History of header bidding
In December 2010, the OpenRTB Consortium was announced with the goal of defining a standard for real-time bidding. The standard was created in 2012 and was adopted as an IAB standard, and today we know it as the RTB protocol.
This gradually led to the emergence of a header bidding solution that enables real-time online auctioning between individual demand partners. Initially this was client-side header bidding, but later on, server-side header bidding and hybrid solutions were developed (see detailed description on page 46).
The standard was in place, but mass use was still far from being achieved. The next significant step forward was the creation of the open source header bidding solution, Prebid, in 2016 by the team around AppNexus (later AT&T’s Xandr). The broader community around GitHub subsequently contributed and continues to contribute to its development, and in 2017 Prebid.js 1.0 was released.
The designation “header bidding” has established itself gradually. Initially, the technique was also referred to by the names “Tagless”, because it does away with the classic ad tags common in waterfall, or “auction auctioning”, because in addition to the header bidding auction, there are SSP-level and ad exchanges.
For a better overview of the development of header bidding, we have prepared a timeline describing the major milestones: