OpenX’s School of Programmatic kicked off Cannes Lions on Monday afternoon with a full house on the rooftop of the Palais Des Festivals ready to dive into “Understanding Header Bidding.” Julia Smith, General Manager from Symmachia Alliance, moderated a lively panel consisting of Jason Fairchild, co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer at OpenX, Jason White, Vice President of Programmatic Revenue from CBS, Oleg Korenfeld, EVP Ad Tech and Platforms from MediaVest and Adrian D’Souza, Vice President of Global Operations from Quantcast. The topic, of course, was header bidding and the transformative nature of the technology for the ad tech world.
Starting with the basic question of what is header bidding and why publishers should adopt the technology, the discussion touched on topics ranging from the challenges of adopting header bidding, to the issue of latency, the benefits of header bidding for buyers as well as what comes next in header biddings evolution. The statistic that makes the most compelling case for header bidding was noted by Jason White that header bidding increases publisher yield by 30-50%. On the issue of latency and containers, while reducing the weight on the page is a priority, Adrian made the important point that waterfalling was worse for latency than header bidding and that to ensure reduced latency, publishers must set their multiple header tags to fire asynchronously.
In responding to the question of what’s next, Jason Fairchild predicted that long term, header bidding is going to move to server-to-server which reduces weight on the page, and that this will also extend to mobile and video –”weight matters and getting that off the page is a real advantage.” He also noted that the the future of header bidding is going to be piping premium demand into programmatic. The panel ended with all participants agreeing that header bidding is where things are heading and that publishers, ad tech companies and buyers must learn about and invest in the technology in order to anticipate future success. The takeaway from the session, even if header bidding was initially just a tool for publishers to maximize revenue, in practice it’s become a technology that equally gives publishers and buyers what is valuable to them — for buyers it’s increased access to premium inventory that was previously reserved for guaranteed campaigns and increased reach and for publishers it’s increased yields of 30-50%.