In-App Bidding Survey Results: Interest Rising, More Publishers Testing



In-App Programmatic


March 12, 2020


min read

In-app bidding is one of the hottest topics in mobile marketing, and for good reason: it can simultaneously increase revenue, decrease workload and give better access to data to publishers and advertisers.What is an in-app bidding or unified auction? Put simply, it's an auction that allows every demand partner to bid at the same time for every impression. That's a big step up from the traditional waterfall, where demand sources are sequentially ranked and only when the partner at the top cannot fill the impression does it go to the next ad network.To get an idea of how the in-app auction trend is progressing, Chartboost recently surveyed 99 publishers about their knowledge level and technology choices. This latest survey updates our 2018 results with fresh numbers from the end of 2019.

More publishers than ever know about in-app bidding

The number of publishers who say that they are not familiar at all with in-app bidding dropped by half between 2018 and 2019, falling to 19 percent. Meanwhile, growing numbers of publishers count themselves as ''somewhat'' to ''very familiar'' with in-app bidding. In total, 80 percent of publishers have some level of familiarity with the concept of in-app bidding.

If you're still getting more familiar with in-app bidding, check out Chartboost's series on the topic, starting with our introduction to header bidding and unified auctions, an overview of their benefits, and the right questions to ask when evaluating a solution.

Eleven percent use in-app bidding; more move to third-party solutions

Over the year, the number of publishers using third-party in-app bidding nearly quadrupled, from 3 percent to 11 percent. However, the percent using their own in-house exchange or bidding fell from 5 percent to only 1 percent.The drop in publishers using their own in-house solution may not be permanent about 22 percent of respondents also said they're considering building their own in-house exchange or bidding platform, for reasons like maintaining more control or having more transparency. However, the process of building a bidding platform is quite difficult, which may explain why more publishers in 2019 are using a third-party solution.

Intent is high to try in-app bidding

Some 36 percent of publishers have already tested at least one in-app bidding solution. Another large group, 49 percent of respondents, plan to test a solution within the next 6 months.With all the talk about in-app bidding, it's not surprising that so many publishers want to test it. However, some feel that they can't yet. The most common barrier, for 30 percent of respondents, is lack of resources. A similar group, 28 percent, report lack of technical knowledge as an inhibitor. Both of these groups would benefit from looking at existing solutions, which might be easier to integrate than they expect.Chartboost is listening to publishers as we build out Helium, our in-app bidding product. Helium's unified auction prioritizes visibility into the auction funnel, which helps publishers better understand the market value of their inventory.A special thanks to all the developers who participated in the survey! Congratulations to developer Thomas at who is the lucky winner of the $300 Amazon gift card.With a lightweight SDK and the ability to test alongside an existing monetization stack, it's easy to give Helium a try. Get started with Helium at