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Footer Bidding: A risky but worthy alternative to Header Bidding

In the programmatic ecosystem, header bidding is a money-spinner for publishers. It allows publishers to maximize their revenues while connecting with multiple demand partners from various SSPs/ad exchanges in a unified auction. 

While header bidding involves page latency as a drawback worthy enough to be tackled, a lot of publishers seek quality page speed; thereby giving more importance to user experience apart from generating revenue. This is where footer bidding steps in as the header bidding twin to modify the cons arising from latency. 

Let’s understand what footer bidding is and how it serves as a worthy alternative to the most prominent trend in the programmatic ecosystem.

What is footer bidding?

Footer bidding is a technique that is opposite to header bidding. Under this technique, the ad requests of a particular webpage are held back until all the elements of the webpage i.e., content, images, etc. are completely loaded. 

When a user visits a web page, the JavaScript installed in the header of the website begins the auction as soon as the page is loaded. This may result in reducing the page loading speed of your website which hampers the overall SEO score as well as the user experience. With footer bidding, you have the convenience to hold back the ad requests, and thus, the auction begins only after the page is completely loaded. 

Sounds interesting right? This may open up new avenues for both the demand partners from multiple SSPs as well for the publishers. Having said that, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of footer bidding.

Pros of footer bidding

1. Improved user experience (UX)

Any webpage that takes more than five seconds to load may impact the user bounce rate to a great extent. This usually happens when there are multiple requests are being executed in the background when the user clicks on the page link. With footer bidding, such requests are kept on-hold until the page is completely loaded. This, eventually, makes the user stay and spend more time interacting with the content on your page. 

2. Better SEO score

Google’s Core Web Vitals place a lot of emphasis on page speed as an important ranking factor. With footer bidding, a publisher’s website has an opportunity to improve the page loading speed which not only improves the user experience but also boosts the overall SEO score of the website.

3. Increase in demand partners

With footer bidding, publishers can now show off their inventory to more demand partners from multiple SSPs at the same time. As the page loading limitation is scrapped off, more demand partners can be a part of the auction which begins only after the page is fully loaded. This, in turn, can drive off better CPMs as more demand partners bid on the premium inventory of publishers.

Cons of footer bidding

While footer bidding guarantees a surreal experience to users in terms of page-speed loading and a high rate of revenue to the publishers, there’s also another side to this coin. If a publisher’s website is not well optimized in terms of page speed, the ads on such a website won’t load until the rest of the content is loaded. 

If your webpage takes anywhere between 5-10 seconds to load the original content, you may lose out on various potential clicks to the ads. This is because by the time the ad(s) load on the website, the user might have shifted to another page or bounced off from the website altogether. This impacts the viewability of the ads. It also harms the number of impressions and reduces the overall revenue for the publishers. 

Footer Bidding vs Header Bidding

Footer bidding and header bidding mostly function similarly as far as the inventory bids are concerned. The major difference lies in terms of the point where the auction process starts. In footer bidding, the ad requests are made only after the entire webpage is loaded. This is done to ensure that any user who visits the webpage ends up viewing all the ads from different demand partners without compromising on the user experience, and the publishers generate maximum revenue without missing out on any impressions. 

On the contrary, in header bidding, the ad requests are made as soon as the page starts loading. Thus, the auction starts as soon as the header of the website is loaded. This puts the various demand partners in a fair auction environment. Once the webpage is loaded, only the highest bidding demand partner occupies the publisher’s inventory. Moreover, in header bidding, page latency is a major drawback because while the page is loading, multiple ad requests are being made in the background. This hampers user experience.


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