Why Did We Build ClearBid?

UberMedia has been a publisher of mobile apps since 2010. With apps like UberSocial, Echofon, and Plume, we’ve provided millions of users with feature-rich Twitter experiences crafted by our team. Despite an official Twitter client release, revenue from these apps has remained steady and even grown while the user base has not.

How have we managed to create revenue growth without growing our userbase or alienating them through aggressive monetization? By developing our own ad tech focused on getting the most relevant (and highest CPM) ads to our users. In our early days, this meant leveraging all the data the user was willing to provide to match them with the most relevant ad. From this sprung forth our DSP and mobile data businesses. Today, we’ve found ourselves on the forefront of another major innovation for publishers, in-app header bidding.

As technologists, we were aware of the massive change header bidding brought to the desktop world, increasing revenue and allowing publishers to benefit from the true value of their audiences. However when we evaluated the landscape for in-app header-bidding (aka parallel bidding), we only discovered platforms that didn’t offer a truly level playing field and barely qualified as a simultaneous auction.

Faced with this, as publishers we decided that the upside of a true header bidding platform was absolutely worth spending development time on. We turned to a recently acquired team of SDK developers who previously were known for creating the first truly battery-efficient location tracking SDK. This team leveraged their existing SDK technology to create a platform that dramatically increased revenue without interrupting our ad stack or significantly increasing the size of our apps. We can even manage the entire thing server-sided and make changes without re-deploying to the app store. Pretty incredible!

The in-app header bidding landscape has grown since we began using our own solution, but we have been surprised to see that things still haven’t really changed. Platforms are still being created by exchanges to favor their own supply and by players that don’t understand what’s important to publishers. Some publishers have built their own in-house solutions and are seeing great results, but they’re built specifically for their own app.

We built ourselves a platform that had all the features we would want as publishers. It’s open and ready to work with any exchange so we can find the best CPMs across the entire ad ecosystem. It’s server-sided, so we can make changes or use our additional tools to fine tune the auction on the fly. It’s transparent, we want to know exactly what’s going on with our monetization after running a DSP showed us the shenanigans that can happen to publishers. And finally, we wanted to use our platform in all of our apps, so we built a platform that can be used in any app with or without an SDK.

After word got around of the results we were seeing, being able to use our platform with any app suddenly became relevant and we decided to share it with a few friendly publishers. We’ve now improved yield for a variety of mobile apps, and have decided to open our publisher group so that we can offer a publisher friendly alternative to some of the more unfair or indifferent in-app header bidding platforms in the ecosystem.

We’ve been fortunate to have a collaborative environment in our group of publishers, who’s feedback has been invaluable in helping us prioritize and come up with new ways to improve our own revenue and theirs. For example, we’ve begun development on integrating dynamic price floors to optimize auctions even further using machine learning. We’re also using our experience in mobile data to add unique parameters to ClearBid impressions that make them even more attractive to demand partners.

Consider this to be our invitation to the world of in-app header bidding. Reach out below to have a conversation about increased revenue without disrupting your existing ad stack. We’d love to give a tour of what we’ve done with ClearBid, and what’s coming next..