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Prebid Adapter – Everything You Need to Know

Prebid Adapter
If you want to implement header bidding via Prebid, then it's essential to know how prebid adapter works. We'll help to understand the basics and the top adapters to start with.

Premium publishers are increasingly leveraging header bidding to drive competition for their unsold inventory. Almost 79% of web publishers have adopted header bidding in the last few years and many more have planned to implement it in the next few months. And why shouldn’t they? The technology helps them to sell ad impressions through programmatic ad systems and generate more revenue from the advertising space.

But have you wondered how header bidding connects your website to multiple demand partners at the same time? If not, then here’s the answer – by a wrapper. While wrapper plays a vital role in running the real-time auctions, it is the header bidding adapter that connects your ad inventories to demand partners.

Got confused? Well, that is obvious. Header bidding is complicated and it’s a bitter truth we all accept. In this article, we will clear all your questions.

Table of Contents:

What is a Prebid Adapter?

In general, how do we define an adapter? A device for connecting pieces of equipment that cannot be connected directly. Similarly, in Prebid, an adapter is a product provided by a programmatic demand partner that helps a publisher to connect with its demand (Ad Exchange or SSP or Ad Network).

Prebid Adapter

Let’s make it simple by taking an example of our Prebid Adapter. Suppose you are the publisher who wants to run header bidding and add top supply-side platforms such as OpenX, AppNexus, and Rubicon Project. So, to connect with these SSPs, 

  1. You will be required to have dedicated adapters for each partner.
  2. Or, if you use Automatad’s adapter, we can get them all into your stack. 

The bottom line is, if you don’t have adapters, you won’t be able to get demand from that particular SSP. 

In nutshell, getting an adapter means getting demand from the supply-side platform. Then, why do we need a wrapper? Because wrappers are the containers that hold the adapters. A wrapper alone cannot help you to integrate demand partners. You need an adapter to get access to an SSP’s demand as we explained earlier.

Adapters function more than just bringing demand partners for a publisher. They are also responsible for creating the bid requests for the particular bidder’s server and parsing the bid response (bid value and ad creative) received from the demand-side platforms.

What are the Types of Prebid Adapters?

Prebid consists of two types of adapters for publishers:

  1. Bidder adapter, and
  2. Analytics adapter.

While bidder adapter is meant to connect with supply-side platforms and ad exchanges, analytics adapters can connect you with third-party analytics vendors and help you to understand revenue, latency, bid rates, timeouts, and so on. 

Additional Tip: It isn’t mandatory to get an analytics adapter separately if you have a managed header bidding service provider since they offer it as an add-on.

Moving forward, when you are looking for the Prebid bidder adapter in the advertising industry, it’s easy to get tangled in thousands of choices available. So, we have reviewed several programmatic partners out there and made a list of the best adapters for you:

7 Best Prebid Bidder Adapters for Publishers

OpenX Adapter

OpenX is one of the major players in the programmatic advertising industry and provides a Prebid adapter to help the publishers monetize their ads via real-time auctions. Below are the important features of the OpenX adapter.


  • The adapter can help you monetize display and in-stream video ad inventories via third-party video players such as JW player.
  • It is compliant with GDPR, CCPA, COPPA, and supports TCF V2 and other US privacy laws and regulations. So, you don’t have to worry about violating the data laws.
  • The adapter supports the integration of user modules in Prebid and you can leverage the advantage of universal ID solution providers such as Brightpool, Criteo, Digitrust, LiveIntent, etc. It will help you to identify the same user across different channels and platforms.
  • OpenX bidder adapter offers a feature to create and manage the price floors. A publisher can set-up a minimum bidding price for an ad inventory and protect it to get sold at a lower price than expected. If needed, publishers can delete the floors individually or in bulk.
  • Via bidder adapter, publishers can restrict advertisers from using data of a particular user to protect their privacy. It is done by passing the “doNotTrack” parameter in the bid request.
  • It can allow demand-side platforms to synchronize users and hence, it improves the match rates and targeting capabilities of buyers.

AppNexus Adapter

AppNexus is the second highest used demand partner according to a survey done by us. That said, here are the most important features of the AppNexus adapter:


  • AppNexus adapter can help you monetize display and video (instream and outstream) ad inventories. Besides, it can also help you bring native ad demands. Bonus is, if you have an app for your website, then you can also monetize the app inventories with AppNexus adapter
  • The adapter follows the privacy laws and regulations and is compliant with GDPR, COPPA, and CCPA. The adapter supports the Schain object in Prebid. That means more transparency in the ad selling process.
  • It offers custom targeting capabilities and key-value targeting for banner and video ads. You can define keys with values and without values (in order to dynamically add later). 
  • Also, AppNexus’ adapter can be integrated with Criteo’s User ID module. That means you can leverage the database of Criteo and synchronize users in order to better target them and display relevant ads.
  • The adapter enables publishers to set-up floor price for the bids returned by the demand-side platforms in the auction. 
  • Advanced debug auction for diagnosing AppNexus auction. To understand what is happening during auctions, you can enable this feature.

PubMatic Adapter

PubMatic’s header bidding adapter can be used for client-side as well as server-side integrations. However, for server-to-server integration, a publisher has to get approval from the provider. Below are the features of PubMatic’s header bidding adapter.


