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Bid Request – Everything You Need to Know

Bid Request
A bid request helps you ensure that the ads displayed to your readers are highly relevant. Let's see how.

The bid request is something that helps you to better your ad revenue and user experience. If you run a website, you’re likely to be concerned about ad experience. All your organic and paid distribution strategies typically aim to attract and retain users. Lousy ad experience can drive your visitors away and it drastically affects the brand affinity.

We don’t have to explain how difficult it has become to get tens of thousands of readers every day – you know it better. That being said, ads power the open internet. Without ads, many independent media companies, journalists wouldn’t probably exist today.

So, what’s the right way to run ads and deliver a better experience to the readers?

There’s no simple answer, but the relevancy of an ad matters a lot. If the ads are genuinely trying to help readers to do what they may like or desired to do recently (shopping a product, signing up for a service, etc.), then you win.

A bid request helps you ensure that the ads displayed to your readers are highly relevant. Let’s see how.

Table of Contents

What is a Bid Request?

A bid request is a piece of code that is executed as soon as a visitor loads a web page (with ad spaces on it). The basic functionality of a bid request is to record the data relating to the user and the device that he/she is operating. By doing this, the bid request can fetch relevant ads via the ad networks and display them to the visitor.

Advertisers will receive bid requests in order to place their bids for an ad impression and you, as a publisher, can then select the highest bid and display the right ad. From real-time bidding to exchange bidding to header bidding, bid requests are everywhere. In order to get a clear picture of all these terms, it is important to know where a bid request fits in the whole process.

  • When a user visits your (publisher’s) website, a bid request is generated which fetches different data points relating to the location of the user, demographics, page context, browsing history, etc.
  • This bid request then goes from your website to the ad exchange and shares the information about the website visitors with the advertisers. An ad server or a header bidding wrapper does the job (depends on whether you’ve implemented header bidding or not).
  • Based on the user data, advertisers place their bids and bidding made by the advertisers’ works on ads per-impression basis (CPM).
  • With the help of an ad server, you can select the highest bid and allow the advertiser to place their ad on your web page.
  • For all the ad slots on the page, the same process will be repeated.

What Information Contained in a Bid Request?

Apparently, a bid request contains a lot of valuable information about the user, ad unit, and webpage. When you decode a typical request, you’ll see:

  • Bid ID
  • User Device
  • User Details
  • Impressions
  • Extensions
  • Website
  • Application

Bid ID: Bid ID refers to a unique identification number assigned separately to each bid to identify a bid request.

User Device: It gives all the information related to the device that the web page visitor uses. This includes device type, model, operating system, ISP, etc.

User Details: This parameter consists of all the information and demographic details about the website visitor such as location, age, gender, preferences, and browsing history, etc. This information is used by advertisers to serve personalized ads.

Impression: Impressions include the lowest number of impressions for banner or videos. These are provided by the available inventory.

Extension: Showcases any additional inventory-related information which could be useful for a Demand-Side Platform or an advertiser.

Website: Page context, type of content, site’s publisher ID, domain name, etc.

Application: If the available inventory is for an application, the ad bid contains information like the application ID, type of content, site’s publisher ID, etc.

Ad bids usually contain these pieces of information but there are certain browsers that do not allow to reveal user’s personal information in which case, some of the information parameters listed above may vary. For instance, Safari – Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) purges the third-party cookies. On the other hand, if the user decides to opt-out of personalized ads, a bid request will simply have the context of the page to deliver a contextually relevant ad.


Bid requests are an integral part of online advertisements as it allows publishers and advertisers to exchange information and show the users, ad content based on their interests. With programmatic advertising in place, bid requests balance the equation and work as a win-win for all the people involved. However, it is important for you as a publisher to understand the concept of ad bids thoroughly as nowadays many people use this concept to conduct fraudulent activities.

These fraudulent activities involve selling user data to vendors for quick profits without the users’ consent or knowledge of the publishers. From a publisher’s perspective, you can take care of handling these frauds by ensuring that you are sending the bid request with personal information only after getting the proper consent from the users ( A Consent Management Platform can do it for you). If you are in the EU, it’s necessary to have a CMP in place.

You can also ensure that you share bid requests only with authorized exchanges and SSPs, rather than sharing them with unknown vendors as it might lead to fraud. This way you can minimize the risk involved. Ads.txt can help you and the buyers to know who is authorized to sell your inventory.

Automatad Team

At Automatad, we help publishers to monetize better without hampering the user experience. Our products are live across hundreds of publishers, earning them incremental ad revenue with every passing second. You can request a free audit to get an estimated revenue uplift today.

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