District M pushes out a new tool for transparent header bidding

Chrome extension Bid View will allow publishers to gain insight on who's bidding and how much.

Montreal-based ad tech company District M has launched a new Chrome extension, Bid View, with a mission to increase bid transparency in the programmatic landscape.

Bid View, which is currently live for download on the Google Chrome web store, allows publishers who use programmatic advertising to see the real-time clearing price of its various ad slots and how much each exchange is bidding on their inventory.

The goal, said Emil Torma, District M’s VP of programmatic solutions, is to help publishers better track and understand the intricate auction process in their header wrapper.

“This started out as a tool we needed internally,” Torma told MiC. “We have a goal to bring transparency to the header bidding game and the whole programmatic ecosystem. So when we saw the tool, I said, ‘We have to make this available for publishers.’”

Because the header bidding process involves multiple exchange bidders competing at once for each impression, Torma said publishers often aren’t getting a full idea of all the bidders for any given impression.

This information is technically out there, he said, but it’s not in language everyone can understand. “Everyone can see it, and all that data is in the script,” he said. “But publishers usually don’t have the time to go through all that code. What we’ve done is make it easy to see and understand.”

He said by seeing these bids more clearly, publishers can also identify issues with their own inventory faster. “If one exchange is constantly running zero, for example, you can see that something is wrong. If there’s a bad ad, you can see which exchange it came from.”