The Future of Header Bidding: Server-To-Server Technology

When it comes to programmatic advertisements, real-time and client-side header bidding has been at the forefront of technology for quite some time. Publishers, especially those with medium- and low-traffic sites, continue to rely on it.

However, there is another technology contending for the top title: server-side or server-to-server header bidding. The main difference between server-side and client-side header bidding is that in server-to-server bidding, the user submits a single request to the server, which then sends out multiple requests to ad exchanges.

In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know about server-to-server header bidding.

Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

How Does Server-To-Server Technology Work?

Server-side and client-side header bidding are quite similar. In both models, demand partners may compete for available ad space on a publisher’s site via an automated auction. Server-to-server bids are similar to client-side, except they occur on a separate server. As a result, the pressure is taken off the publisher’s servers and put onto more robust systems.

Because fewer publishers have the financial resources to set up their own servers to conduct this process, those publishers who do have the funds must instead enter into a contract with a third party to have access to the required infrastructure.

Server-to-Server vs. Client-Side Header Bidding

Using client-side bidding is a programmatic approach that has its merits. Still, it has constraints that diminish its attractiveness, particularly when dealing with a large number of demand partners. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Latency and poor performance. Your site and advertisements will load more slowly because of the extra code added to the header script by each demand partner that takes part in the auction.
  • Limited demand partners. More demand partners translate to slower loading times.
  • Compatibility. Considering that client-side header bidding occurs in the browser, it isn’t necessarily compatible with all software versions. 

The Advantages of S2S Header Bidding

Server-side header bidding is a popular choice among publishers because of its many advantages. Here are a few of the key benefits that make it a desirable technology for publishers to use.

Rapid Page Loading and Decreased Lag Times

Header bidding may cause substantial latency issues, especially when many demand partners are competing for the same ad space. Fighting latency by using specialized scripts or acceptable timeouts is possible but ultimately isn’t beneficial.

Instead of doing the bidding in the browser, the server does it now. To avoid manual intervention, a specialized bidding or ad server takes care of the process. As a result, the auction may go much more quickly, cutting down on wait times and increasing throughput.

Bids Go Up as There Are More Buyers

A further advantage of offloading to a remote server is increased efficiency. Sending bid requests to additional demand partners will not negatively impact load speeds or the user experience, so you shouldn’t restrict your inventory to just a few buyers only to keep things moving along. That implies more bids and a greater fill rate for publishers.

P3PC and Data Privacy Compliance

Google Chrome and other browsers are making significant changes to better protect users’ personal information as the public’s concern about this issue grows. As a result, many established forms of online advertising, such as third-party cookies, are becoming extinct. Do you think client-side bidding will be one of these tools?

For some, yes. When compared to the high sync rates for client-side bids, the low vendor ID-sync rates for S2S bidding may be at least partially responsible for publishers’ reluctance to employ this kind of bidding.

However, as ID use increases, so should the likelihood of a successful match. That, in turn, should mitigate the income loss publishers experience initially when adopting a server-side approach.

S2S Header Bidding’s Drawbacks

Yes, there are drawbacks, but that is true of every programming approach or technology. The benefits of server-to-server header bidding much exceed its disadvantages.

Implementation and added expenses are the main drawbacks. Because of the technology’s complexity, some level of expertise is needed for initialization and ongoing administration. It’ll cost you money to get the supplementary server, whether you do it yourself or subscribe to a service that has such a provision.

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Final Thoughts

Given the widespread adoption of client-side header bidding in the advertising business, it’s not unexpected that some publishers are reluctant to use server-to-server technology. Nonetheless, server-side bidding may eventually replace the current norm as users want more protection of their personal information, more ethical advertising, and a more satisfying overall experience.

As a publisher, it’s crucial to use new ad technologies. With the aid of a reliable monetization partner, you’ll be able to adjust to new circumstances with little hassle and stay one step ahead of the competition.