Publishers have been increasingly using header tags to upend the usual order of business in programmatic ad sales, comparing bids from a universe of buyers all at once instead of working through them one by one and taking the first good offer they get.
Google earlier this year opened its DoubleClick for Publishers to let outside bidders compete simultaneously with its own network of buyers potentially giving publishers what they want with less hassle. A demand-side platform, or DSP, provides technology for media buyers to purchase ad placements, typically via bids in ad exchanges' real-time auctions.
Google's move was somewhat surprising because it meant letting outside ad exchanges see and act on information that Google previously kept close for its own advantage.
Google does bring advantages to the table that header bidding can't match, like speed. Because Google does everything server-side, it doesn't have to take the time to call and get a response. Google also invests a lot of resources in protecting publishers and sustaining the industry in the long run. The company has a huge team working to prevent malware from spreading through ad tech and protect buyers from fraud.
More importantly, integrating Google's solution is far easier than implementing a header tag. Typically, a publisher would have to have his or her engineering team integrate the header tag. Google's solution requires none of that.
While both header bidding and Google's solution have benefits, many people cited one alarming drawback for marketers: the potential for advertisers, through their DSPs, to drive up their own costs by bidding different amounts as they encounter the same inventory in multiple exchanges without recognizing it.
Programmatic buying can be challenging, and it's constantly changing. If you need a partner to help you with your strategy, Look Book can help.