Hybrid Header Bidding is the Next Big Thing in Programmatic Advertising

Hybrid header

Header bidding made an explosion in the world of programmatic advertising when it burst onto the scene nearly a decade ago, enabling multiple advertisers to bid simultaneously on a publisher’s ad inventory.

Since then, it has become one of the most popular programmatic advertising tools in the industry.

While header bidding isn’t going anywhere, a new optimized version of header bidding, aptly named hybrid header bidding, is poised to be the next big thing in programmatic advertising.

What is Hybrid Header Bidding?

To understand what hybrid header bidding is, it’s important to first understand the two types of header bidding: client-side and server-to-server. 

Client-Side Header Bidding

Client-side header bidding is the original method of header bidding, and it is still the most widely used.

The process of client-side header bidding takes place on the user’s web browser, where publishers utilize JavaScript code on their website to make their ad inventory available to demand partners in real-time. 

This code is triggered when the page loads, prompting the user’s browser to send out ad requests to various demand partners, who then compete for the ad space.

Because the process takes place on the client’s browser, it enables advertisers to access user data and serve more personalized ads. Due to this, the CPMs (cost per mille, or one thousand impressions), is higher. On the downside, client-side can cause pages to load slower and is limited in the number of demand partners that can compete in the auction.

Server-to-Server Heading Bidding

Server-to-server (S2S) is a newer method of header bidding, occurring on an external server rather than on a user’s browser.

Because of this, S2S is much faster and allows for many more advertisers to compete in the auction. On the other hand, due to a lack of access to user data, CPMs are generally lower.

Currently, publishers must decide between the two methods, opting to sacrifice either higher CPMs or site speed. 

Hybrid Header Bidding

Hybrid header bidding combines both client-side and S2S to optimize the header bidding process. Deciding in real-time how to allocate requests between the two methods, the hybrid method initiates parallel auctions to the client side and server side. The code is then optimized to ensure that publishers get the best result.

In doing so, hybrid header bidding utilizes the high CPMs from the client-side and the speed and number of bids from the server-side to increase overall revenue for publishers.


A study conducted by Adnimation, the monetization company that developed the proprietary solution, found that hybrid header bidding outperforms standard header bidding by an average of 18%.

The results incorporated 100 publishers for whom Adnimation utilized hybrid header bidding over the course of a year.

The results signal very positive news for publishers around the globe, and come at a time when more and more publishers are looking for advanced solutions to combat the market uncertainty. 

As more publishers adopt this technology, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the industry standard.


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