Only 22% Of App Publishers Understand Header Bidding

Not enough publishers know enough about header bidding, and there is a lot of misinformation floating around about its limitations and how it works.

InMobi set out to ask app publishers and other mobile advertisers in North America whether mediation and in-app header bidding works for them, and how they think about improving monetization efforts. The study also analyzes historical supply-side data back to January 2017 to see how mediation technology helps.

The 2018 Header Bidding Research found that 34% of mobile publishers believe in-app header bidding has solved traditional waterfall issues, a process used by publishers to sell remnant inventory. It is the dominant in-app method to monetize ads, but in-app header bidding is attempting to take its place.

Interestingly, the data suggests that waterfall-based systems may contribute to latency. It can sometimes take several seconds for an advertisement to load after an initial ad call goes out. Some 40% of survey respondents said it takes a second or more for an ad to appear.



When app publishers were asked whether they understand the concept of in-app header bidding; 22% described their understanding as very good; 28%, good; 27%, moderate; 12%, limited; and 11% don’t understand it at all.

A limited understanding of the technology, at 31%, stops publishers from adopting in-app header bidding. About 23% cited implementation issues, while 14% cited few programmatic deals, 11% pointed to latency, 11% said it is difficult to scale, and 10% cited compatibility issues. 

More than 30% polled use in-app header bidding, and 43% said they use real-time bidding. Some 43% use real-time bidding to monetize their apps. In-app header bidding at 31% follows, along with self-mediation at 28%, and the use of one ad network for all ad inventory at 14%.

Among those who use in-app header bidding, 36% said their revenue increased as a result, while 49% expect to see revenue gains over the next 12 months.

Some 37% of those who already use in-app header bidding said it provided greater transparency into impression values and bids.

For those who do not use in-app header bidding, 21% said ad revenues have decreased over the past 12 months and 32% said ad revenues have remained static during that time frame. Only 6% said ad revenue rose more than 50% year-over-year.

The data also shows 52% use a mediation platform. An additional 15% said they are not using a mediation platform, but plan to in the next 12 months.


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