Header Bidding and Tag-Based Waterfall: Is There Room for Both?

Header Bidding and Tag-Based Waterfall: Is There Room for Both?

Header Bidding and Tag-Based Waterfall: Is There Room for Both?


The ad-tech industry is booming with new technologies. In fact, almost every six months there seems to be new innovative solutions entering the market, (i.e., Ads.txt, Header Bidding and GDPR compliance, are just a few of the many examples). While embracing innovation is ingrained in the nature of our industry, it’s also important for publishers to consider the following questions (preferably before implementing the latest technological solution): What happens if it doesn’t bring the added value that was expected? How much revenue will it bring?  What is the needed investment to implement the new technological solution(s)? Does the company have the necessary in-house tech support to maintain it over the long term?

In that vein, let’s take a closer look at how publishers are faring with the relatively new (and continuously improving) Header Bidding technology — and why traditional Tag-based implementation is not only still relevant, but also, popular.

Traditional Tags Gives Way to Header Bidding

More than five years ago, most publishers worked with Tag-based activity. This was the traditional way for publishers, SSPs, and networks to monetize online traffic. Companies would send direct tags in addition to contracts.

Then, Header Bidder monetization solutions came on the scene. And today, more and more publishers are using the Header Bidding method to monetize their traffic.



The Benefits and Evolution of Header Bidding

Header Bidding has proven to be a beneficial strategy for publishers, providing them more than a 15% increase in revenue. However, as the client side Header Bidding main auction happens on the page itself, it has caused web pages to load slower, either after or at the same time as the auction. In response, and with time, improvements have been made. This technology has moved away from the client side to the server auction. With the auction model on the server side, pages now load faster.


The Benefits and Competitive Advantage of Tag Activity

While many publishers see the high level of automation associated with Header Bidding as an added benefit, others prefer the personal touch associated with Tag-based/direct activity. For example, companies that work with Tags, have specialized account managers who provide publishers with personalized attention in the form of someone to talk to and work with. In an industry that has become so automated, this personal touch can be invaluable. For example, for medium and small-sized publishers that don’t have an in-house tech department, having an actual person to speak to and help find new solutions to improve business, negotiate lower prices or rates of impression bids, or explain certain trends can be especially helpful.

Tags clearly maintain their competitive advantage amid today’s Header Bidding environment. As Brightcom offers a 100% fill rate for its direct budgets, they provide guaranteed revenue. This provides a comfortable solution for publishers’ unmonetized traffic. They are also a good solution for remnant traffic, especially compared to Header Bidding, where remnant impressions are not sold.

Another upside of Tag activity is that when publishers buy it with Brightcom’s JavaScript tag, they can be exclusive. This means that Brightcom has exclusive placements over many sites that no one can compete with. Plus, Brightcom’s Tag-based activity increases the competition for bids with Google on its AdX, thus providing a win-win for publishers. For instance, if Google has bidding competition from Brightcom for ad impressions, Google will most likely pay higher prices to publishers. This is a welcome consequence of traditional strategies and innovation sharing space in today’s industry.

Conclusion – When looking forward, also look back

Today, as the industry continues to move forward with embracing automation and technological innovation, the fact that more and more publishers are using both Header Bidding and Tag Activity simultaneously shows that there is a need for both strategies. This is why Brightcom offers both Tag Activity and Header Bidding. There is also still a need for preserving the personal touch, like with dedicated account managers who can personally answer any and all questions that publishers may have. As we head into 2019, publishers would do well to reassess whether traditional or new technological solutions provide the best value for them – and to accept that there is, indeed, room for both.


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