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Header bidding introduces an operational overhead

Dutch publishers aren’t yet big users of header bidding — the technique that lets advertisers bid simultaneously on a media owner’s inventory. But there are some, like games publisher Spil Games, which has tackled the new tech head-on across its 31 casual gaming sites. And the last six months have been a real baptism by fire for the company.

Header bidding has emerged as a popular technique for publishers because it helps lift programmatic ad yields and reduces reliance on the more typical (and at times inefficient) waterfall technique. Spil Games director of online advertising Juuso Alho said the company used to lose up to 40 percent of impressions due to inefficient waterfall methods when trading inventory. And yet, he added, header bidding is stubbornly difficult to implement, despite all the promises of efficiency attached to automated selling.

Anyone who expects header bidding to be a plug and play solution, which is how it’s often pitched, is dreaming, said Alho. “It’s been a painful process,” he said at Digiday’s Publishing summit in Nice last week.

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