Header bidding is perhaps the most used programmatic technique to auction ad impressions today. From mid-sized media outlets to ComScore top 100 publishers, everyone is leveraging header bidding to monetize their traffic and maximize revenue.
But are header bidding ads contextually relevant? As you know, header bidding happens in a matter of milliseconds and it is impossible to scan the page in realtime for contextual details before bidding. We know that the ads are personalized to the user, but are they also personalized to the context?
Mostly yes. But it also depends on how the media buyer set the targeting on their end. How?
Caching. Rather than crawling the URL, assessing the context, and classifying the page in real-time, bidders will use the cache. When the bid request is received, a bidder can simply query a contextual cache for the URL from a record. It will return the results in milliseconds, which in turn, is used to assess the contextual relevance.
This means DSPs will crawl and create cache records to help them understand the context of the pages — in the background. The whole process exploits the fact that users typically view the same set of pages over and over again.
If a bidder doesn’t have any record for the page URL, then it can either proceed without contextual information and bid or decide not to bid for the request. It depends on the buyer’s preference. When DSPs come across new URLs, then they’ll crawl and cache the contextual information so that they can be used next time.