile inventory is only growing. At Rubicon Project, our advertisers are eager to take advantage of growing mobile audiences, and have become more trusting of the mobile marketplace. To best serve our publishers and meet the needs of our buyers, we’re committed to investing in header bidding solutions that are lightweight, open source, and put publishers in control. 

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