Client Side vs Server Side Header Bidding: 2023 Guide

Last Updated: 

February 6, 2023

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As the world of online advertising continues to evolve, we're seeing more and more terms and technologies that can be confusing for even the most seasoned marketers. Header bidding is a perfect example of this. It's a relatively new technique that is quickly gaining popularity, but it's still not well understood by many people.

In this blog post, we're going to explain header bidding and how it works. By the end of this post, you'll have a solid understanding of header bidding and be able to make an informed decision about which approach is right for your business. So let's jump in!

Online Advertising
Source: Unsplash

What Is Header Bidding?

Header bidding is a programmatic advertising strategy that has revolutionised the digital ad industry. This prebid server technology enables publishers to maximise revenue by offering their inventory to multiple demand sources simultaneously, allowing each bidder an equal opportunity to bid on an impression.

On the client side, header bidding works by placing JavaScript code within the header of a webpage which allows an array of demand sources to compete for unsold inventory. On the server side, header bidding works by hosting JavaScript code that runs in the browser and allows demand sources to place immediate bids when an impression is made. This opens up a second auction so that all demand partners have the opportunity to bid before the normal ad server auction process starts, potentially leading to higher revenues for publishers.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Approach

Client-side header bidding (CSHB) and server-side header bidding (SSHB) are two types of technologies that digital advertisers use to increase the reach and effectiveness of campaign efforts.

  • CSHB typically means that a JavaScript tag is placed in the client’s browser, which then sends out requests to potential buyers when an ad impression is triggered. This helps drive up competition among buyers, as they are all competing for the same impression at the same time.
  • SSHB on the other hand involves sending requests off to different exchanges through a centralised server, allowing hundreds or even thousands of buyers to compete for impressions at once.

Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. While CSHB can be difficult to implement properly due to its complexity and the potential slowdown of web pages, it is capable of handling extremely large numbers of concurrent auctions and provides highly granular targeting capabilities. On the other hand, SSHB is much easier to set up with lower barriers to entry but its scalability limits could make it unsuitable for larger campaigns.

What is Header Bidding?
Source: Pexels

Why More Publishers Are Moving to Server-Side Header Bidding

More and more digital publishers have been taking advantage of server-side header bidding as a way to create more successful campaigns. This technology allows publishers to move away from standard ad network setups in order to get what they need to compete in the digital space.

Implementing server-side header bidding allows these publishers to significantly increase the number of bids they receive for any given impression, which leads to increased competition and ultimately more revenue. It all goes towards increasing the inventory value for publishers, giving them better control over pricing and allowing them to maximise their budgets by working with the most effective demand partners.

How Header Bidding Impacts Advertisers

The shift to server-side header bidding has also greatly impacted advertisers. With more demand sources competing for inventory, it becomes much easier to find the right audience at the best price, as long as they have access to the correct data and analysis tools.

Advertisers must ensure that their campaigns are properly optimised in order to take full advantage of this new technology. Otherwise, they could be missing out on great opportunities. Advertisers also need to be aware of the potential for increased competition and prices due to more buyers entering the market. This could force them to adjust their strategies or budgets in order to stay competitive. Ultimately, header bidding enables advertisers to reach audiences that were previously unreachable at a cost that is more in line with their objectives.

Bottom Line

It is clear that header bidding has changed the game for digital advertising, and understanding its implications is an important part of staying competitive in this ever-evolving space. While there are some challenges associated with server-side header bidding, its scalability, granularity, and targeting capabilities make it worth exploring for any business looking to get the most out of their digital campaigns. Additionally, with the right optimisation tools and resources, advertisers can capitalise on this new technology to increase their reach and maximise their ROI.

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