What are Header Bidding, Prebid, and EBDA and What’s Best for Your Programmatic Revenue?

Digital advertising became automated with the introduction of programmatic ads. However, it still has a few drawbacks and many solutions that are essentially advanced programmatic techniques have emerged. Header bidding, Prebid, and EBDA are perhaps the most important ones among them.

Let us take a closer look at how each of these solutions improves ad inventory monetization.

What is header bidding?

On a header bidding platform, publishers present their ad inventory to multiple Server-Side Platforms (SSPs) simultaneously before requesting the ad servers. A substantial number of advertisers and ad exchanges (demand sources) bidding on the same inventory at the same time increases the publisher’s chances of securing fair value for their ad space. Thus, this technique helps publishers pull in greater ad revenues.

How does header bidding work to multiply publisher revenue?

When a publisher’s website gets a visitor, the header bidding tag calls on several ad networks simultaneously. Within milliseconds, the ad exchanges place their bids to fill the inventory. The highest bid then passes to the publisher’s ad server to display the winning ad creative.

Here, three factors work in favor of ad publishers:

  1. Publishers have access to buyers beyond their ad servers, resulting in better fill rates.
  2. Bid pressure increases with increasing competition between demand partners and header bidding demand.
  3. Implementation of header bidding does not result in publishers losing their existing demand.

What is Prebid?

Prebid facilitates the header bidding technique. It was created to solve the issue of integration in programmatic advertising. It is the most common open-source header bidding wrapper that publishers now use. This technique allows multiple demand partners to bid at the same time and streamlines the ad inventory auction.

How do ad publishers benefit from Prebid?

When the technology for header bidding came around, it brought a set of challenges with it. The involvement of multiple partners for the real-time bidding process in programmatic increased the complexity. As a result, there was a lot of latency.

Enter Prebid, a piece of code that configures programmatic bidding for the publisher. With Prebid, a publisher can end the need to run codes individually for every demand partner. Further, with Prebid adapters, publishers can access inventory requirements, ad size, ad format, and ad type information from the global marketplace. This helps in selecting suitable advertisers, resulting in optimized ad revenue generation.

With Prebid, ad publishers across the world are now able to achieve unmatched capabilities in auctioning, targeting, and analyzing programmatic advertising performance.

What is EBDA?

EBDA stands for Exchange Bidding in Dynamic Allocation. This is a server-side process for communicating ad placement information and is Google’s answer to header bidding. It unifies real-time auctions and allocates ads dynamically. The complexity associated with programmatic bidding can be brought down with the help of EBDA.

How does EBDA work for publishers?

When an ad request is triggered, the Google Ad Manager instantly gets information about the visitors using existing tags. Then, the ad selection process starts with a unified auction. A publisher’s yield groups get bid requests, after which they run their own auction. Unlike the auctions in header bidding, which take place in the header of a webpage, EBDA allows auctions to run on ad servers.

However, EBDA does get its fair share of criticism from the publishing community. The lack of transparency from Google has caused publishers to dub EBDA as a “data black box”. There is also concern that certain ads get the priority that may not necessarily bring in the best revenue possible for the publisher’s inventory. As a result, the biggest publishers tend to work with Prebid, header bidding, or server-to-server header bidding solutions.

How are header bidding, Prebid, and EBDA different from one another?

  1. Header bidding platforms offer transparency that helps optimize ad stacks. From the incoming bids, the publisher knows how much an impression is worth before calling the ad server. EBDA, on the other hand, is not considered as transparent as header bidding. Publishers do not have a way to find out how a particular advertiser won the bid. This limits in-depth analysis.
  2. The setup for header bidding is complicated. It is on the client-side, and integration is asynchronous. All this makes latency inevitable. Yet, the use of header bidding wrappers like Prebid makes header bidding rewarding for ad publishers. EBDA offers convenience to publishers by eliminating the need for complex configurations.

Summing Up

Programmatic bidding is now becoming a norm. Publishers have many technology-backed solutions at their disposal to optimize revenue from dynamic, real-time, bias-free bids. More importantly, these solutions do not have to be exclusive to one another. Rather, a combined implementation will give better control, viewability and ad revenues for every publisher.