Header bidding also reduces friction between marketers and publishers, and it helps marketers improve their forecasting.
Technically, all parties in the ecosystem benefit from the header, according to Andrew Casale, president and CEO, Index Exchange, a supply-side platform and premium media exchange. Casale, like others in his universe, is trying to help publishers become better programmatic sellers. Everyone benefits because the header drives the supply of available inventory.
Still, there's an ongoing concern in the estimated $15 billion programmatic marketplace about transparency. There are more vendors than ever that sit between the marketer and the publisher. A few I’ve spoken to are talking about the lack of transparency in the system -- or the ability to actually trace the path of each dollar and where the fees are.
The problem, as Casale sees it, is that business models in ad tech are in “black boxes." More oversight -- and transparency -- are needed.
Marketers want their media dollars to be working media dollars and to go straight to the publisher, not a middleman. And publishers want as much money as they can get. So you could say marketers and publishers want the same things. The trouble is, there’s a growing consensus that there’s an ad tech “tax.”
“Publishers are asking way more questions about where the dollars go," says Casale. "For example, 'What happens to the bid we’re placing with MediaMath? Can we see the raw transaction logs? How can I validate what I’m getting?’”
Essentially, the issue is: How can what has essentially been a “black box” process be transformed into something publishers and marketers can fully understand? How can they understand the transaction at each step in the process?
The bottom line: The more people ask the question: "What's happening to my dollar?," the better off the media landscape will be.