(VIDEO) Publishers Should Test Server-Side Header Bidding: Weather's Hlavacek

HOLLYWOOD -- Publishers have eagerly embraced a technology which allows them to call on multiple ad buyer demand sources simultaneously to achieve higher bids - now they must carefully scrutinize the next iteration of the tech.

That is according to a man who is surely the only executive out there with the title "VP of global automated monetization".

"Almost every publisher in the room said they had deployed some kind of header bidding," The Weather Company's Jeremy Hlavacek told Beet.TV, speaking at the IAB's Annual Leadership Meeting.

"It drives a lot more yield for publishers, more competition against the inventory, opens up new pools of inventory."

Lets back up a little here. What is "header bidding"? Whilst publishers typically have to deploy programmatic tools in a sequential fashion, receiving individual best bids from each auction separately, header bidding technology lets them audition multiple demand sources all at the same time.

The practice has been around a few years, but spent 2016 bedding in. In 2017, however, header bidding is changing. Already, there is a growing realization that what is good for publishers may be bad for their users. That is because header bidding code is typically executed in the header of a web page on a consumers' device.

"As you put more and more code on the page and increase latency, users don't like that," Hlavacek adds. "(It's) a 'hack'. Should this code live on the page of the website or should it be a server-to-server connection?"

So several tech vendors are now trying to move the header bidding superpowers to their own machines.

"The benefit of going server-to-server is, you're using the big, industrial-strength computing power of ad servers talking to each other, as opposed to my laptop calling out to an ad server," Hlavacek says.

"Passing all that data back and forth happens more quickly. The theory is, users don't see the slowdown on the page.

"It is probably where it belongs, strategically.  It all looks great on a whiteboard. But testing is key to all this. It's something you need to test very aggressively as a publisher, and find the right solution."

This video is part of a series produced at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting. Beet.TV's coverage of this event is sponsored by Index Exchange. For more videos from this series, please visit this page.

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