Header Bidding allows publishers to offer their ad inventory to multiple Supply Side Platforms (SSPs) at the same time, providing a powerful alternative to the programmatic waterfall. However, technology alone might not be enough. Anyone who strategically selects a multi-SSP approach should take into consideration a few additional important factors. Please take a moment to review a short “to do” list which was prepared by our CEO, Timo Hagenow, and published in Adzine.

1. Unify the bid values

Different SSPs might use different methods of displaying their bid values: gross vs. net price, Euro vs. USD. To establish fair competition, these factors must be unified before the bids enter the header bidding auction.

Also, to calculate the real bid value, always take into consideration the discrepancies between and within each SSP. Average deviations should be subtracted (or added) to the final results.

2. Choose the right SSPs for each placement

The optimal set of SSP partners differs from website to website, as well as from placement to placement. While some SSPs perform great on mobile, others can perform better on a desktop page. Therefore, the selection and integration of SSPs should be done at placement level.

This notion also applies to reporting. The contribution of each SSP should be reviewed at the level of each placement. If the value falls below the desired value, the partner should be removed from the setup in order to limit the number of requests.

3. Adjust bid timeouts

The timeout is the maximum amount of time that SSPs have, to answer a bid request. This value is predefined by the publisher and should be used as an optimization point. The higher the timeout is, the higher the potential number of bids are taken into account. However, high timeouts potentially contribute to a lower inventory quality and the interaction rate with the ad.

Try to find the optimal timeout, taking into consideration the charging time of the ads and the revenue. It makes perfect sense to set different timeouts according to device category and/or network quality.

4. Don’t delay the adserver call (if it’s not necessary)

The initialization of the header bidding script should be done as early as possible to ensure the fastest possible ad delivery. On placements where header bidding is not used, the adserver call should be immediate.

5. Let ad sizes compete against each other

If multiple ad sizes are possible on a placement, the size variance should also be allowed for SSPs. Sometimes smaller formats reach higher CPMs in an auction.

6. Randomize query order

The order in which the connected SSPs are requested impacts the time they have for answering with a bid. In order to establish fair competition, the query order should be randomized at every page view.