In-app bidding, also known as header bidding for apps, is a programmatic advertising technique that enables multiple ad demand sources to compete simultaneously for ad inventory within a mobile app. It brings the concept of header bidding, which originated in web advertising, to the in-app advertising ecosystem. 

How does it work? 

In-app bidding involves the following key steps: 

  1. Integration: The app developer integrates an in-app bidding SDK (Software Development Kit) provided by an in-app bidding platform or technology provider into the mobile app. This SDK facilitates communication between the app and the various demand sources participating in the bidding process. 
  2. Ad Request: When an ad placement becomes available within the app, instead of sending the ad request to a single ad network or exchange, the app sends the request to the in-app bidding SDK. 
  3. Auction: The in-app bidding SDK conducts an auction among multiple demand sources, such as ad networks, exchanges, or demand-side platforms (DSPs). Each demand source submits their bid for the ad impression in real-time. 
  4. Bid Evaluation: The in-app bidding SDK evaluates the bids received from the demand sources based on predefined rules and criteria. This evaluation may consider factors such as bid price, targeting parameters, ad quality, and historical performance. 
  5. Winner Determination: The highest bid wins the auction, and the winning demand source is notified through the SDK. The winning demand source’s ad creative is then delivered to the app for display. 
  6. Ad Display: The app displays the winning ad creative to the user, ensuring a seamless ad experience. 
  7. Reporting and Analytics: In-app bidding platforms often provide reporting and analytics tools to app developers, allowing them to track and analyze the performance of different demand sources, optimize revenue, and gain insights into their ad inventory’s value. 

Benefits of in-app bidding 

In-app bidding offers several benefits to app developers, publishers, and advertisers: 

  1. Increased Competition: In-app bidding allows multiple demand sources to compete simultaneously, increasing competition for ad inventory and potentially driving up ad prices and revenue for app publishers. 
  2. Efficient Monetization: By enabling real-time bidding and eliminating the need for waterfall-based ad mediation, in-app bidding streamlines the ad serving process, reducing latency and increasing ad fill rates, leading to more efficient monetization. 
  3. Higher Revenue Potential: In-app bidding can maximize revenue by providing access to a wide range of demand sources and allowing them to bid on an impression-by-impression basis. This can result in improved yield management and increased revenue opportunities. 
  4. Improved User Experience: In-app bidding helps deliver more relevant and higher-quality ads to users, as demand sources have an equal chance to bid for an impression. This can enhance the user experience and increase engagement. 
  5. Simplified Ad Operations: In-app bidding simplifies the ad operations process by consolidating multiple demand sources into a single integration. It reduces the complexity of managing multiple ad networks and exchanges, making it easier for app developers and publishers to manage their ad monetization strategy. 
  6. Access to Advanced Targeting and Data: In-app bidding platforms often provide advanced targeting options and audience insights, allowing advertisers to deliver more precise and relevant ads to specific user segments.