Rather than focus on the financial landscape or value, the question should be: What’s next? What type of innovation will come from this relatively new technology? Here are some major developments to watch for:
Quality in focus. Addressing the “hack” chatter, the rise of header bidding has allowed for a renewed crop of demand-side players to gain traction in market. Originally there were five to eight major players, but new companies are popping up weekly, making it more difficult for publishers to understand who is driving incremental results and ensuring quality. The landscape will start to consolidate, ultimately providing clarity on who has unique demand sets, with partners rising to the top of the list for publishers.
A holistic ecosystem for the win. One of the big advancements in header bidding is the rollout of container solutions, offering the ability to integrate numerous demand partners through one script on the page. Over the next year we’ll continue to see more developments in container solutions that offer the ability to control all platform devices and across all formats, including video and native, allowing publishers to scale effectively and efficiently.
Front-end management & controls streamline teams. Setting up header bidding and the ongoing management is taxing on a publishers’ developer teams; publishers are still faced with the dilemma of how much they are willing to invest. Moving forward, we’ll see significant advancements in the type of front-end controls publishers have, allowing them to make updates to their header scripts without making updates to the page. Features and controls like adding or removing new partners, updating floor prices, adjusting timeouts, and setting up programmatic private marketplace (PMP) deals will be controlled by the publisher through front-end advancements—all without increased human capital investments.
Release the hounds with deeper analytics. Publishers’ mouths are watering at the availability of deeper data sets available through header bidding, many hiring teams to unlock the value of their audiences to drive better performance. The one piece yet to be unlocked is the ability to tie in the ad server.
Most analytics platforms today simply provide insights into how each connected demand partner is competing through the container. Publishers will soon have the ability to pull data from their ad server into one analytics suite so they can see the full story. This will allow publishers to have much more effective buy-side conversations when setting up programmatic-direct and PMP deals.
Bottom-line big win: publishers continuing to regain control of their stack and inventory.