blog Header Bidding

Guide to Header Bidding Wrappers

I’ve coated header bidding from a couple of totally different angles on this website prior to now few months, from the way it works and helps publishers earn more income, to documenting how specific corporations combine with actual publishers. One key component that I’ve been missing although has been the subject of header bidding wrappers, which are increasingly necessary for publishers, especially these working with a number of partners directly.

What are Header Bidding Wrappers?

Header bidding wrappers present quite a lot of key technical and operational benefits that help publishers work with multiple header bidding solutions directly.  Typical and expected options of a wrapper embrace an asynchronous container to ensure all partners have their bid requests triggered at the similar time, a universal timeout setting to handle how long the browser waits for bidders to respond, and companion specific “adaptors” that permit the wrapper to translate all bids into a standard key value for the advert server.

Step-by-Step, the consumer calls the publisher net web page (1), which responds with the location content (2), a part of which incorporates the header bidding wrapper’s code.  When the consumer calls that wrapper code (3), it instructs the consumer to make an asynchronous call (4) to one or many SSPs or other header bidding built-in companions (5).  Those bidders every hold their public sale as they usually would and respond to the consumer (6).  The wrapper (which the consumer has already rendered) then takes these responses and codecs them in the request to the ad server, which the consumer now makes (7).  Lastly, the ad server makes it’s choice and responds to the consumer with the final advert (or redirect).  If the advert server decides to fulfill the advert with a header bidder’s line merchandise, a further macro in the artistic tag tells the consumer to render the precise tag from the proper bidder.

The picture under is the exact artistic tag you’d implement with a wrapper as an alternative of a vendor’s.  For non-technical people, it primarily says, “if you want to render an ad, tell the user to lookup whatever ad tag was associated with the winner’s response”.  It uses the sample macro in DFP (%%PATTERN%%) which is useful to reference dynamic variables you need to move into your advert request.

header bidding wrapper creative

I think of header bidding wrappers as a stripped down model of a tag management answer designed for header bidding use instances. They sometimes don’t present a consumer interface like a tag management system would, but they have numerous key technical and operational benefits that help publishers work with many header bidder partners directly, identical to tag administration solutions help publishers work with many various monitoring pixel corporations directly.

Publishers who work with multiple header bidder (and why wouldn’t you?) can benefit from using a wrapper answer, and there are lots of in market to choose from, as detailed lower down in this article.

Benefits of a Header Bidding Wrapper

Critics of header bidding tend to focus their ire on two major considerations; operational setup and latency, each of which are professional points. Header bidding is definitely a more technically complicated integration to handle than a waterfall setup, and may actually decelerate your website for those who don’t manage the attainable influence on latency by way of a timeout setting. Not solely that, however one poorly carried out companion can destroy the setup for different partners and sabotage your complete operation. Consider it or not, this is likely one of the causes the wrapper was developed in the first place, for top efficiency distributors to shield themselves from decrease high quality integrations at a publisher.

Similarly, header bidding can only provide the revenue benefits of holistic yield management with multiple, and ideally lots of to hundreds of line gadgets that may be painful to setup. Header bidding wrappers have been created to assist publishers manage these main pain factors.

  • Central Timeout – Some header bidding partners allow you to set a timeout, and some don’t. However, in the event you place each associate’s code in a central container you can set a timeout for, then you possibly can shield your website from hanging whereas waiting for a response from a problematic bidder. Even for the partners that may let you set a timeout, it’s an annoying prospect to have to manage that configuration in multiple locations and makes it simpler to make a mistake in case you plan to check your timeout setting (which you need to).
  • Asynchronous Container – For me, that is the first advantage of a wrapper. Most publishers implement their advert server with asynchronous tags, which means the consumer doesn’t have to watch for the advertisements to load to ensure that the location content material to load. And the thought right here is identical, however with an added rub. Maintaining your header bidding code asynchronous to the page keeps your ad expertise asynchronous, however it additionally ensures one header bidder can’t block one other bidder’s code from loading.  Think of it this manner; when you have 5 header bidders, and four of them come with an asynchronous tag by default, however you set them under a synchronous tag, then none of these other four partners can even begin their process before the primary associate’s code is full and their response has come again. This may take 1000ms or more, which puts your companions on uneven footing. Having the ability to put all header bidding tags in an asynchronous container solves this drawback. You need to use tools like the Headerbid Skilled Chrome plugin (image under purely illustrative) to see how tags take totally different amounts of time to load, and start loading at totally different occasions, giving them an obstacle.

