Header bidding and wrapper solutions arose to offer publishers a more open and flexible alternative to the closed and rigid waterfall set-up used in programmatic strategies. The phrase “democratization of inventory” is commonly used to describe the effect the technology has had on expanding access to demand sources at the impression level. However, the complexities of the landscape have forced publishers to make compromises when it comes to their header bidding strategies, hampering their ability to effectively prepare for an ever-evolving future. That is about to change.
THE ENTERPRISE VS. OPEN-SOURCE DEBATE
Publishers have increasingly had to choose between two distinct wrapper implementations. The first option leverages proprietary technology with enterprise service, account management, reporting tools, technical support, and more. However, some providers of these solutions charge recurring fees, while others offer their services for free as an incentive to align publishers with their propriety technology, making it more difficult to access broad demand or switch partners.
The second involves open-source solutions, the most widely adopted being Prebid.js, which offers transparency along with a vast number of header bidding adapters created by an active open-source community of developers. However, Prebid (and most non-enterprise open-source solutions) offer limited management tools and reporting, no account management, and support often comes in the form of sifting through posts in message boards.
Publishers are forced to choose between these two options with inevitable compromises required. As the industry begins to transition from client-side to server-side header bidding, the differences between these two choices becomes even starker, adding a new layer of complexity to the already difficult choice publishers have to make.
RETURNING CONTROL TO THE PUBLISHER
Wrappers are becoming an increasingly strategic component of publishers’ revenue strategies, but have grown less “democratic.” We at PubMatic saw the need to add more publisher choice and control to a landscape which was becoming progressively bifurcated. Our header bidding solutions have always offered best-in-class publisher tools with engineering and account support at no additional cost to publishers. Prebid.js, on the other hand, has become the most widely adopted open-source container tag, with over 70 header bidding adapters. The open-source community has solved for the problem of accessing a broad set of demand sources (via header bidding adapters), so we decided to focus on solving for publishers’ need for controls and insights.
THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
To effectively prepare for the future, publishers need the best of both worlds – enterprise-level management tools and support PLUS the scale and transparency of the largest open-source header bidding community in the industry.
To meet this need, PubMatic today introduced OpenWrap. Extending Prebid.js, the solution future-proofs publishers’ long-term strategies by creating a fully-supported hybrid client- and server-side wrapper that leverages publishers’ existing investment in header bidding integrations to increase revenue and simplify partner management, all at no additional cost.
The header bidding ecosystem is continuously evolving, and it remains more important than ever that publishers regain full control of their ad decisioning. To stay ahead of the game and future-proof their strategies, publishers should choose technology that gives them the best of both worlds.