Client-Side or Server-Side? A False Dichotomy

Post on October 18, 2017 by Marina Gu

Marina Gu
Marina Gu Sr. Director, Customer Enablement

At the start of the year, publishers were told they’d have a decision to make when it comes to their tech stack: keep their client-side wrappers or migrate to server-side. Fast forward to Q4 and we’ve seen publishers try to have their cake and eat it too by implementing a multi-wrapper strategy.

Many publishers will keep a handful of partners in the client-side solution and migrate other partners to server-side. The partners which have been live and doing well in a client-side wrapper will stay there. While additional partners are added to their stack through a server-side solution. Publishers are activating as many as eight to ten partners in the server-side. If you can get more fill without added load on the page, why not?

Problem solved? Unfortunately no, this approach misses the mark.

Instead, publishers looking to take advantage of both server-side and client-side header bidding should implement a single, holistic wrapper solution to get the same benefits, while avoiding the downsides of a multi-wrapper solution.

Where the Multi-Vendor Stack Misses the Mark

A multi-wrapper solution adds complexity to the overall stack setup and management, often negatively impacting revenue and yield. Here are two areas where the strategy of implementing multi-wrappers falls apart.

Setup Troubleshooting & Line Item Creation:

We’ve seen consistent, systemic issues exacerbated by using two or more wrapper solutions.

Simply put, each wrapper provider has a slightly different process of implementation. This causes the ad ops manager to do 2x or 3x the work and quality checks. These implementation errors primarily affect pricing granularity and ad slot mapping and can impact revenue.

These errors are not easy to find, nor are they trivial in impact. At PubMatic, every new issue we’ve identified and solved among existing implementations can increase publishers yield by as much as 30-100 percent – a result that is likely replicated across each individual SSP participating in the wrapper.

Sales Channel Optimization:

More wrappers also translates to more complex sales channel management. With PMP Guaranteed (PMP-G) transactions still nascent, this is not a make-or-break issue. But as direct budgets increasingly transact through programmatic pipes (the Biddable IO), the need for clean implementation is more important. Questions like, “How do I ensure that PMP Preferred, PMP Guaranteed, and Biddable IO bids are all passed through to the ad server for decisioning?” will come to the forefront.

The rabbit hole builds quickly from there… “Am I consistent with how each deal type triggers line items in my ad server?” or “Am I getting all the PMP-G deals to my ad server for decisioning, even when multiple deals are being passed through a single wrapper?”

It’s hard enough to strike a well-performing deal that’s meaningful budget for the publisher and delivers on the buyer’s ROI. Why add unnecessary hurdles with tech layer decisioning complexity?

Holistic Wrapper Solutions are More than Just a Pretty Face

Ultimately, the only way to ensure a clean, optimized solution is to go back to what we all were meant to have in the first place – a single wrapper solution that works seamlessly to call your bidders, passing the final bid(s) through to the ad server. A single point of optimization, a single point of troubleshooting and single implementation, leads to the obvious conclusion of a single hybrid wrapper solution. A hybrid solution allows both server-side and client-side calls in one neat wrapper, bridging the two worlds.

So, what else should you consider when choosing a hybrid wrapper? In a hybrid environment, ease of switching between client-side and server-side will be important. This will let you test and adjust for the optimal bidder setup, balancing yield and user experience.

Look for an open and transparent marketplace. This way, you and your SSPs can have confidence in the fairness of the auction. There are also meaningful operational and technical benefits to a solution that is open-source. Open source wrappers make it easier for publishers, and monetization partners to proactively identify and correct issues. Open source wrappers allow for shared best practices for set up and trouble shooting — providing for rapid resolutions when issues do arise.

Most importantly, choose a solution from someone who you know will be a partner – who can execute well on the fundamentals and who you know will bring new ideas to drive your business forward.

What now?

Whether you are still working with a client-side solution or are venturing into the server-side, you should maintain control of your inventory. Let us know how we can work with you to provide the wrapper solution you need for the open digital media future.