Facebook sources have said that it’s currently testing header bidding. Whilst it may be early days, it seems the feature could be rolled out across Audience Network to advertise across the web and mobile apps.
Facebook tests Header Bidding
Header bidding essentially lets publishers use codes as part of their page’s header to get the best price for their ad inventory. It’s a programmatic technology whereby multiple exchanges can compete for an ad bid to push up ad rates and rank at the front of the ad slot queue on Google.
Facebook is likely to be carrying out the tests in preparation to challenge Google on its DoubleClick monopoly. Before header bidding, publishers used Dynamic Allocation – from within Google DoubleClick – that allowed the Google ad exchange to compete with its in-house sales team. However, that’s a lengthy process and reduces their chances of actually winning an auction.
Header bidding essentially forgoes that allocation stage. It’s been a popular tool – adopted by almost 70% of publishers – and it’s no surprise then that Facebook wants to jump on board through Audience Network.
The company said it was testing mobile and video ads header bidding right now, but AdAge believes that the solution could roll out as early as September or October.
A source close to the matter, told AdAge:
“Google is frankly very defensive because their position is being threatened. If you now amplify that by Facebook saying, ‘Hey, wait a second, look, there’s a chink in the armor. All these independent companies have found it, why don’t we do the same thing and bring our wallet to bear?’ We’re actually going to start to see an event that could at a very, very substantial level check the Google monopoly.”
In the meantime, Google has been busy testing its Exchange Bidding in Dynamic Allocation (EBDA), which lets third party ad exchanges compete with AdX for ad allocation. This could be an answer to header bidding, but people in the industry remain sceptical if the technology can catch up fast enough.