The number one concern most people have with header bidding is latency. Many publishers fear that header bidding will slow down their page--damaging the user experience--or delay the creative--lowering the number of impressions served. These fears are legitimate. Header bidding causes both types of latency. In fact, these issues are so important, header bidding is facing existential questions of its long term relevancy as Google, OpenX, and others pursue server-side bidding solutions.
Let’s take a look at how the current header bidding flow typically works and the latency impact of each step:
The latency caused by header bidding falls into three categories:
Bid, creative, and page latency are bad for the entire industry. They worsen the experience for users, lower revenue for publishers and SSPs, and reduce the amount of quality inventory available to bidders. Latency is a tax that we are all paying, and it is within our collective control to fix it.
A simpler model would have the wrapper gather the bids directly. It would look something like this:
Header bidding arose organically. The differing approaches taken to implementation developed by various header bidders spurred incredible innovation. At this stage in the game, however, the next level of innovation requires coordination.
For wrapper developers, this means laying the groundwork for direct API integrations with clean, universal adapters that bidders can build toward.
For bidders, this means working with wrapper developers on a method for consistent, API-based integrations.
The stakes for lowering the bid, creative, and page latency caused by header bidding could not be higher. Server-bidding is coming. And it’s most important value proposition is lower latency. If header bidding is going to survive, latency must come down.
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