Can we please stop talking about Header Bidding?
The Blis team has just come back from our annual pilgrimage to Dmexco, and this year was bigger and better than ever!
Dmexco has become a wonderful confluence of tech businesses, data companies, advertisers, and publishers. With 50,000 attendees and 570 speakers this year, it’s certainly intense, but there’s no other show like it anywhere else and, being German, it’s a supremely well-organised event.
There were lots of interesting take-always so where to start? I’m going to start with Adblock Plus.
What a mess…
This is a company whose sole aim is to cynically destroy a publisher’s ability to monetise consumer attention in return for content. And then it attempts to launch an Ad Exchange in order to monetise exactly that. Good luck with that.
Data mining for publishers
On a brighter note, there was lots of extremely good chatter about mobile and it still seems to me we have some way to go with publishers here, but there is a strong push for publishers to “make this work”.
What can help publishers achieve this is better and deeper data. Location data, better video formats from the likes of Facebook and Celtra, audience data, and the consumer behaviour data the publisher collects, is coming together nicely in a perfect storm. And Big Data management techniques are helping to deliver real results here. This is an organic trend now that it has broken through, and we won’t even think this is anything other than normal by next year’s Dmexco.
The words on every SSP’s lips though were Header Bidding. A fancy way of saying “your ad server is inefficient”. For a supposed adtech hack this has had a remarkably good run in the last year, but if the ad server is that inefficient then let’s figure out a better solution!
I can do without hearing about yet another “holistic ad server” that is being released next quarter – this is just vapourware. Besides, everyone has hacked it in the same way. “Our hack is better than your hack” is hardly a rallying cry. Please, no more hacks.
Also, Header Bidding allows all the players in the auction to see the impression at the same time. This creates volume challenges and will ultimately generate impressions where the only difference is price. These prices will undoubtedly become commoditised over time.
SSPs in the header-bidding auction need to put a price in. It’s in their interests to get this as high as possible because it’s binary for the SSP — they either win or they don’t, there’s no waterfall. But as all the SSPs work out a ‘price’ for the impression, the law of diminishing return will kick in: Increase the price too much, and the demand stops bidding. They will rapidly work out the price elasticity of an impression.
The end result will be that any revenue bump publishers have enjoyed may well evaporate.
My stand’s bigger than yours
You can’t talk about Dmexco without mentioning the hard work that goes into the stand designs from all the exhibitors. For the seasoned Dmexco pro, what really stood out this year were the stands with VR and AR displays – they seemed to be everywhere. AR and VR are clearly going to feature strongly in the coming years, especially as the inexorable march of consumers adopting mobile continues. This will be interesting to watch.
Some great stand designs and all facilitating that crucial interaction. Most of them rocking well into the night. See you next year Cologne!
Tags: Ad Exchange, Dan WIlson, Dmexco, Header Bidding, Publishers, SSP