6 reasons you should be using header bidding to monetise your in-stream video inventory

Posted by Asmaa Bentahar on

Header bidding is already very widely spread and works very well for display ads, as well as for out-stream videos.

However, things are quite different when we talk about header bidding for in-stream video, the market is much more on its earlier stage, for several reasons:

  • A large part of the video business is carried out through direct campaigns. In this context, what’s the point of multiplying video demand sources?
  • In-stream videos are much less standardised than display ads, therefore harder to manage across multiple demand sources.

However, there are big stakes for publishers to implement in-stream video header bidding. Some of the most advanced ones have already succeeded and are reaping the first benefits!

Through this article, we will explore in-stream video header bidding benefits, and how you can implement it under the best possible circumstances.


1st reason: Dismantling the waterfall

It is common for publishers to fill their in-stream inventory by using a waterfall involving several advertising partners: Google AdX, Freewheel, specialised agencies (sales houses, ad networks, etc.)

Waterfall problems are the same here as for display ads:

  • The first partner called is not necessarily the one with the highest bid
  • It is awful to manage on a daily basis from an operational point of view (changing floors, partners’ order, etc.)
  • You can expect losing between 10% and 30% of your traffic at each stage of the process.

Thus, switching from the waterfall mode to unified bidding makes a lot of sense.


2nd reason: Taking advantage of SSPs’ and ad networks’ sales forces

Many SSPs have buy-side sales forces who sell in-stream video “packages” through cross-publisher deals.

By connecting several SSPs, you will indirectly take advantage of these deals which are not necessarily considered as open deals in the purest sense of the term, but which are very similar to it from a publisher’s point of view.

This is a demand source where you don’t have to invest any sales resources!!


3rd reason: Control!

Not being dependent on a single partner for video monetisation promotes a healthy business environment!

That is, healthy competition between different monetisation partners avoids the monopoly of a technological partner which can, at any time, have a drastic impact on monetisation.

The more revenues are balanced between different partners, the lower the risk.


4th reason: In-stream video demand in the Open market is rising

Display and out-stream video are fully automated and very well supported by Prebid and the SSPs.

For in-stream video, it is technically more complicated, but the market is structuring itself and is increasingly managing to overcome the technical challenges related to in-stream video.

Furthermore, we are already noticing demand in the Open market.


5th reason: There are multiple partners available

Amazon, Rubicon / Telaria, Appnexus, Freewheel (of course), SpotX, Criteo, AdX, One Video (AOL), Smart, country collectives, etc.

All of these are options that will allow you to get additional demand and also to manage inventory with different deal options, PMP, etc.


6th reason: In-stream video is a strategic asset for the coming years!

Advertisers’ in-stream video investments are increasing from year to year, it’s a very interesting business line.

As always in Adtech, the first-come first-served principle prevails. A word to the wise!



In-stream video is a hot subject, that is particularly topical in 2020, where we will see many publishers reaping the first benefits.

However, we have to keep in mind that it is technically more complex than display and out-stream header bidding, and that some errors and integration issues may need to be managed.

Thus, you need to expect allocating significant technical resources to this topic. We advise you to take a step forward if your Preroll video inventory is growing or has already reached a critical mass (several tens of millions of Prerolls per year).

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