Technorati Releases Tech To Manage Multiple Header Bidding Partners

Technorati Header BiddingTechnorati on Monday released SmartWrapper, a SaaS-based product that helps publishers run multiple header bidding partners by bringing all demand partners into one place.

For publishers juggling multiple partners, SmartWrapper helps manage implementation page latency and gives publishers more unified analytics.

With the product release, Technorati enters a different market. “We see this continuing down the path of moving away from the network model and into SaaS,” Technorati CEO Shani Higgins said.

Technorati runs a network business serving mid-tail to long-tail publishers and bloggers, but will focus on selling this product to comScore 200 publishers dealing with the pain points of adopting header bidding technology.

“Publishers that we’ve talked to have one to two [header bidding partners] and another four to five that have been knocking down their doors, but can’t integrate because of costs to implement, latency and data leakage concerns,” Higgins said.

Header bidding adds competition by taking bids before the ad server call, used by partners such as A9, Sonobi and PubMatic. But adding multiple partners takes valuable developer time and requires vigilant oversight to monitor issues like page latency.

The SmartWrapper technology runs one tag in the header of a publisher’s page that contains all of the other header bidding partners’ tags, simplifying setup and unifying reporting, management and optimization.

Higgins describes SmartWrapper’s container as “glue” that helps publishers add partners without causing an earlier partner’s tag to break, better manages timeout issues and provides insight into performance.

Topix, a local news site and forum with 13 million monthly uniques, according to comScore, has been testing SmartWrapper for the past few months. It added its first header bidding partner two years ago, and now works with several.

Though the partners added more competition, resulting in a “nice lift,” Topix needed a solution to understand the yield of each partner and make sure no one slowed down the site, said company COO Steve Rubenstein. SmartWrapper clarified what was going on, he said.

Under most configurations, it’s difficult for publishers to see how often a header partner is bidding and winning. Partners pick and choose what information to share, and the ad server only states who won and at what price, Rubenstein said.

SmartWrapper identifies how often partners bid and how often they win, helping publishers decide which partners are worth the latency they create, or if they should be removed or given a strict response time, Higgins said.

Publishers can limit partners that only bid during the first few page views of a user session on subsequent views so as not to wait on bid responses. Or they can tell partners how much to raise CPMs to increase their win rate.

SmartWrapper can also help publishers like Topix understand how long to wait for bids to come in. “If we know that 95% of the bids are in by one second, there’s no need to wait another second,” Rubenstein said. “We’ve cut down on load time for the partners.”

Going forward, SmartWrapper will have more “smart optimization” capabilities and analytics that enable publishers to manage partners and improve yield. An API to allow publishers to pull analytics into their own custom reporting interfaces will be ready next week.

SmartWrapper is one piece of a larger publisher tech platform Technorati is building, which will be dubbed Contango. The platform helps publishers with partner integration, management and optimization. But it will be a neutral third-party technology that doesn’t favor one demand source.

Despite many ad tech companies’ claims to work better when they get everything, the reality is that more competition generally gets better results for publishers.

“We have not had great success relying on one partner for everything,” said Topix’s Rubenstein. “We like a healthy ecosystem, and transparency to understand for what’s going on.”

The healthy ecosystem comes from multiple header bidding partners, and the transparency comes from adding in the SmartWrapper solution.

“We see ourselves as an extended tool to better manage [publishers’] DFP installation,” Higgins said. “Google does not benefit when [a header bidding partner like] Sonobi wins, they benefit when AdX wins, so they’re not going to build out the extra features that would make it more efficient for publishers.

“We figured we could solve for that, and give publishers additional insights and data.”

 

9 Comments

  1. This sounds like a great alternative when a publisher can't lean on server-side auctions which are faster than header based, client side. But not all demand sources can support a server side model, so Technorati may have hit a nice sweet spot.

    Reply
  2. Very interesting. I like how they're positioning themselves as totally demand agnostic. Solid idea and seems like something worth testing. Would love to get a look at how the data will look when broken out.

    Reply
  3. Natrian Maxwell

    This is an interesting solution and I can see the value. A couple of questions that come to mind are around fees associated for using this service and bid mechanics. Will this product evolve to Technorati running an internal auction and only submitting the highest bid to the publisher?

    Would love to better understand more of the details.

    Reply
  4. Very interesting. I like how they're positioning themselves as totally demand agnostic. But not all demand sources can support a server side model, so Technorati may have hit a nice sweet spot.

    Reply
  5. A couple of questions that come to mind are around fees associated for using this service and bid mechanics

    Reply
  6. Yes. This sounds like a great alternative when a publisher can't lean on server-side auctions which are faster than header based, client side.

    Reply
  7. Sounds great.Will this product evolve to Technorati running an internal auction and only submitting the highest bid to the publisher?

    Reply

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