Escaping the Waterfall with In-App Header Bidding

Post on February 21, 2019 by Kelvin Pichardo

Kelvin Pichardo Senior Director, Product Marketing

The numbers behind the growth of mobile ad spend are staggering; by 2020, at over $113 billion, mobile will outpace ad spend on all traditional media combined. Advertisers continue to shift brand budgets to mobile app to reach consumers that spend 90 percent of their time on mobile devices within apps. Further, brand advertisers have become savvy in using programmatic tools to maximize desktop media budgets and they are looking to leverage these same buying techniques for in-app inventory. This growth is also evident in recent research where 90 percent of advertisers surveyed by Forrester Consulting indicated they plan to increase their programmatic direct in-app budgets.

In-app header bidding has surfaced as an important tool for app developers to overcome the inefficiencies inherent to using a waterfall setup to manage programmatic demand. However, there is more to capturing brand budgets than simply “escaping the waterfall.” As more in-app header bidding solutions become available, app developers need to look beyond the top-line mechanics and focus on the fundamentals of the underlying solution and the company providing it.

How In-App Header Bidding Captures Incremental Revenue

It’s easy to get caught up in the technical details and charts outlining the workflow of in-app header bidding and lose sight of the ultimate goal: capturing incremental revenue from brand advertisers moving budgets to mobile via programmatic buying channels. Desktop publishers went through a period of growing pains when transitioning their programmatic business to header bidding. What many discovered was that the mechanics of header bidding, which involves running parallel auctions ahead of a call to an ad server, was just the first step.

After this first step, desktop publishers started to evaluate different strategies to find the optimal header bidding approach. App developers can capitalize on these learnings by working with solutions, like PubMatic’s recently released OpenBid, which was built utilizing extensive experience in innovating header bidding technologies and strategies.

What App Developers Should Consider in a Solution

Programmatic-first solution

Simply because a solution enables in-app header bidding does not mean you can access programmatic demand partners. OpenBid gives app developers a gateway to programmatic and brand budgets by providing access to over 200 DSPs, agency trading desks, agency deals, demand from Supply Path Optimization (SPO) and preferred partnerships. Additionally, buyers turn to PMPs as a source of trusted and quality app inventory. With solutions like OpenBid, app developers gain access to an ecosystem of programmatic direct deals as well as tools to help set-up, manage, and trouble-shoot.

Server-Side Parallel Auctions (Header Bidding) & Cloud-Based Partner Management

An important component for maximizing yield with header bidding is the ability to quickly react to changing revenue opportunities. By making server-side ad calls to demand partners, in parallel, developers can increase competition for their inventory using real-time pricing data thus overcoming the inefficiencies of the waterfall set-up. Managing demand partners in a cloud-based UI also allows developers to use insights from centralized analytics to add or remove demand sources to manage performance. All of this without requiring additional SDKs, development resources, or submissions to the App Store or Google Play.

Optimized for Improved User-Experience

Acquiring and retaining users is a top priority for app developers. Poor ad experiences can jeopardize these efforts therefore, app developers need to look for lightweight solutions, like OpenBid. Since demand partners are added on the server-side, the number of partners does not impact the file size of your app.

Server-side ad calls and responses are completed in milliseconds without passbacks, dramatically decreasing content load times. Also, by moving the heavy lifting to the server-side, with ad calls and mediation happening outside of the app, there is less strain on the users’ mobile device processing power, battery life, and network capacity.

What’s Next?

By leveraging solutions like PubMatic’s OpenBid, developers can avoid common growing pains and quickly capture programmatic spend and brand budgets. Contact us to learn how OpenBid can offer your business a gateway to programmatic demand and brand budgets.