Headerbid Expert Example

  • Consolidate Line Gadgets – Once I checked out header bidding for the primary time, my preliminary response was sympathy for the publisher aspect trafficker that had the lousy process of manually creating the 10,000 line gadgets that have been put in place. Now, they didn’t have to create fairly so many, and today most header bidders will help create these line gadgets mechanically by way of advert server APIs, however line merchandise creation and management continues to be a serious concern. For one, since each header bidder is utilizing a special key-value parameter of their setup, they each need their own set of line gadgets. Meaning each time you add a associate, you’ve gotten an enormous quantity of trafficking work to do, or you might have to provide admin entry to your advert server to facilitate creation via the API. And at the least when it comes to DFP, you’ll be able to’t setup an infinite number of line gadgets – even premium accounts are often capped at 65,000 or so. Wouldn’t it’s easier then if the companion specific key-values might one way or the other be abstracted into a standard parameter? This manner, publishers solely have to setup line gadgets as soon as for all companions, even if they add or remove particular ones down the street. That is one other key function of a wrapper, in that it has logic that finds the very best response from any associate and injects that response into the ad request by way of a standard key. Then, this widespread secret is what the road gadgets use for concentrating on. Add or remove whatever bidders you want within the wrapper, the key stays consistent and the road item concentrating on by no means wants to change as a result of the wrapper supplies the interpretation layer.
  • Simpler to Add / Take away – For all the reasons above, a header bidding wrapper makes it far easier to add or take away a header bidding companion for ad operations. The wrapper protects you and your customers from crappy know-how, and your ops workforce from painful setup work. In other phrases, wrappers make header bidding scalable across many partners.

Cons of a Header Bidding Wrapper

Unfortunately, it’s not all unicorns and rainbows when it comes to header bidding wrappers and there are some downsides to using a wrapper. I personally assume they’re far outweighed by the benefits, but simply so you understand what you’re stepping into:

  • Preliminary setup – there’s extra setup work to do, a minimum of initially to use a wrapper as a result of you’ve to understand how to configure the wrapper and what it helps and doesn’t help. This can be a minor funding in my experience, and one which pays big dividends in the type or turn-key operational work thanks to the widespread key-value a wrapper can present to the advert server.
  • Companion stickiness – One of many important advantages of header bidding to the writer is that it commoditizes the SSP service and makes it straightforward to add or remove companions at any time. The identical can’t be stated, at the least to the same degree together with your wrapper. Strip out your wrapper and you’ll have to change line merchandise concentrating on, change configurations, and usually have migration work to do. That makes the wrapper one of many stickiest elements of the header bidding enterprise, and little question while every companion is dashing to set up their very own know-how as the standard.
  • Associate Resistance – This is the large one. As you’ll find in the event you begin to work with wrapper solutions, many bidders don’t want you to put their tag in a wrapper. For my part, there are a number of reasons for the resistance; one one hand, many corporations feel like they have to effectively help someone else’s know-how. In the event you put company A’s tag in firm B’s wrapper and it doesn’t work, your first cease is probably going company A, they usually’re the only ones with the actual incentive to get it to work. That’s fairly unpopular with the implementation groups at these numerous corporations and may take in numerous time.   Not solely that, however ought to the wrapper upgrade its code or make a change that breaks company A’s integration, the entire process has to begin over. Yuck.

