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Here’s a number for you: $935.2 billion. That’s the amount of revenue experts think mobile apps will generate by 2023. Even today, apps are bringing in an estimated $693 billion. What does that tell us? Apps have huge revenue potential. But how do app publishers harness that potential to grow their own revenue?

You can bring in app revenue in a few ways — in-app purchases, subscriptions, download fees and more — but the most important way is through advertising. For most seasoned app publishers, that’s probably kind of obvious. But if you’re going to do app advertising, you can do it in the way that brings in some revenue, or you can do it in the way that brings in all the revenue. The superior method is called in-app header bidding.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about in-app header bidding. To get your app on track to bring in maximum revenue, learn more about Playwire’s app revenue platform.

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Read the Complete Guide to Header Bidding

In-App Header Bidding vs. Web Header Bidding

We have a few definitions to unpack before we can get to the heart of what in-app header bidding is. First, you need to know that header bidding is a programmatic advertising technique that democratized the process of buying and selling ads. 

Header bidding was first introduced on websites. It’s a complicated process, but here’s header bidding in a nutshell:

  • You add header bidding code to the header of your website.
  • When your site loads for a user, the code triggers a request for bids on the impression that’s about to take place.
  • That request goes to bidders through ad exchanges and supply-side platforms (SSPs).
  • Bidders make their bids simultaneously, blind to what everyone else is bidding.
  • The bids return to either your site or your dedicated header app bidding server.
  • The highest bid moves to your ad server, where the associated creative gets served to the user who loaded the site (unless direct demand outcompetes it within the ad server).

That’s it. In just those few steps, header bidding turned the previous auction method (called the waterfall method) upside-down. Instead of getting bids from demand sources one by one and stopping the auction when the first acceptable bid is made, header bidding gets bids from everyone and selects the highest one. The result is higher cost per mille (CPM), fill rates and more control.

This was an enormous innovation in programmatic advertising. When header bidding technology started to expand into the mobile app space, the effect was just as dramatic.

The In-App Header Bidding Process

The in-app header bidding process is similar to the process for website and even video header bidding. All the key points are the same: a unified auction occurs for every impression and you get the highest bid every time.

The difference between in-app header bidding and standard header bidding is down to mechanics. Instead of having an embedded piece of code start the auction like you would with web header bidding, you have a software development kit (SDK) that starts the process. 

From there, the simultaneous auction happens. The highest bid competes with direct demand to be served to the app user who initiated the loading of the app.

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FYI on SDKs for In-App Header Bidding

Learning how in-app header bidding works is probably the easy part. The hard part is deciding which SDKs and mediation partners to use when you implement header bidding in your app. There are countless SDKs and mediation partners for publishers to use, and they all claim to have their own “secret sauce” or proprietary tech that will get you better results. They can’t all be right.

So, how do you choose? Look for the partner that is going to cover the most bases for you. Sure, some platforms have access to solid demand. Others bring a more or less turnkey option that can keep tech headaches at bay. But when you find the platform that does it all, that’s the one for you.

In-App Header Bidding Is Better with Playwire: Here’s Why

At Playwire, we have built the platform that does it all. Here’s what our app revenue platform brings to publishers:

  • Classic mediation with the most in-demand ad networks and exchanges
  • A direct in-app ad sales team
  • A brand team that keeps your content and audience safe
  • A yield ops team with the sole objective of increasing your revenue
  • Unmatched in-app header bidding

That last point deserves some explanation. We do header bidding for apps better than the competition because our proprietary app SDK combines the power of the most advanced SDKs on the market today. Why be better than just one when we can pull them all in, combine them and create something that’s better than every other option?

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Take Your Mobile App Revenue to the Next Level

In-app header bidding is necessary if you want to maximize your mobile app revenue, but it’s even more complicated than web header bidding. In theory, you could do it on your own. You could piece together demand from a patchwork of mediation partners, manage those partners and implement Prebid.js. You could do it, but that’s a lot of work that leaves little time for the most important goal: creating the best content for your audience. 

Playwire has built the solution to this problem. We’re one of the only mobile SDKs that offers in-app header bidding, more than 20 header bidders, nine mediation partners (and counting), direct sales, a Yield Operations team with the sole focus of increasing revenue, and fully transparent data and reporting. To start reaping the benefits of our first-to-market platform, all you have to do is pick the ads that fit your app’s audience and install the Playwire mobile SDK. 

The rest is on us so you can focus on what matters with full confidence that your app revenue is always on maximum volume. To learn more, reach out to us online or call 1-561-206-4621.

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