It is not new that header bidding is a multifaceted concept and publishers can use either open solutions like prebid.js, often in cooperation with 3rd parties, or not-that-open ones, like wrappers offered by certain SSPs providers, Pubmatic or Index Exchange for instance. While both approaches have their obvious pros and cons, it would be interesting to analyse their real offering in details and see what would work best for you.
No enterprise support and no reporting
The most commonly invoked flaws of prebid.js are pretty much the same as in every case you have to deal with an open-source standard, namely lack of proper reporting and client service. So proprietary wrappers providers market their solutions based on a promise of great, enterprise-level support and better reporting. Usually they also give it away for free in exchange of presumably higher revenues from publisher’s programmatic sales channel by monetizing bigger volumes of inventory.
There are companies helping publishers out with managing prebid.js, but they usually take their fee from the revenues they take care of. So the question that remains is: is it really better to invest in prebid.js implementation either by building a specialised team or by outsourcing it than just go for a free proprietary wrapper?
No transparency, no control, no big picture
So proprietary tools are far from perfect either. First of all, when a company provides both SSP and a wrapper and aims to establish a unified auction, it creates a conflict of interests. Prebid.js is an open-source standard, so we can be almost sure it treats all demand partners equally. But can we also be that certain that company X’s wrapper would treat company X’s SSP as equal to other platforms? We never know, but undoubtedly there is a great incentive for company X to prioritize its own platform over competitors and take a bigger part of revenues at the cost of other platforms and publishers.
Also, proprietary wrappers will never offer publishers as much control as prebid.js, which is totally transparent and fully customizable. Even though its proper implementation and management requires some effort, potential outcomes are worth it.
Last but not least, we need to answer the question ending the previous section of this article. In order to do that, let’s clarify what header bidding partners like Waytogrow really do and where lies the difference. So even though header bidding (prebid.js in case of Waytogrow) lies at the heart of the service, there is way more in it, namely:
- Proper adserver configuration, especially when it comes to Google Ad Manager
- Yield optimization, not just implementation, that also includes Google Adexchange
- Access to the top programmatic demand through Waytogrow’s accounts in SSPs in case you do not have your own
- Custom ad solutions
- Enteprise-level support
Given that, publishers can expect significant revenue uplifts, not only thanks to header bidding, but also thanks to proper connection between header bidding and Google Ad Manager (Adexchange) and non-standard solutions. In the end of the day, if your revenues grow by 40-50%, the balance is positive even after the revenue share.
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