Tags: Optimisation tips

Updated: January 11, 2024

Header bidding is a technique where the publisher simultaneously offers the same ad impression to multiple ad exchanges. Once the highest bid is selected, it is sent to the ad server and the chosen creative is displayed. The idea is that by letting multiple demand sources bid on the same inventory at the same time, publishers increase their yield and make more money.

Over 70% of publishers use Header bidding to boost eCPMs, increase fill rates, and maximise revenues. 

Header bidding is a good revenue driver for publishers, but its reporting and optimisation can be confusing and time-consuming. By going through this checklist, discover the important metrics to ensure everything works to get the best performance and revenue.


5 key metrics to follow up in Header bidding setup:

  • eCPM - eCPM means effective cost-per-mille and signifies the revenue generated for every 1000 ad impressions sold for the publishers. eCPM is a standard advertising metric used widely in reporting and applies to Header bidding auctions. The higher the eCPM price, the more valuable your inventory is. eCPM is affected by many factors, such as quality, safety and, of course, demand.
  • Fill rate - Fill rate is the number of ad requests answered divided by the number of ad requests sent. It gives you the percentage of ad displays that have been sold. If the fill rate remains low, it means that there is no demand for your ad inventory. This can be due to many reasons, such as too high floor price, technical issues, or your inventory not meeting the buyer's requirements, for example, for viewability, brand safety, or quality.
  • Revenue per auction - This metric gives the return value through the particular SSP. The choice of selecting demand partners is essential. Adding too many bidders to your wrapper will send your average latency and timeouts soaring; on the other hand, having too few may lead to low-bid competition for your inventory. Make sure to balance yield with user experience. By following revenue per auction, you can see which ones perform well and notice possible issues and needs for optimisation.
  • Bid & Win rate - Bid rate signifies how often a bidder makes a bid in response to an ad request. A low bid rate might indicate a configuration problem with your setup or bidder performance issues. You can use bid rates to spot underperforming demand partners. The overall bid rate directly impacts the competition inside your wrapper and the overall fill rate. The win rate shows how a particular bidder competes with others in the Header bidding auction. If their win rate is low, they’re probably not worth the added weight to your page.
  • Bid latency - Bid latency allows us to view bidders based on how fast or slow they are on average. Bidders with high average bid latency can create bottlenecks for your setup. Following the bid latency, you can see which of your demand partners is slowing down bidding and who brings the worst time-out.

If you are using multiple SSPs, tracking these metrics is challenging because they all have their interfaces. With HB Analytics, you can easily track all these metrics ​​and much more in one place.


HB Analytics makes follow-up and optimisation easy

HB Analytics drives value for publishers and sales houses by monitoring Header bidding setup, ensuring efficient running and tracking new ways of optimisation.

  • Track in real-time how Header bidding setups perform.
  • SSP, vendor and placement level performance insights to enable easy optimisation and monitoring for technical errors.
  • The Alarms will instantly give you information if your setup is facing issues. 

With HB Analytics, you can follow all Prebid metrics: Gross Revenue, Pageviews, Adunit Requests, Impressions (Rendered), Winning Bids, Bid requests, Cancelled Bids, Avg. Response ms, Avg. Rendered ms, Timed out bids, No bid responses, Bid responses, Failed renderings, Browser, OS, Platform, eCPM, AdUnit eCPM, Pageview eCPM, Timed out Bids%.


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Suvi Leino
By: Suvi Leino

Responsible for marketing and communications at Relevant Digital.