Your goal is to buy a lakefront vacation home. You've thought about it for a long time, and this is what you want. Now, how do you make that happen? To make that lakefront vista a reality, you have to get your finances in order, you have to find the place and you have to go through the purchase process.

What if, instead of a vacation home, your goal was to do header bidding on your site to increase your revenue? How would you achieve that goal? Through implementing header bidding technology.

Implementing header bidding is simply the process of setting up your website or app to do header bidding. It's not exactly an easy process, but it's probably a lot easier than buying that lake house.

You'll have to figure out your real estate goals on your own, but the team at Playwire is happy to take you through the header bidding integration process below. For more information on header bidding and to learn more about our header bidding platform, get in touch with us.

Want to learn more about header bidding? Check out our Introduction to Header Bidding course.

-- Article Continues Below --

The Complete Guide to Header Bidding

Everything you need to know about header bidding

The Moving Parts of Header Bidding

To understand how a header bidding integration works, you need to first understand that the header bidding process, a rather advanced programmatic ad buying technique, has a ton of moving parts. Each of these parts has to work together perfectly to call simultaneous auctions for your inventory and maximize your ad revenue.

Here are some of the key elements of a header bidding integration:

The Header Bidding Code

This is where the process begins. To implement web header bidding on your site, app header bidding in your app or even video header bidding in a video player, you need some Javascript code that's going to initiate the calls for auctions with bidders.

For websites, that code lives in the header of the site, which explains the name "header bidding." For app headerbidding, it's a part of a software development kit (SDK). And for video header bidding, the code is placed inside the video player itself.

When a user accesses the site, app, or video player, the code responds by sending out a call for auctions to all of the bidders who have access to your premium inventory. The auction takes place either directly within your site or inside a dedicated server. If the auction takes place on your site, it's referred to as client-side header bidding. If it happens on a dedicated server, it's called server-side header bidding.

Whether the auction takes place client-side or server-side, bidders place their bids simultaneously, without knowing what others are bidding, and the winning bid request gets the ad impression.

The Header Bidding Wrapper

A header bidding wrapper isn't absolutely necessary to do header bidding, but it's an extremely helpful tool that can reduce problems like slow page speeds. The code we discussed above is a part of the wrapper. Basically, the wrapper contains all the pieces of code that control the header bidding process.

So, you have the code that initiates the auctions, but you also have a number of "ports." Each of these ports is dedicated to calling a single bidder each time there's a qualifying auction. Then you have the auction rules, such as price floors. Those are in the header bidding wrappers, too.

The benefit of having a header bidder wrapper is that you can make changes in the wrapper's interface rather than directly on your site. So, when you want to add a new bidder into the mix, you can do that much more easily. Header bidding wrappers can also reduce problems with latency that header bidding implementation can sometimes cause.

Server-Side Header Bidding 

You'll only have a server dedicated to header bidding if you do server-side header bidding. In this case, the auctions for your inventory will take place on a server, taking some of the load off of your site. That's different from client-side header bidding, which calls and holds the auctions directly inside your site.


When using header bidding, you'll want to choose which supply-side platforms (SSPs) you want to send your inventory to for bids. These are your bidders. Your wrapper will send out the call for bids to each ad network you have integrated.

The Ad Servers

Once the auction is over and a winner has emerged, the ad server or your header bidding wrapper will send that information to an ad server. There, the winning bid will compete once again, this time with other sources of demand, such as direct buys. The ad server will serve the creative for whichever demand source wins this final competition.

Raider.IO increased its revenue by 50% by switching to Playwire

What Is Header Bidding Integration?

That's all great to know, but what does implemented header bidding actually look like? How does header bidding work? It's both simple and complicated. It's simple in the sense that all you do is build the code, choose the server, and select bidders. It's complicated in the sense that coding is difficult, and making all of the moving parts work fluidly with each other - often jumping across different coding languages - can be a nightmare.

However, the truth is that the process we just described isn't usually what happens for publishers. Most publishers opt-out of the DIY approach to implement header bidding and instead go for a header bidding platform that simplifies the process. These platforms do all the legwork for you; all you do is place the code on your site and start thinking about what you're going to do with all that extra revenue.

Playwire: The Top Header Bidding Integration Solution

Header bidding integration is the complex but absolutely necessary step standing between you and higher revenue. Getting it right is key - a subpar setup can leave a lot of ad revenue on the table and reduce your credibility among bidders making it paramount that you select a quality header bidding partner. We're here to help you get it right.

At Playwire, we have developed a cutting-edge header bidding solution that combines the power of all of the major header bidding platforms into a single integration. With Playwire, you get the power of Open Bidding, Unified Ad Marketplace (UAM) and Transparent Ad Marketplace (TAM), Prebid, and more - not to mention the unbeatable advantage of having ad ops professionals actively manage your inventory to maximize your revenue every single day.

It's not a lake house, but it might help you afford one. Ready to learn more? Reach out to our team of header bidding experts by calling 561-206-4621 or getting in touch online.

The Complete Header Bidding Resource Center