IX Perspectives

How Header Bidding Can Actually Improve Page Load Performance for Publishers

computer screen loading

One of the most frequently discussed concepts within latency is the impact that header bidding is having on the performance of publisher sites. Gabriel DeWitt, VP of Technical Operations at Index Exchange, recently shared his thoughts on the topic with AdPipes founder Dan Layfield.

For those unfamiliar with latency, Gabriel begins with dividing it into three sections:

  • DOM rendering: or how fast the content of the webpages shows in the browser
  • JavaScript processing:  how much JavaScript is using the RAM on a computer, that can potentially slow it down
  • Network bandwidth: which comprises a volume of network calls, and whether Wi-Fi or DSL is in use

He sees header bidding as a better way of managing time in terms of ad display on pages. In the aforementioned three areas, header bidding uses the head section which is processed before the body of a webpage and asynchronous JavaScript. This doesn’t interrupt page load, according to Gabriel, and produces a much faster visual display of content than the synchronous JavaScript methods of traditional advertising. On the publisher side, we have seen a significant increase in page views. By moving from a thick passback chain using synchronous tags to the asynchronous methodologies of header bidding, page views have improved 20-40%.

“I would advocate strongly for publishers to consider header bidding, and even multi-header bidding, because the benefits it can bring in terms of opportunity is very strong,” said Gabriel DeWitt, VP of Technical Operations at Index Exchange. “And the risk that it brings in terms of your page getting much slower is, I would argue, not even there. If done correctly.”

The key to an effective header bidding solution is its execution. While header bidding will always necessitate a certain amount of code, many platforms are now offering publishers a wrapper solution. Index Exchange provides a wrapper that does the work on behalf of the publishers; it moves away from coding to page and instead provides a customised solution that addresses the specific needs of their integration.

Also discussed are potential avenues forward for header bidding, including the emerging market for UI-based wrapper solutions and further customisation. The full article and podcast can be found here on the AdPipes Blog.

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