With Meta, OpenX hopes to turn header bidding from a hack to get around an ad server’s limitations to a more sustainable solution that addresses latency and partner management issues.
But it still has plenty of work to do. OpenX must first finish integrating buyers into Meta. Once those are complete, it can approach publishers to implement.
Among the publishers that have expressed interest in signing on is study guide website Slader, which uses a wrapper solution to manage its seven partners.
“As we continue to layer on header partners, we layer on more and more network requests,” said Scott Kolb, co-founder of Slader. “That takes up more bandwidth and more things can go wrong.”
For Slader to use Meta, Kolb will need to make sure overall performance, including both speed and yield, is the same or better. Kolb also needs to ensure enough of its partners plug into the OpenX Meta solution for it to make sense to use.
OpenX admits some tech partners don’t like being fenced in by another’s wrapper. It’s been particularly tough for publishers to bring Amazon and Criteo into their wrappers, for example.
To win over publishers and their header bidding partners, Open X promises that it won’t do two things that can bias an auction in its favor. It won’t give itself “last look,” or an ability to beat the winning bid, and it will pass all bids into the ad server, allowing a publisher to monitor performance of all partners transparently.
Given the “aggressive adoption” by publishers of header bidding, OpenX projects that 25% of its 150 to 200 header bidding partners will sign on to use Meta this year, said Qasim Saifee, the company’s SVP and GM of monetization.
“Header bidding has been a great means for publishers to level the playing field,” Saifee said. “This doesn’t change that dynamic, it just makes it easier for publishers to do it.”