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Benefits of Header Bidding in Pharma


With advertising technology and society continuously advancing, you may have come across the term header bidding in the last few years. Although a hot, wildly covered topic in the early part of 2017, Header Bidding, sometimes referred to as Pre-bid, has become a top talking point across the Pharma marketing industry.

What is Header Bidding?

Header Bidding is a unified auction conducted by publishers outside their ad server and an effective and efficient way to simultaneously offer advertising space out to all participating auction ad partners Single Side Platforms (SSPs and Demand Side Platform (DSPs) or exchanges at one time.  

How Does Header Bidding Work?

Effectively, publishers use a Header Bidding Wrapper (typically JavaScript) that enables bid requests from multiple demand sources simultaneously using programmatic protocols such as Open Real-Time Bidding (OpenRTB).

As a user navigates to the site, the process begins upon page load within the user’s browser. The embedded header bidding code and wrapper (ie, <Head>lots of code and header bidding gobbledygook</Head>) calls on the demand partners like AppNexus, IX, Pubmatic, Deep Intent, Rubicon, Criteo, and simultaneously to bid on the impression before reaching out to the publisher ad server. Ad Partners manage their own auctions to determine eligible top bids sent and that the highest Cost Per Thousand (CPM) are passed from the browser to the publisher ad server. This process generally happens in less than a second. In contrast to the ‘legacy’ waterfall technique available ad inventory is offered up to other SSP buyers in a queue sourcing multiple ad tags on the page. If a buyer doesn’t show any interest, it moves on sequentially, and so on… in a “waterfall” of potential buyers. In this technique, the publisher potentially falls short of maximizing its revenue through higher CPMs bids downstream. Header bidding starts as soon as a webpage begins to load on the user’s browser – maximizing revenue.

Value to Medical and Health Publishers and Pharma Marketers

Greater Yield, Increase Fill, More Opportunity

The most significant benefit of header bidding for Medical and Health Publishers is increased revenue as a result of greater yield. Since header bidding allows publishers to have a simultaneous auction from all the bidders, publishers can sell inventory on a per-impression basis. This permits less reliance on a single SSP via the traditional waterfall approach and allows for a smarter allocation of impressions and increased fill rate.

Ultimately, Header Bidding is successful because it benefits both the sell- and buy-side. For Publishers, this means more scale into demand who can increase fill rates. On the flip side for buyers/advertisers, header bidding provides access to more inventory and greater opportunity to reach their Healthcare professional (HCP) and consumer audiences. Just like publishers, advertisers are readily purchasing inventory sold via header bidding. The transparent and low discrepancy environment encourages advertisers to invest equally in header bidding.

Benefits of header bidding for Medical and Health Publishers:

  1. Increased choice of demand and better yield management

Header bidding provides flexibility to integrate with multiple ad partner sources (these ad partners are further connected to demand-side platforms, DSPs, and advertisers). This supply chain helps increase bid competition for the inventory and generates higher yield and more revenue thus providing publishers more options on the type, quantity, and quality of demand at their fingertips.

  1. Greater transparency

How much are your impressions worth? Header wrapper information and/or third-party browser extension tools like BidFilter and HeaderBidExpert (screenshots) enable users to easily check which part of the inventory is sold to which demand partner with bid-level data, allowing more control and more bid transparency for reporting and yield optimization.

  1. Eliminates ‘passback’

Header bidding eliminates the need for pushing inventory back and forth, which happens in a waterfall when there is no bid and can be ineffective and wasteful.

  1. Better control

Header bidding allows publishers to set up auction parameters per their needs from floor pricing to timeouts and page latency and mix of demand partners based on performance standards.

  1. Alignment to Google AdX 

Header bidding allows an equal playing field whereby AdX and header bidding partners can bid together. Who knew?

Benefits of header bidding for Pharma marketers:

  1. Access to more inventory 

Header bidding enables buyers to see a publisher’s entire inventory, providing a better understanding of their reach. It also allows buyers to access more audiences and gives them a greater chance of delivering their campaigns – as bid requests can be generated for every available impression – at the right time.

  1. Forecasting

More ad inventory that becomes available over time means improved forecasting for campaign planning and tactics. This one’s simple – more consistent inventory over time means better and more accurate forecasting for campaigns and media planners.

What is eHealthcare Solutions (EHS) Header Bidding offering?

At EHS, we’ve taken a unique approach when providing our publisher ad network with header bidding technology. We’ve built our own pre-bid offering on top of our existing open-source code – prebid.js.

Since recently implementing header bidding on our Owned & Operated (O&O) and strategic third-party exclusive partners,,,, and, we have seen a significant rise in fill rate and revenue, ranging from a 25% to 75% increase.

Implementing EHS Header Bidding Tags are so easy.

EHS has taken the time and consideration on how to make our product easy to implement for our publishing partners. As a result, not only can individuals install them to their web page themselves, we are also able to manage the tags from our end. That means we are able to add new bidders and tweak parameters. All these developments can be applied and implemented with our publishers and done without having to change anything on the publisher’s website and ad taxonomy.

There is an interesting and bright future for programmatic. Publishers clearly need better tools to manage their ad inventory in an efficient, holistic manner. Header bidding has proven to be very innovative at forcing change and better measures around controls based on tolerance of the content owner and advertiser in terms of who they want to advertise and what type of content they want to advertise against.

The continuous shift in streaming is changing how TV is transacted and consumed. Header bidding solutions across Over The Top (OTT) have popped up. Open Wrap OTT by Pubmatic and Publica’s OTT Header Bidder unified auction tools bring a digital-like way of trading media to TV and unifies the buying impression process paths of direct-sold via insertion order (IO) and programmatic buys via DSPs providing a comprehensive view to increase competition and control frequency via server-side execution. Programmatic OTT Innovation is not yet fully baked but demonstrates another area where header bidding proves its value for today’s publisher and marketer investments. 

So what are you waiting for? Take advantage of our programmatic prebid offering and our dynamic Server-side Ad Insertion (SSAI) video ad-supported player technologies.

To learn more you can email, call, or fill out the form on the right and one of our digital advertising professionals will get in touch with you.


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