Header Bidding: What Is It & Should I Use It With My Display Ads?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  11/12/2022

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Are you looking to get the most out of your display ads? Have you heard about header bidding with display ads, but don’t know what it is or how to set it up?

Don’t worry – we have all the answers! Header bidding has revolutionized digital advertising by enabling publishers and advertisers to maximize ad revenue.

In this blog post, we’ll explore header bidding, its different types, setting up a successful campaign with header bidding, and best practices for running an effective display ads campaign using this technology.

What is header bidding

What is Header Bidding?

Header bidding is an advanced programmatic advertising technique that allows publishers to offer their ad inventory to multiple demand sources simultaneously.

This creates a more competitive and efficient marketplace for advertisers, as they can bid on the same impression simultaneously.

Definition of Header Bidding: Header bidding is a process in which publishers allow multiple demand sources (ad exchanges, DSPs, SSPs) to bid on each available ad impression simultaneously before it goes into an auction.

It enables buyers to compete against each other in real-time for every single impression, allowing them to pay what they are willing instead of being limited by pre-set floor prices set by the publisher.

Benefits of Header Bidding

There are several benefits associated with header bidding that make it attractive for both buyers and sellers alike.

For example, it increases competition among buyers since all parties have access to the same impressions; this leads to higher CPMs and better fill rates for publishers.

Additionally, header bidding provides transparency around pricing data so that both sides know exactly how much was paid per impression or click—this helps prevent fraud from occurring due to discrepancies between bids and payments made after auctions close.

Finally, header bidding also reduces latency issues since there’s no need for additional redirections or page loads when setting up campaigns; this improves user experience and speeds up loading times significantly.

Header bidding works straightforwardly: when a visitor arrives at a website with header bidding tags installed in its codebase (usually via JavaScript), those tags will send out requests containing information about the available impressions (such as size/location/device type) directly from browsers without any extra redirections needed, allowing buyers’ systems enough time to respond with bids before going into an auction.

The publisher sets the timeframe limits for this process, typically 500ms, and then determines the winner based on the highest bid received.

If chosen by system or manually approved if necessary, the winning bidder will be served with corresponding advertisement while losing bidders receive a “passback” tag informing them why they didn’t win that particular auction round so they can adjust their strategies accordingly next time around if needed.

Key Takeaway: Header bidding is an advanced programmatic advertising technique that allows publishers to offer their ad inventory to multiple demand sources simultaneously, increasing competition and driving up CPMs. Benefits include increased transparency around pricing data, reduced latency issues, and better fill rates for publishers.

Types of Header Bidding

Header bidding is a powerful tool for marketers looking to maximize the performance of their display ads campaigns. It allows them to access multiple ad exchanges simultaneously, creating more competition and driving up CPMs.

There are three main types of header bidding – client side, server side, and hybrid – each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Client Side Header Bidding is the most common type of header bidding used by marketers today. In this model, the bidder’s code runs on the user’s browser before any other scripts load on the page.

This allows for faster response times as well as more control over targeting parameters like device type or geographic location.

However, it can also slow down page loading speeds if not optimized properly.

Server Side Header Bidding is an alternative approach that moves all auction logic onto a third-party server instead of running in the user’s browser.

This eliminates latency issues associated with client-side solutions while still allowing for advanced targeting capabilities such as frequency capping or retargeting campaigns based on past behavior patterns.

The downside is that it requires additional setup time and resources to manage bids across multiple ad exchanges at once since they must be processed through one central hub first before being sent out again individually to each exchange partner involved in the auction process.

Hybrid Header Bidding combines both client-side and server-side approaches into one solution by utilizing an intermediary platform between buyers and sellers called a “wrapper.”

This wrapper acts as a bridge between them, allowing auctions to take place without having to send requests back and forth from either end separately every time there is an update made in either direction (i.e changes in bid amounts).

This helps reduce latency issues associated with traditional methods while still providing enough flexibility for advanced targeting options like those mentioned above when needed.

It is ideal for larger scale campaigns where speed matters but precision isn’t always necessary right away during initial setup stages due to budget constraints or other factors at play within the marketer’s overall strategy objectives.

Key Takeaway: Header bidding is an effective tool for display ad campaigns, allowing marketers to access multiple ad exchanges simultaneously and drive up CPMs. It comes in three main types – client side, server side, and hybrid – each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Setting Up a Header Bidding Campaign

Setting up a header bidding campaign is an important step in optimizing your display ads.

To ensure success, it’s essential to choose the right ad exchange platforms, create an effective creative strategy and set up targeting parameters.

Choosing the Right Ad Exchange Platforms

When selecting an ad exchange platform for your header bidding campaign, consider factors such as cost per impression (CPM), reach and audience targeting capabilities.

It’s also important to look at how well each platform integrates with other marketing tools you may be using. Popular options include Google Ad Manager (GAM) and OpenX.

Also read: how I increased ad revenue with Ezoic across all global traffic, even non-US

Creating an Effective Creative Strategy: Once you have chosen your ad exchange platform(s), it’s time to create a compelling creative strategy that will engage viewers and drive conversions.

This includes developing eye-catching visuals, crafting persuasive copy and testing different formats like video or interactive banners to determine which works best for your target audience.

Finally, you need to set up targeting parameters in order to ensure that only relevant audiences see your ads on the selected exchanges.

This can be done by defining demographics such as age range or location, as well as interests or behaviors associated with potential customers of your product or service offering.

By setting these parameters correctly, you can maximize ROI from each impression while also ensuring maximum relevance for viewers who are more likely to convert into paying customers down the line.

Optimizing Your Display Ads with Header Bidding

It allows marketers to access multiple ad exchanges at once, creating competition and driving up CPMs.

