In our modern digital ecosystem today, each person is connected to at least two to three personal devices that can be targeted for ads. This has led to billions, even trillions, of impressions flowing through OpenRTB “pipes” for video and display ad formats, desktop or mobile app platforms. Fortunately, header bidding revolutionized the industry with every entity bidding for an impression, with the same priority and without getting bogged down by the traditional waterfall model.
However, header bidding has also increased the overall number of impressions available since it ends up sending all partner bids in the auction at the same time. This helped democratize inventory in the supply chain. However, this influx of impressions has also made proper OpenRTB pipe hygiene imperative to reduce operating costs, improve win rates and aid efficiency.
Why Pipe Hygiene Is Important for Publishers, Exchanges and Buyers
While pipe hygiene has overall benefits, the impact and actions are unique for every player in the programmatic space. For publishers, to improve pipe hygiene, it’s important to look at attributes such as viewability, completion rates, and review advertiser blocks periodically to optimize the programmatic revenue. A seller should consider auditing the important parameters it passes to the exchange (e.g. latitude/longitude or device IDs). A seller should periodically review parameters most demanded by buyers and send them through the bid stream to improve the value of their impressions.
In many cases, exchanges act only as pipes and are dependent on sellers to pass these parameters along to the buyers. It would behoove publishers to look at the most unique value propositions of their inventory to better package it for the advertiser. Buyers have started to look at inventory quality closely, so it’s worth having only a few ad slots that make the most sense for the webpage and the user experience.
For exchanges, or an SSP, it’s important to look at the queries per second (QPS) efficiency, measured by “Spend Per QPS”, for each buyer. By reviewing how frequently the buyer is bidding on a specific type of inventory, or blocking low-performing inventory for the buyer (e.g. non-cookied inventory for a web-only buyer), or even removing under-indexing sellers and advertiser blocks for publishers it leads to improved efficiency and win rates for the buyer and platform.
In many cases, money has been left on the table for easily resolvable issues like passing floor guidance or win-loss notifications to the buyer through the bid stream, removing advertiser blocks, or adding and removing sellers in a timely manner. This is an important aspect of pipe hygiene as it improves the overall efficiency and keeps a check on the QPS for DSPs.
Finally, for buyers, to improve pipe hygiene they should look at reasons for lost bids. There could be many reasons for a buyer to lose an auction and, in some cases, it is possible to control the outcome. For instance, many advertiser blocks can be negotiated with the publisher by removing the advertiser from the blocklist or working on a private deal. This is revenue left on the table which be easily cashed if the seller agrees on the blocklist removal.
Buyers, or advertisers, are better exposed to the most desired attributes that can help improve the campaign performance like parameters that can improve video performance or those that can enrich the mobile app bids, such as viewability. It’s key to communicate these parameters to the supply chain so that they can be passed through the bid stream for better results.