Video Header Bidding: What Every Publisher Should Know
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Video Header Bidding: A Beginner’s Guide for Publishers

Our vocabulary seems to be constantly expanding in the digital marketing world. As technology advances, advertisers and publishers have more chances to improve their monetization efforts. One buzzword on their minds is certainly video header bidding. This is a technique that helps publishers earn more revenue from their ad inventory. Although it has been present for a while now, it’s only recently that it gained more traction in the industry.

Advertisers were mostly focused on programmatic video advertising before it emerged. However, programmatic selling proved to have its drawbacks. Among them are ad fraud and lack of control. So, online advertising came up with header bidding. Although revolutionary, it was still a mystery to the industry experts in 2017. Namely, eMarketer revealed that only 21% of marketers had a good understanding of what header bidding was and what it could do for their businesses.

The percentage is probably higher now. Namely, technology companies are increasingly starting to offer this technique to their clients. But, if video header bidding is still Greek to you, we’re here to help you. Let’s delve deeper into this technique and show you why you might want to try it out.

We’ll cover the following in this article:

Let’s start!

What Is Video Header Bidding?

Video header bidding gained traction as a workaround to the standard waterfall method. As you know, publishers used to mainly rely on waterfalling back in the day. Here, a publisher’s inventory is sold in a sequential order. In other words, this technique calls one demand source at a time, one after another. However, this wasn’t good enough for the advertising world. Namely, the process of passback in the waterfall method meant that there was no competition for ad impressions. In turn, publishers had a lower overall yield.

Unlike waterfalling, header bidding lets the demand sources compete at the same time for ads. Of course, publishers produce higher revenue because of this. It’s sort of a win-win situation for both advertisers and publishers. Advertisers have equal opportunity for ads, while publishers earn more ad revenue.

Find out how you can maximize your ad revenue with Brid.TV’s Marketplace.

In a nutshell, video header bidding means that publishers have a chance to offer inventory to multiple ad exchanges simultaneously before sending the requests to ad servers. Publishers have a lot more control over the process and who they sell their ad space to. This is exactly what they have been looking for.

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Now that we’ve gotten the basics out of the way, let’s see how this technique works.

How Does Video Header Bidding Work?

Video header bidding comes with two methods: server-side and client-side. As these methods slightly differ, it’s important we understand how they work. Let’s see below.

Server-Side Video Header Bidding

In server-side video header bidding, it is the server-to-server header bidding vendor who initiates the auction. Basically, this means that the server accepts the bids and holds the auction. So, every bid response received from the demand sources will go to the vendor. This vendor selects the winning bid and sends it to the header bidding wrapper.

At this stage, the wrapper forwards that bid to the ad server. Then, the server compares the winning bid with others it received from direct deals and private marketplaces. The goal here is to find the highest bid. Once it does, the server sends a video ad to the player.

This whole process improves user experience because it reduces page load time.

Client-Side Video Header Bidding

Now, we move to the second method: client-side video header bidding.

When a video player loads, the header bidding wrapper calls the supply-side platforms (SSPs) or ad exchanges. These two platforms send the ad request to the demand partners, asking them to start bidding for video ads. The SSPs and ad exchanges send the bids to the header bidding wrapper. The wrapper examines them and forwards the highest bid to the ad server. Here is where server-side and client-side methods are the same.

Namely, like in the server-side method, the server is simultaneously receiving bids from other marketplaces. After comparing them all, it selects the highest bid and sends it to the video player.

What Is a Header Bidding Wrapper?

We’ve been throwing the term header bidding wrapper a lot above. So, we’d be remiss not to explain it as well.

A header bidding wrapper is the framework that makes the header bidding process possible. It organizes buyers and lays down rules for the auction. In this way, it simplifies the process and minimizes complexity. Don’t worry, header bidding partners usually provide the wrapper to handle each request. If not, you can always go with open sources that provide it, like Prebid.

We’ll finish our discussion on this wrapper with some of its important features:

  • It can add or remove different demand partners from the auction
  • It can set a timeout for each header bidding partner
  • With the wrapper, you can ensure that all partners receive the bid request at the same time

Benefits of Video Header Bidding

Video ads are more effective than display ads. In fact, 52% of marketers agree that video is the content type that produces the best return on investment. But, together with header bidding, this medium generates even more impressive results. Let’s see below.

Maximizes Yield

Every week, 78% of people around the world watch videos. This figure is enough to prove that you should add videos to your marketing campaign. If you’re already on the video bandwagon, then consider header bidding as well. Here’s why.

Some reports say that header bidding boosts cost per mille by 50%. So, as a marketer, you can drive better ad yield if you implement header bidding. In fact, 61.3% of publishers say that this technique maximizes their ad revenue.

Increases Fill Rate

According to one survey, 57.7% of publishers state that video header bidding increases their ad fill rates. Nowadays, the demand for ads is high. So, it’s important that publishers take every opportunity to display an ad.


Video header bidding allows for greater transparency than programmatic video advertising. As a publisher, you can always see how your bidders are performing with the help of analytics tools. This opportunity to see how the auctions are unfolding is an added plus for the publishers.

Now, we’d be remiss not to mention that video header bidding is also available on Brid.TV’s powerful platform.

Video Header Bidding With Brid.TV

Brid.TV acknowledged that overly-complicated implementations were too costly for publishers. So, that’s why we developed a state-of-the-art video player bidding technology to help you grow your business further. Not only that, but we also partnered up with the leading names in the industry. Namely, the Brid.TV ecosystem is compatible with SpotX and Prebid.

Both SpotX’s header bidding and Prebid’s header pre-bidding are implemented into the Brid.TV player which simplifies and speeds up monetization. Once embedded on your website, the player will request an ad call from either SpotX and Prebid. With the help of these two platforms, our clients have access to top-level ad inventory.

Furthermore, the process is very much like the one we mentioned at the beginning of the article. In other words, our system gathers bids from multiple demand sources before calling the ad server. It matches all bids against each other and then selects the best one for you.

With our system, you can boost ad performance and, in turn, achieve better return on investment. For more on video header bidding, click here.