Despite the fact that many publishers are adopting header bidding -- and, in fact, the technology is moving from client-side to server-side header bidding -- a new analysis reveals that 12% of Alexa's top 1,000 Web sites aren't using it. That's according to the findings of a study by ad-tech firm GetIntent which found that most publishers (more than 80% of those 1,000 Web sites) have yet to embrace the technology.
As a refresher, header-bidding technology rose as a response to combat Google’s AdX, which historically had the first look at inventory. It meant that Google AdX had a unique opportunity to buy any impression on any Web site, if publishers used Google's ad server (DFP), which dominates the market.
The bottom line is that if you want to have this first look, you need to buy from AdX. The right of the first look is crucial for remarketing campaigns. Criteo and Amazon, among others, began to use header bidding for their remarketing campaigns to get the first look without paying AdX.
While many ad-tech players claim to have header bidding containers, the GetIntent study reveals a leader in this area: Criteo. Among the 121 publishers that most commonly used header bidding solutions, 42.1% used Criteo and 24.4%, Amazon. Fewer (17.1%) are using the open-source and free Prebid.js container. Some publishers take advantage of using several wrappers together.
To do the study, “We wrote a [PhantomJS] scraper that’s able to identify header bidding technology used on the Web site and see what demand sources the page addresses when loading,” Vlad Klimontovich, GetIntent CTO, told RTBlog via email. Then the company scraped through Alexa's top 1,000 Web sites to analyze how many publishers have shifted to header bidding and what solutions, specifically, wrappers and adapters they are implementing. As a result of the scraping process, header bidding solutions were spotted on only 121 unique Web pages out of Alexa's top 1,000 websites -- which makes 12%.