It’s amazing how many twists and turns a company journey can make over the span of ten years. If you had asked Iversoft CTO, Vicki Iverson, where she thought she’d be in ten years when she was first programming Solitaire for early iOS at a kitchen table, who knows what her answer would have been. Heck, if you asked her two months ago where she’d be in two months, she still likely wouldn’t have suggested anything along the lines of discussing “How Today’s Publishers Navigate In-App Header Bidding,” as a subject matter expert. Not because she’s not an expert in the app and ad monetization space, (and managing a team that’s getting killer results,) but because it’s just one piece of what Iversoft does now, and it’s not even the core focus of her day to day. Maybe it’s because Vicki has always been flexible, adaptable, and willing to lean into the changes in technology, business and the tools available, that she has been able to grow Iversoft to the versatile technology company it is now. In any case, what started ten years ago, with two people at a kitchen table in Toronto, is now a 40+ sized team, mobile-first digital consultancy, headquartered in Ottawa. And optimizing in-app header bidding is just one of the things she’s learned about in that time - and why Vicki ended up on a panel discussing just that, at Toronto’s annual Mobile Growth Summit.
In preparation for the Summit, we ran Vicki through some of the topics up for discussion and were super excited to hear the great insights she had - and knew the audience was in for a fantastic talk! Since panels can be unpredictable at times, (and not everyone can make it out to MGS) we wanted to make sure people could still learn from Vicki’s insights, even if things didn’t go as planned on stage, and pulled together this highlight post covering some of the core ideas Vicki hoped to relay at MGS.
How have you utilized in-app header bidding up to this point in your suite of apps?
We started with in-app header bidding about two years ago with AOL, using Super Auction. It didn’t replace our waterfall, but it allowed us to get a live bid from AOL’s inventory and insert it into our waterfall at that predetermined price, competing against all of the other proxy bids. At that point we had MoPub and AOL competing with real bids instead of historical averages, which was a real improvement. Unfortunately, we didn’t see enough payoff in increased revenue vs. time spent setting it up, but we were really excited the industry was moving in this direction.
One of the biggest pushbacks we get is around latency issues with header bidding solutions. Is that real or a myth?
This is definitely an issue with client-side solutions, as the same resources are being used to power the user interface as collecting ad bids over the network, in real time. However, with server-side integrations, this becomes much less of a concern. Even without header bidding, you often see problems with mobile games lagging when making multiple waterfall requests via an SDK integration. With server-side integrations you’re only making one call for an ad. While server-side can’t eliminate latency entirely, if you’re using a good provider, they have a vested interest in reducing latency and cancelling slow bids. This is a pain point that header bidding on web also experienced, and we can hope that mobile is going to benefit by skipping over the painful learning curve that web endured.
What is the future of in-app header bidding? Will we see this replace the waterfall and when?
Absolutely, it’s already happening. At Iversoft, we’re already completely replacing waterfall on one of our top games with header bidding. Publishers are ready for it, advertisers are ready for it, and it’s just a matter of getting the software ready and in place to support it. If anything, header bidding is already here, and mobile technology has been lagging behind web, waiting to see if header bidding is a clear winner before making the switch. My personal prediction is that it will happen a lot faster on mobile than it did on web.
While Iversoft doesn’t offer in-app monetization and header bidding as a service, there are plenty of other ways Iversoft partners with app companies to help build out products and drive business goals. To discuss your business goals with Iversoft or to ask Vicki a specific question, connect with her on LinkedIn.