By analyzing performance data and leveraging automation, you can maximize the efficiency of your campaigns and get the most out of your budget.

Analyzing Performance Data to Make Adjustments: The key to successful header bidding campaigns is understanding how different strategies affect performance.

Analyze metrics such as impressions, clicks, conversions, CTRs (click-through rates), CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) and CPCs (cost per click).

This will help you identify which tactics are working best so that you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

For example, if one exchange has higher CPMs but lower CTRs than another exchange then it may be beneficial to focus more on the latter instead of the former in order to increase overall ROI (return on investment).

Leveraging Automation for Efficiency and Scale

Header bidding also offers opportunities for automation that can save time while increasing scale.

Automated rules allow marketers to set parameters based on their desired outcomes such as targeting specific audiences or setting bid caps for certain exchanges.

This helps streamline processes by eliminating manual tasks like manually adjusting bids or changing target audiences throughout a campaign’s lifecycle.

Additionally, automated rules enable marketers to quickly respond when there are changes in market conditions or new opportunities arise without having to manually intervene each time something needs adjustment.

Testing different strategies is essential to finding the most profitable combination for any marketing initiative.

Try combining creative elements such as images versus videos or text versus rich media banners until you find what resonates with your audience while still achieving maximum ROI from each impression served through header bidding technology.

Additionally, A/B testing will help ensure that all decisions made regarding optimization are backed by hard data rather than assumptions alone.

Key Takeaway: Header bidding is an effective tool for optimizing display ads. It allows marketers to access multiple ad exchanges at once, creating competition and driving up CPMs. To maximize ROI, it’s important to analyze performance data and leverage automation.

Best Practices for Running a Successful Display Ads Campaign with Header Bidding

By utilizing multiple ad exchanges, marketers can increase reach and competition while also optimizing performance. Here are some best practices for running a successful header bidding campaign:

Utilize Multiple Ad Exchanges for Maximum Reach and Competition: Utilizing multiple ad exchanges allows you to access more potential buyers, increasing your chances of getting the highest possible bids on your ads.

This will help ensure that you get the most out of every impression and make sure that your ads are seen by as many people as possible.

Monitor Performance Regularly and Make Adjustments as Needed

As with any marketing campaign, it’s important to keep an eye on performance metrics such as click-through rate (CTR), cost per acquisition (CPA) or return on investment (ROI).

Monitoring these metrics regularly will allow you to identify areas where improvements can be made in order to optimize results.

Test Different Strategies to Find the Most Profitable Combination

Testing different strategies is key when it comes to finding the right combination of tactics that works best for your business goals.

Try testing different targeting parameters, creative strategies or even different ad exchange platforms in order to find what works best for you.

By following these tips, marketers can ensure they are making the most out of their header bidding campaigns and maximizing ROI from their display advertising efforts.

They should focus on setting up multiple ad networks to increase competition, optimizing bid parameters for each network, testing different strategies to identify which works best for them, and using analytics tools to track performance metrics.

Additionally, they should monitor their campaigns regularly and adjust bids accordingly in order to maximize profits.

By taking these steps into consideration, marketers will be able to make the most out of their header bidding campaigns and get the highest return on investment possible.

FAQs about Header Bidding

What is header bidding in advertising?

This process enables publishers to maximize their revenue by allowing them to receive bids from a variety of different demand sources at once. Header bidding also gives advertisers more control over how they buy inventory and can help them reach their desired audience more effectively. By allowing multiple demand sources to bid on the same impression, publishers can increase their overall yield and improve their monetization strategy.

Is header bidding good?

Header bidding is a great tool for marketers looking to increase their website’s ad revenue. It allows them to auction off inventory to multiple demand sources simultaneously, which can result in higher CPMs and more competition among buyers. This helps ensure that ads are priced at the highest possible rate, leading to increased profits for niche websites. Additionally, header bidding can help reduce latency and improve user experience by allowing ads to load faster on the page. All in all, it’s an effective way of monetizing your website and increasing your bottom line.

What is header bidding in Google Ad Manager?

Header bidding is a programmatic advertising technique that allows publishers to offer their ad inventory to multiple demand sources simultaneously before making calls to their ad server. This process helps maximize the publisher’s revenue by allowing them to receive bids from multiple sources and then select the highest bid for each impression. With Google Ad Manager, header bidding can be used in combination with other auction types such as Open Auction or Preferred Deals, providing publishers with more control over how they monetize their inventory. Header bidding also helps to reduce latency and improve the overall user experience.

What are the three types of bidding?

1. Cost-per-click (CPC) bidding: This type of bidding is when an advertiser pays for each click on their ad, regardless of the number of impressions. It’s a great way to ensure that your budget goes towards only those who are interested in what you have to offer.

2. Cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM): CPM bidding is when an advertiser pays for every thousand times their ad is seen, regardless of whether or not it was clicked on. This can be useful if you want to increase brand awareness and reach more people with your message without necessarily expecting clicks from them all.

3. Cost-per-action (CPA): CPA bidding is when an advertiser pays for each action taken by someone after clicking on their ad, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter subscription. This type of bid helps advertisers track the effectiveness of their campaigns and get better results from them over time.


In conclusion, header bidding with display ads is a great way to maximize your ad revenue and optimize your campaigns.

It can be complex to set up, but the rewards are worth it. With careful planning and optimization of your display ads, you can get the most out of header bidding and make sure that you’re getting the best return on investment for every dollar spent.

Header bidding with display ads is an effective tool for marketers looking to increase their profits in today’s competitive market.

Joost Nusselder is The Content Decoder, a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new tools en tactics. He's been working on a portfolio of niche sites since 2010. Now since 2016 he creates in-depth blog articles together with his team to help loyal readers earn from their own succesful sites.