Facebook brings mobile header bidding to its ad platform

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Dive Brief:

  • After working behind the scenes with publishers including the Washington Post, Daily Mail and Forbes, Facebook now allows mobile publishers using header bidding into its Facebook Audience Network (FAN) ad, platform per Ad Age.
  • Mobile publishers using header bidding wanting to reach FAN advertisers can now do so via official tech partners including Index Exchange, Sonobi, Amazon Publisher Services, AppNexus, Media.net and Sortable as well as through open-source solutions PreBid and PubFood.
  • The move isn’t Facebook releasing a tech platform or a new methodology on header bidding, according to David Jakubowski, director of publisher solutions at Facebook. It just means the social media giant is putting demand into other partners as the first option.

Dive Insight:

Header bidding allows publishers to accept bids from multiple buyer pools simultaneously, and is something that Google’s DoubleClick already enables as well as other ad servers. Facebook’s move likely means that the cost for mobile ads will go up because of the increase in the number of bids on the same inventory.

Drew Bradstock, senior VP of product at Index Exchange, told Ad Age Facebook’s move will force exchanges to “step up their game” and increase the yield offered to publishers, and it will speed up the demise of standard tags that impede publishers’ transparency and yield.

The move also means that in the ad space Facebook will most likely strive to match Google’s offerings and capabilities. Facebook’s Jakubowski pointed out the simplicity in header bidding compared to historical ad stacks and processes like the waterfall approach and secret auction arbitrage. He said publishers integrating FAN header bidding saw revenue increases of 10% to 30%.

Header bidding has been the focus of a lot of buzz in the digital advertising space over the past couple of years. A year ago, AppNexus estimated about 70% of the comScore Top 200 publishers are using header bidding. However, more recent research from GetIntent found that only 12% of the top 1,000 websites as tracked by Alexa are using header bidding. 

Whether the number is closer to 70% or 12%, Facebook’s push into header bidding is likely to further bolster its role and encourage more publishers to embrace the technology.