+8 votes
I'm thinking to give a try to in-app real time bidding for monetization. I have read some info about LevelPlay (ironSource), MAX (Applovin) and Google Open Bidding. What work is involved in migrating from a manual waterfall to real time bidding? Does header bidding typically deliver better CPMs than waterfall monetization?
by (450 points)

2 Answers

+3 votes
In the process now, as we recently did the switch. Some initial comments:

- you should still have a waterfall in addition to the bidding, so that the winning bid can compete with high ecpm targets you set in the waterfall

- only a few networks have no-sdk solutions, so you would probably still need to add plugins from the major networks

- expect some time to establish relations with the no-sdk networks, as they might have a time consuming approval process (it's not just plug and play)

- bidding seem to deliver better ecpm when looking at average ecpm

- open bidding looks promising, however not at the point where you can set it up and leave it be, still requires monitoring and follow up

Best of luck!
by (650 points)
+3 votes

Adstal covred the highlights.   I think at this point in time you should be on a mediator that supports header bidding.    We have been on Mopub, Fyber and Admob mediation in the past but most of our experience with MAX.  Some notes/requirements for us:

  • Support a hybrid setup of both header bidders and traditional waterfall with multiple price points for each network because you can't get enough network depth in a pure bidding setup at this time.
  • We require user level ad data for all mediated networks
  • Excellent tech - This is the hardest to precisely evaluate.  We have not compared any of these head to head.  When we migrated to MAX from Mopub our impression count alone increased more than 10% so it did a better job of not losing impression opportunities.    Stability and responsiveness when problems happen is also a must.  We had crash resolution and SDK fixes on prior systems that took weeks vs some being resolved in hours on current system.
  • Easy AB testing of your waterfall.   We now are continually running AB tests on waterfall/network configuration.   A typical example case: a network will say they can improve our revenue by adding some price points or changing price points.  We will run an AB test of existing waterfall vs the new waterfall setup and see which one actually has higher top line revenue for us.  There is usually no doubt that the change will increase that networks share of voice J but often it’s just pushing revenue around the networks without increasing publisher overall ad ARPDAU.   As you can imagine that is super useful for evaluating new networks and for rechecking existing networks.   If you add a network and don’t the data shows they don’t increase top line revenue…they probably are not worth having in your mix.
  • When we have good network depth and breadth the mediators network should not be dominating share of voice. With MAX Applovin generally  has a 10-15% share of voice in our rewarded and inter mix. They are small single digit % in banner. If the mediations network is dominating impressions/revenue there are likely questions about fairness
  • It likely can boost your CPMs for some networks but the amount will depend on how sophisticated your current setup is
  • The bidding networks are very low maintenance once they are working well.  We see that Facebook and Applovin do it well in MAX but others are still building our their bidding expertise.    We spend most of our time on managing the traditional waterfall networks
  • I think the migration is pretty simple.  If you've every changed mediation before or integrated new mediation it's no more work than that.  There is the usual tech integration and you will have dashboard setup to move over all of your traditional networks.   For bidding it's just one placement so bidding networks are simple.
  • I don't know of any drawbacks
by (200 points)
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