IX Perspectives

The Reign Continues: Header Accounts for 82% of UK Spend in July 2016

Index Exchange’s foray into the United Kingdom began last year and today, it’s our third-biggest market, in terms of spend, impression volume, and bid requests. It’s been interesting to see how the market has grown over time and what types of ad units, prices, and auction types buyers and publishers gravitate towards.

Much like we’ve seen in the United States, United Kingdom publishers are selling the bulk of their inventory and accruing most of their spend through header-based integrations. As the UK business is a somewhat new one for us, the focus on header is likely a function of our new relationships there: UK publishers we’ve started to work with in the last year are header hungry. Why start up a new tag-based relationship when header is preferable for all parties?

Today, we’ll examine United Kingdom exchange activity. Below you’ll find a series of graphs covering the demand and supply sides. Note that most data is indexed – the top buyer or category for any variable gets a 100 and every subsequent piece of data is shown as a proportion of that 100.

Telefonica Retains Top Buyer Spot

Interestingly, an overwhelming majority of the spend we see in the UK market is in the open market. And of that spend, most of it is through header-based auctions, which means the majority of spend we see in the UK is header spend in an open, non-closed environment. As scale grows in the UK, we expect to see the PMP channel grow more rapidly – header and strong PMP performance is combination most publishers see go hand in hand.

UK top buyers

As you can see, Telefonica remained in the top spot for July. The brand was the biggest UK spender in all of Q2.

Of July’s top ten biggest spenders exchange-wide, there is a good deal of difference from Q2’s biggest spenders. Still on a list is Telefonica, Sky, and American Express. New to the list are BMW, The Royal Bank of Scotland, NEXT, Cisco, Crown, Kellogg’s, and National Express.

The highest winning bid price of the United Kingdom’s top ten spenders went to Crown. The construction equipment company also had the highest average clear price of the bunch.


Above are the biggest private marketplace buyers – the PMP buyers who spent the most. Of the list, luxury goods eCommerce provider Net-A-Porter had the highest winning and clear prices. This is common for the Retail-Luxury category – we recently found the sub-vertical regularly has the highest clear prices of the retail vertical.

Header Keeps On Rising

uk auctions

In this post, we noted header tag’s dominance over tag-based in the UK. In this market, each month since December 2015, we’ve seen more spend and impressions through header tag accounts than tag based accounts. The split between the two integration types became extremely pronounced in March and header’s growth has been on a steep climb since then.

Header reached an important milestone in June 2016, when more impressions were served through the header than through tags. Despite the dominance of header-based spend since March, this is the first time we’ve seen this — it shows that the size of header spend is not just because of header’s higher CPMs, it’s because we’re seeing and winning more header auctions now than tag-based.

The growth of header spend and impression volume continued into July 2016. Despite decreased spend exchange-wide, header-based spend grew 3% from June and 39% from May. Tag-based spend decreased 3% from June. Eighty-two percent of spend in the UK in July was through header-based accounts.

ad units

Above you’ll see the top ten selling ad units in the UK market during July 2016. Header claims the bulk of exchange-wide spend, across the board. The one unit with a bit of tag-based love is the 160×600 – a standard unit that spends well through tags exchange-wide as well. (Exchange-wide, 59% of spend on the 160×600 was through header-based accounts.)

Larger, more premium display units went overwhelmingly through the header. The 970×250, 300×1050, and 120×600 all posted at least 99% of spend through the header.

header units

tag based

Header tag prices were higher for all units, across the board, in the UK market during July 2016. The display unit with the highest clear price, regardless of auction type, was the 970×250. Each subsequent unit below is shown by its value relative to the header tag clear price for the 970×250.

ad units cpms

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