What Should Publishers Know About Prebid Adapters?

Updated on: January 5, 2024
Prebid adapters empower you to work with your preferred demand partners. Learn how they work and benefit from using them.

As the competition for unsold inventory grows, more and more premium publishers are turning to header bidding. Nearly 79% of web publishers have already adopted this technology, with many more planning to implement it soon. 

Adoption of Header Bidding Worldwide

And why not? Header bidding allows them to sell ad impressions through programmatic ad systems and generate more revenue from their advertising space.

But have you ever wondered how header bidding connects your website to multiple demand partners? The answer is through a wrapper. While the wrapper is essential for real-time auctions, the header bidding adapter connects your ad inventories to demand partners.

It’s understandable if you’re feeling confused. Header bidding can be complicated, but in this article, we’ll answer all your questions and provide a clear understanding of how it works.

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 a programmatic demand partner provides that helps a publisher connect with its demand (Ad Exchange, SSP, or Ad Network).

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 a nutshell, getting an adapter means getting demand from the supply-side platform. We need a wrapper because wrappers are the containers holding the adapters. A wrapper alone cannot help you integrate demand partners.

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 provides two adapters for publishers: A bidder adapter and an analytics adapter.

  • Analytics Adapter

A Prebid analytics adapter lets publishers connect with third-party analytics vendors to track and analyze programmatic advertising metrics. These metrics can include bid rates, win rates, fill rates, revenue, and latency.

By tracking these metrics, publishers can identify areas for improvement and make more informed decisions to optimize their advertising strategy accordingly.

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.

  • Bidder Adapter

Prebid bidder adapters are extensions that can be added to the Prebid.js core. They are used to enable publishers to receive bids from a variety of Supply-Side Platforms (SSPs) and ad exchanges. The adapters can be switched out depending on which partners the publisher chooses to work with, and there are currently over 300 adapters available. 

How Do Prebid Adapters Help Publishers?

The primary benefit of using a prebid adapter is increased revenue. By connecting with multiple DSPs and exchanges, publishers can increase competition for their ad inventory, which can drive up the price of their ad space. This can lead to higher CPMs and overall revenue for the publisher.

Another benefit of using a prebid adapter is better control over ad inventory. Publishers can set rules and preferences for advertisers to bid on their inventory and price. This can help them display high-quality advertisers that align with their brand values. It can also help them avoid displaying irrelevant or low-quality ads.

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

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

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 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 players like JW Player.
  • It complies with GDPR, CCPA, and COPPA and supports TCF V2.0 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 from selling 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 the 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, improving buyers’ match rates and targeting capabilities.

AppNexus Adapter

AppNexus is the second highest-used demand partner, according to our survey. 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. If you have an app for your website, you can also monetize the app inventories with the AppNexus adapter.
  • The adapter follows privacy laws and regulations and complies 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 and without values (to add later dynamically). 
  • Also, the AppNexus adapter can be integrated with Criteo’s User ID module. That means you can leverage the database of Criteo and synchronize users to target them better and display relevant ads.
  • The adapter enables publishers to set up floor prices 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 and server-side integrations. However, a publisher must get the provider’s approval for server-to-server integration. Below are the features of PubMatic’s header bidding adapter.


  • Like AppNexus, PubMatic also helps get native ad demand and banner and video ads.
  • The adapter supports GDPR, COPPA, and CCPA data privacy laws and can be integrated into a Consent Management Platform.
  • Via PubMatic, publishers can integrate the User ID module to ensure 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, etc.
  • PubMatic adapter can help you set the bid floor price to remove the advertisers participating in the auctions with lower CPM rates than you desired.
  • The custom targeting feature and the adapter support user synchronization that increases the match rates for demand-side platforms and 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

Independent publishers or publishers relying on managed service providers can use the Prebid adapter Index Exchange offers. 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, 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 others. So, if you choose Index Exchange as a managed header bidding provider, 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’s objects, increasing the auction’s transparency. Here’s a detailed list of Rubicon’s bidder adapters.


  • 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. You can also serve ads for mobile app users 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, etc. 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, known as DistrictM and DistrictmDMX adapters. While DistrictmDMX is the company’s 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 prices 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 others. You can display banners, videos, and native ads on your inventories. Below are the features you expect from the Pulsepoint adapter.


  • The adapter supports data privacy laws, GDPR and CCPA but doesn’t comply with COPPA. Besides, it supports User ID modules. So, you can leverage top ID solution providers (ID5, LiveIntent, etc.).
  • In the Pulsepoint adapter, you can add, manage, and optimize floor prices 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 top adapters, such as Criteo, One by AOL, and TripleLift, aren’t even included in the list since it is hard to cover all.

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

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

What’s Next?

Prebid adapters are necessary for publishers when running header bidding auctions. When you’re getting a new bidder adapter, ensure that you have checked its features and compatibility with other Prebid adapters (if you already have them).

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