What is App Bidding_ The Guide to Programmatic Ad Monetization

What is App Bidding? The Guide to Programmatic Ad Monetization


App Bidding – sometimes referred to as “in-app header offerings” because they resemble a similar technology of real-time offerings on the web, app offerings are poised to transform the mobile industry by improving efficacy and fostering fair competition. It evolved to help transparent and equitable business practices in a sector that remains sometimes compared to the Wild West. What began as a meritocratic answer to a unique monetization challenge has gained significant traction and is now spreading like wildfire.

Like many other ad technology innovations, the origins of app bidding are in the desktop world, with what was initially known as header bidding. The headline bid has diffuse sources but entered the mainstream lexicon in 2015. Publishers had become frustrated with Google’s last-look advantage, the resulting bias toward their exchange, and the inefficiencies inherent in ad cascades, so they began auctioning inventory in the real-time page header. What started as a hack transformed digital advertising forever.

What is App Bidding?

What is App Bidding_

Application tendering is a programmatic advertising sales technique in which mobile app publishers offer inventory to multiple sources of demand in real time through a unified auction. The method allows media buyers with different models (e.g., programmatic ad networks, ad networks with simulated bidders, and distribution service providers) to compete on a level playing field, increasing publishers’ revenue.

All sources of demand involved in the auction receive and process bidding requests, typically using the OpenRTB protocol, which contains the information they can use to determine what they are willing to bid for printing programmatically. The editor sets time-out periods to ensure a smooth user experience, with only bids coming in before the period has elapsed. Once submissions remain returned and the winner is selected, the resulting ad remains delivered to the user. This whole deal takes place in seconds.

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What Is In-App Header Bidding?

The term “in-app header bidding” is occasionally used to refer to what has become more widely known as in-app bidding. Initially, the period remains to compare app bidding with its desktop advertising predecessor, in which a similar auction would hold in a k header. However, since there is no “header” in a mobile app, the term “in-app header bidding” is slightly inappropriate. Therefore, industry players use words like “in-app bidding” to describe the same functionality.

App Bidding Vs. Programmatic Mediation

Application tendering” remain often used interchangeably with “programmatic mediation.” However, programmatic mediation is a broader category encompassing application tendering and RTB (real-time offering) technology. Editors should be aware of this critical distinction: RTB protocols automate auctions through label-based integrations.

Application bidding uses a transparent infrastructure that incorporates all sources of demand. It means programmatic and non-programmatic advertising networks. Development service providers and other sources of demand can compete on an equal footing. Application bids also facilitate a unified auction, making all offers visible to the publisher.

How Is App Bidding Integrated?

Not all sources of demand follow the same rules. Integration options, auction rules, ad formats, and rendering may vary from platform to platform. The SDKs also offer custom capabilities, making APIs a vital feature of the ecosystem of application offerings. Therefore, app offerings are not as simple as their web-based predecessor.

Mobile ad mediation platforms can already support multiple SDKs within a single forum, making them the first to offer application tendering solutions. Ad exchanges also offer app bidding via SDK, connecting publishers to DSPs and ad networks. This technology is relatively new and constantly evolving. From a publisher’s perspective, the best application tendering solution will foster fair competition between ad networks and programmatic demand. The publisher benefits even more if the auctions remain within its central ad server.


Like purchasing programmatic media, bidding for applications remains complicated. It can be stressful to adopt a bid solution, especially if your current monetization stack is profitable. One way to ensure your application offering platform is ready is to explore your sources of demand. If you’re already a Vungle member, you know that we partner with premium advertisers and produce innovative products that users love. In addition, our dedicated team of application monetization experts is available to help you evaluate your options. Contact us today for more information!

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