The emergence of header bidding three years ago came close on the heels of Index Exchange's pivot from traditional media sales into programmatic publisher enablement. In this week's episode of AdExchanger Talks, CEO Andrew Casale describes the reinvention header bidding enabled for his 16-year-old family-operated business.
"We had replaced every media dollar with a programmatic dollar" by around 2014, according to Casale. "Every dollar was coming from a pipe. We were in market as an exchange, pitching publishers to consider an alternative platform."
But SSP switching costs were high in those days. Most media companies still considered the choice of a sell-side platform as a substantial business decision. For many prospective customers, Index was barred from pitching by that perceived switching cost.
Header changed that, since it allowed Index to effectively compete alongside a publisher's incumbent vendor.
"It became an instrument for us to effectively change the conversation. Rather than say to a New York Times or a Conde Nast, 'Switch your SSP to us,' we were able to instead pivot the conversation to say 'Add us,'" he recounts. "That to me was the flashpoint in the rise of the header."
Also in this episode: "The three stages of header." How many ad exchanges are there? And what does ads.txt mean for the war on fraud?