Analytics Header Bidding Optimization

4 Ways to Optimize Your Auctions and Increase Revenue Based on Your Header Bidding Data

Sovrn Publisher Advocate // December 4, 2018

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Data gives you power. It guides your strategies, your decisions, and ultimately your revenue potential. Without a full picture of your header bidding data, it can be difficult to move quickly and confidently—and as we all know, in publishing, time is money. Many publishers find it difficult to see their data as a complete story: when you’re forced to access multiple dashboards across multiple partners, some of which may be reticent to show you analytics information, important decisions are sometimes delayed or ignored—or left unknown—instead of acted upon. If you have access to a consolidated analytics dashboard, such as the Sovrn Header Bidding Analytics dashboard, it’s easy to investigate revenue swings.

If you’re struggling to boost your earnings, here are four ways you can optimize your auctions and increase revenue based on your header bidding data:

Adjust the number of bidders to optimize CPMs

Ensure that you’re optimizing the number of bidders. Too few, and you won’t have enough competition to drive up CPM. Too high, and revenue can be impacted by too many redundant ad requests going out to the same demand via different channels.

  • If the number of bidders is too low, increase it one at a time and use analytics to measure incremental revenue increases. Ideal number of bidders vary per site, but a good rule of thumb is no more than 7-8 max.
  • If you have too many bidders, try decreasing the number one by one until better performance is seen in your analytics data, using 7-8 max as a rule—but again, the ideal number will be site specific.

Adjust your bidders-to-timeout ratio to improve yield

If your page has to wait too long for bids to return, your visitors could be leaving before bids have returned. If your highest CPM bidder experiences high latency, it can mean bad overall auction yield performance. Ways to address this include:

  • Raising the overall timeout threshold to give all of your bids enough time (in milliseconds) to return. You’ll want to monitor page content load performance in testing.
  • Using your analytics data to hone in on slow bidders and address specific timeout issues. Once you’ve identified the culprits, you can let them know that their slow response times may affect their standing in your header bidding setup.

Properly configure your header auctions to maximize revenue

When running a header auction on your site, it is important to make sure that all intended ad units that are called to the page are included in that page’s header auction configuration. If you’re excluding ad units or formats from your header auction that one of your bidders may have demand for, you could be missing out on revenue.
Once you’ve determined which ad units you want included in the header auction (ideally as many as possible), make sure that all of those ad units are mapped to all of the available bidders configured in your header auction.
Optimize your price granularity to improve impressions

If your price granularity configuration is too low (for example, 1.00 or .50), you may be impacting bid competition. Prebid-based header auctions allow for granular price settings based on publisher needs. The settings you choose should be determined by how many demand bidders you have in your auction versus the CPM price points where you sell most of your impressions. The prebid setting options are as follows:

  • Low: uses 50-cent increments and is capped at $5 CPM
  • Medium: uses 10-cent increments and is capped at $20 CPM
  • High: uses 1-cent increments and is capped at $20
  • Auto: applies a sliding scale to set different levels of granularity for different ranges of bids
  • Dense: also applies a sliding scale but uses even more granular increments, especially at lower CPMs

With a better understanding of your auction performance, you’ll have more power to make strategic decisions. You’ll be able to move more quickly and more intelligently, and you’ll save time that can be spent instead growing your reach. Sovrn is the only SSP that offers a unified bidding analytics dashboard, and we’re dedicated to giving publishers more control over their own success. Joining our free Header Bidding Analytics beta is yet another method of achieving the independence that will help you thrive.

As is the case with all of our products, we’re constantly working on improving functionality and scope, and that includes building new features into our platform in the future. We’re also dedicated to including our publishers in our product development process: we value your opinions and your needs, and beta programs such as these make that happen. Give us your feedback—we want it. Not only will you be involved in making the tools we provide as useful as possible, you’ll have access to a platform that can you help you improve your performance metrics.
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