  • Similar to AppNexus, PubMatic also helps in getting native ad demand along with banner and video ads.
  • The adapter supports data privacy laws GDPR, COPPA, and CCPA, and can be integrated into a Consent Management Platform.
  • Via PubMatic, publishers can integrate the User ID module in order to ensure that the buyers recognize the relevant users and bid higher for the ad inventories. You can leverage major ID providers such as DigiTrust, The Trade Desk, ID5, and many more.
  • PubMatic adapter can help you to set-up the bid floor price to remove the advertisers who are participating in the auctions with lower CPM rates that you desired.
  • Custom targeting feature and the adapter supports user synchronization that increases the match rates for demand-side platforms and hence, improves the quality of targeted ads on your website.
  • Via PubMatic’s adapter, you can prevent ads from specific categories of advertisers such as humor, telecommuting, and so on. You can directly block the demand-side partners based on the IAB categories.

Index Exchange Adapter

The Prebid adapter offered by Index Exchange can be used by an independent publisher or the publishers who are relying on the managed service providers. Here is the list of features of the IX bidder adapter.


  • IX Prebid adapter supports banner ads for both desktop and mobile web, and video ads (instream and outstream formats). However, if you are looking for native ad formats, then this adapter will not fulfill your requirements.
  • It supports GDPR and CCPA compliance and the Consent Management Platform Module of Prebid.JS can be integrated with the IX adapter. However, the adapter doesn’t comply with COPPA.
  • The adapter doesn’t support Prebid’s User ID module. However, it has partnered with third-party ID solution providers such as LiveRamp, LiveIntent, Unified ID, and a few others. So, if you choose Index Exchange as a managed header bidding provider, then you can leverage their matched identity solutions.
  • You can leverage Prebid’s user synchronization feature by Index Exchange’s adapter. This improves the targeting of an ad as the match rates of demand-side platforms increase. 

Rubicon Project Adapter

Rubicon Project offers one of those Prebid bidder adapters that enable publishers to get bids in Net or Gross as they want.. Besides, the company also supports Schain objects which increase transparency in the auction. Here’s a detailed list of Rubicon’s bidder adapter.


  • You can get demand for both display and video. You can serve in-stream and overlay video ads on your inventories.
  • Custom-targeting options are available for web publishers. For mobile app users, you can also serve ads based on their longitude and latitude. Besides, you can also add, manage, and optimize the bid floor price for the demand-side platforms.
  • Rubicon’s adapter supports compliance with data privacy laws such as GDPR, CCPA, etc. Besides, it is also a COPPA-compliant adapter and can be integrated with major CMPS.
  • The adapter is integrated with major ID resolution providers such as LiveIntent, Publisher Common ID, IdentityLink, and many others. Consent Management Platforms can also be added to prevent personalized ads in EU countries, and other regions where consent is mandatory.

DistrictM Adapter

DistrictM has two variances of prebid adapters that are known as DistrictM and DistrictmDMX adapter. While DistrictmDMX is the company’s own adapter, DistrictM is the alias of AppNexus’ adapter. Here are the features you can expect from the dual bidder adapter.


  • DistrictmDMX prebid adapter supports banner, video (instream and outstream) and native demand. Besides, it also supports multi-format ads.
  • It is a GDPR and CCPA compliant bidder adapter but does not support COPPA compliance. 
  • DistrictM contributes to supply chain transparency as it supports Schain objects. However, the adapter doesn’t support the integration of the User ID module in the Prebid.
  • The adapter allows publishers to manage and optimize bid floor price during an auction. However, it is one of those adapters that return bids in Gross. So, publishers are required to adjust the CPM while receiving a bid response.

PulsePoint Adapter

PulsePoint’s bidder adapter can be easily integrated into the wrapper provided by Prebid, Pubfood, Index Exchange, PubMatic, and few other wrappers. You can display banner, video, and native ads on your inventories. Below are the features you expect from Pulsepoint adapter.


  • The adapter supports data privacy laws GDPR and CCPA, but it doesn’t comply with COPPA. Besides, it supports User ID modules. So, you can leverage top ID solution providers (ID5, LiveIntent, etc.).
  • In Pulsepoint adapter, you can add, manage, and optimize floor price for the demand-side platforms to exclude the low-performing advertisers. 
  • It also allows you to block specific advertisers’ categories, their creatives, and IAB categories.

Surrounded by hundreds of programmatic partners in the advertising industry, there are plenty of options for publishers to start with header bidding. Some of the top adapters such as Criteo, One by AOL, and TripleLift aren’t even included in the list since it is hard to cover all. The key to getting the best for your business varies with several factors that is why we have curated a list of top-performing partners.

How to Add a New Prebid Adapter to Your Prebid Stack?

There’s no special configuration required. If you are looking to add a new adapter — whether it is for demand or analytics, just include it  (select the adapter) while you download the Prebid.js package. If you use a managed solution provider, then you can check with the partner to include a new adapter.

What’s Next?

Just like wrappers, Prebid adapters are necessary for publishers when running header bidding auctions. So, when you’re getting a new bidder adapter, make sure that you have checked the features it has, and not but the least – compatibility with other Prebid adapters (if you already have). Couldn’t find what you’re looking for? Let us know in the comments and we will try to add it.

Automatad Team

At Automatad, we help publishers to monetize better without hampering the user experience. Our products are live across hundreds of publishers, earning them incremental ad revenue with every passing second. You can request a free audit to get an estimated revenue uplift today.

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