No More ChasingWaterfalls: A Measurement Study of the Header Bidding Ad-Ecosystem

Michalis Pachilakis, Panagiotis Papadopoulos, Evangelos P. Markatos, Nicolas Kourtellis
2020 Zenodo  
In recent years, Header Bidding (HB) has gained popularity among web publishers, challenging the status quo in the ad ecosystem. Contrary to the traditional waterfall standard, HB aims to give back to publishers control of their ad inventory, increase transparency, fairness and competition among advertisers, resulting in higher ad-slot prices. Although promising, little is known about how this ad protocol works: What are HB's possible implementations, who are the major players, and what is its
more » ... s, and what is its network and UX overhead? To address these questions,we design and implement HBDetector: a novel methodology to detect HB auctions on a website at realtime. By crawling 35,000 top Alexa websites, we collect and analyze a dataset of 800k auctions. We find that: (i) 14.28% of top websites utilize HB. (ii) Publishers prefer to collaborate with a few Demand Partners who also dominate the waterfall market. (iii) HB latency can be significantly higher (up to 3°ø in median case) than waterfall.
doi:10.5281/zenodo.3598095 fatcat:5aysvdexgfgonocjbx7bx6ogme