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In-App Bidding

In-app header bidding

What is in-app header bidding?

The term “in-app header bidding” refers to the practice of running auctions for mobile in-app ad impressions in real-time between multiple demand sources, offering app developers the opportunity to achieve maximum value for each impression. The term is a bit of a misnomer, however, as there isn’t really a “header” in mobile applications. The auction typically takes place in the background of the app whenever users start a session, though when exactly the auction takes place is up to the developer. Most importantly, these auctions represent a departure from the traditional in-app advertising waterfall method which has been the de facto choice for mobile monetization experts for the last decade.

Header bidding vs. waterfall

Mobile header bidding is growing in popularity as developers understand the benefits it brings over the traditional waterfall. In the waterfall method, publishers would rely on historical performance data from demand sources to prioritize which gets the impression. They allocated their inventory from source to source, cascading down the waterfall, until all addressable impressions were fulfilled. The problem with this kind of daisy-chaining, however, is that only one network at a time is ever given the opportunity to address the impression, making the process less competitive. As a result, higher paying opportunities can be missed, and publishers make less money.

This warranted the need for a real-time auction to be introduced to the mobile app environment, given header bidding’s (the equivalent desktop solution) major success online in the desktop world, with publishers seeing a 20-40% CPM lift since implementing header bidding. Developers who have fully implemented in-app bidding no longer have to manually set up waterfalls, since the process is fully automated.

Learn more about LevelPlay, ironSource's in-app bidding solution.

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