The opposite principal cause I see on the market for associate resistance is that many bidders are suspicious wrappers facilitate knowledge assortment by the corporate that owns the wrapper know-how. One of many huge shifts in header bidding for SSPs is that they not have good information of why they didn’t win an impression. Have been they outbid? In that case, by how a lot? What’s the going price for the publisher’s inventory? All that knowledge was obtainable in-house before to a waterfall companion, and now it’s fragmented throughout many corporations. The wrapper presents a bit of know-how that’s in a fantastic position to acquire that knowledge and push it again to the wrapper house owners, giving them a knowledge advantage over different corporations. Amazon and Criteo particularly have been talked about in the press as requiring their answer to sit outdoors of a wrapper answer.

Due to this, my belief is the endgame in wrappers will go the best way of OpenRTB, where the IAB defines requirements of how the wrapper should work, what it should and shouldn’t be allowed to do, and makes it far easier for everyone to understand and really feel like they have collective ownership over.

Who Supplies Header Bidding Wrappers

There are numerous corporations that present wrapper options for header bidding, and inside the yr I’d anticipate that nearly every company that may work as a header bidding companion may have their own wrapper. Under is an inventory of choices to think about.

Header Bidding Wrapper Logos

  • Prebid.js (incubated at AppNexus): I’ve contributed to this challenge! Prebid.js was initially developed at AppNexus however is now one of the solely open source solutions, which suggests you don’t have to be an AppNexus buyer to use it, and that there are lots of publishers and unbiased developers contributing to the source code. As of time of writing, there have been 8 releases and 23 contributors.
  • Pubfood.js (incubated at Yieldbot): this is the one other open source answer in market at present to my information, and perhaps probably the most extensively advertised one in market as nicely. As of time of writing, there have been 14 releases and three contributors.
  • IndexExchange’s HeaderTag: a really nicely documented answer with some fascinating features like encrypted costs.
  • OpenX’s Meta: Simply introduced final week, OpenX’s Meta answer is unique in that it’s a server-side wrapper, which suggests the browser doesn’t deal with the communication between each header bidder, however somewhat a server does. This may clearly have advantages on latency, though it might also require specific help from companions. Will probably be fascinating to comply with this one because it has more time in market.
  • Contango’s (aka Technorati) SmartWraper: to my information this was the primary wrapper answer out there, and is claimed to supply some analytics providers as nicely. I admit I don’t know a lot about it.
  • Sovrn’s HeaderSuite: My information shouldn’t be robust on this answer either, but from the look of the location, Sorvn appears ambivalent on how publishers integrate with their answer and gives a number of approaches.
  • bRealTime’s Biddr+: bRealTime (a part of CPXi) announced their wrapper answer in January of this yr and has a useful matrix of options documented on their website.
  • Others: Based mostly on this AdExchanger article there are supposedly other wrappers on the market or in improvement from corporations like Rubicon, and Pubmatic, but with out public dealing with documentation it’s arduous to say what they do or don’t supply right now.

Features to Look For in a Header Bidding Wrapper

In the event you’re contemplating working with a wrapper answer, there are a couple of key options I’d advocate paying attention to.

  • Payment Construction – The open source header bidding wrappers are utterly free, though they are probably the most stripped down when it comes to help and service as nicely. These are properly suited to more technically adept publishers, and publishers which may need to customize a solution with out having to construct it from the ground up. Different vendor-specific options sometimes include a payment, which might be value it for the additional help, analytics, and other worth add providers.  That stated, for my part it doesn’t make sense to pay a volume-based charge for a wrapper answer as a result of there’s no determination the wrapper needs to make.  The code for the wrapper should sit on a really low cost CDN service, or must be potential for the publisher to host themselves.
  • Transparent – Should you use a wrapper, you need to ensure you have some audit rights over the way it works and may validate that it does in truth provide an equal enjoying subject. To that finish, in case you are utilizing a consolidated key-value for operational purposes, you still need to find a way to log every bidder’s response to your ad server as properly for analytical functions.

Are you working with a header bidding wrapper?  Which one and the way has the experience been?  Please depart your feedback within the comments for everybody’s profit!