Example Publisher: Space.com (part of the Purch Network)
Since I work for AppNexus I’ll let the screenshots largely speak for themselves here, but generally speaking AppNexus offers a straightforward response, exact price (which needs to be divided by 10,000 to get to an exact rate), and the creative details.
Casale Index Exchange
Example Publisher: CNSNews.com
Index Exchange has a detailed, yet easy to understand response structure to their header bidding request. One item in particular I like is how clearly they have the brand and advertiser domain listed in their response. While I don’t typically see publishers logging this value, I imagine it’s incredibly helpful to Ad Ops teams when investigating ad quality concerns. Likewise, I think logging these values as additional parameters in the ad server could simplify reporting in downstream systems for publishers who access the raw logs for their ad server.
Example Publisher: Topix.com
Keyvalue: A combination of position and size; 'top160=1' as an example
Criteo is probably the most mysterious of all the header bidding companies in that, along with Amazon, they are one of the most common direct-to-publisher integrations yet have an unconventional process. Criteo doesn’t bid exclusively through header bidding like Amazon does, but it’s certainly their preferred approach in order to maximize their reach on highly targeted audiences, particularly on high quality inventory on premium publishers. That said, this one is tricky to catch working in the wild because it specializes in retargeting shoppers who have recently abandoned carts at various online merchants. So, if you want to see Criteo tags pass keyvalues into the ad server, you need to prime your cookie with some data worth bidding on. In this case, all I needed to do was check out the Case Study section on Criteo’s site to see they were a partner of FragranceNet, and after throwing a few items in my cart, my Criteo parameters went from totally empty to full of winning bids on my very next pageview, giving me coupon codes for moisturizer and cologne.
Like Amazon, Criteo mixes two pieces of information in their response, the position and size of their bid, so that you might see keyvalues like ‘top160=1’, which simply means the top 160×600 ad slot. In many cases, Criteo will return as many bids as they have creative instead of a bid per ad position on the page as the SSPs tend to do. In my particular case, Criteo was able to submit 22 different bids to the page to offer the publisher maximum flexibility to show one of their ads. That said, Criteo does not pass price in any visible way that I can see, rather they simply pass the equivalent of ‘yes’ in their bid; the keyvalue is present or it isn’t, but they don’t quantify their bid in any way.