Video Header Bidding: Past, Present and Future Growth

Post on July 31, 2018 by Mike Chowla

Mike Chowla
Mike Chowla Director of Product Management, Header Bidding

Both interest in and adoption of video header bidding are rising quickly in ad tech. Video header bidding is already bringing significant yield improvements to early adopters with video inventory.

Growth of Video Header Bidding

The options for video header bidding have improved markedly over the last year. More wrappers are supporting video inventory and the ones that have had video support for some time have improved their offerings.

For example, Prebid.js has added new video demand partners and additional video player integration options. One key innovation has been triggering requests of video bids at page load-time rather than at waiting for the video player to start playing. This practice means video heading often has lower latency than the traditional waterfall. The waterfall doesn’t start looking for bids until the video player starts. Once it starts, it then operates sequentially rather than in parallel as header bidding wrappers do.

Benefits of a Video Header Bidding Wrapper Solution

Expanding the number of partners in a video header bidding wrapper has clear benefits for publishers. eCPMs , of course, rise as additional demand partners are brought in with more competition. For video, another benefit is increasing fill-rate. Many video publishers protect their inventory’s value by setting floors.  Additional demand partners in the wrapper boost fill-rates as there is greater likelihood that any given impression receives a bid that meets or surpasses the floor.

The ideal number partners in a video wrapper is one of those questions that unfortunately only has an elusive answer (for now). As with display header bidding, there are many contributing factors. Each publisher has different needs when it comes to making the latency versus monetization tradeoff—which is at the heart of this question.  For most publishers, a range of five to ten demand partners is about right, with latency-sensitive publishers choosing to be on the low end of that range. Publishers looking for the highest monetization are often seen on the high end.

Some of the early video header bidding solutions only support a single SSP, resulting in sub-optimal monetization. Publishers are best served by wrappers that have a wide set of video monetization partners available.

Challenges Ahead

While the options for video header bidding are better than ever, some challenges still remain.  Both the variety of video players in use and the need to connect players to using code on-page means publishers need software developer bandwidth to do the initial integrations.

Even for client-side bidding, there are technical reasons around how players interact with video bids that means a caching server is usually needed. Needing a server component means publishers who have operated with a client-side Prebid.js now need to decide if they want to host their servers or use hosted vendor solution.

What’s Next?

The future of video header bidding is bright. Server-to-server options for video are likely to expand. Player integrations with wrappers will become more standardized, which will reduce the developer time needed to wire together the player and wrapper. While technology offerings will improve, now is a great time for publishers who haven’t adopted video header bidding to get serious about adopting it.

Publishers who have already deployed video header bidding should give themselves a pat on the back for being early adopters in a technology that improved their yield. They can now look to drive their gains even higher by adding demand partners who can improve their eCPMs and fill rates. Let us know how we can partner with you as you venture into the world of header bidding.