Everything You Need To Know About Prebid

Updated on: December 19, 2023
It’s no secret that the header bidding landscape is hot right now. With Prebid, the ad-tech industry wants to make it as easy as possible for publishers to implement and benefit from the concept of header bidding. Let’s learn more about it.

In 2015, three major ad tech companies (AppNexus, Rubicon Project, and PubMatic) joined forces to create Prebid.org, an open-source solution for header bidding. They aimed to help independent publishers manage inventory in the programmatic space and run header auctions effectively. 

Since then, Prebid has established itself as the go-to header bidding solution in the ad tech ecosystem. In this article, we’ll introduce you to Prebid, explain its benefits, and show you how to use it to maximize your ad revenue.

Prebid: An Open-source Header Bidding Solution

Prebid provides an open-source header bidding solution that is scalable and allows digital publishers to use real-time auction mechanisms to maximize yield from their web and mobile app inventories. It is a whole ecosystem for standardizing header bidding and includes a product suite, a community, and an organization.

For you, understanding the Prebid product suite is paramount. It consists of three important components:

  • Prebid.js (wrapper)
  • Prebid Server
  • Prebid Mobile

Since you just got introduced to prebid, this is a good time to learn more about its key parts. So, shall we start?

Prebid Wrapper(Prebid.js)

Prebid.js is an open-source header bidding wrapper that helps you connect with multiple demand partners at once, run header auctions, and serve ads from the highest bidder in real time. It is the most important product of the Prebid suite that supports multi-format ads and offers many more monetization features. With Prebid.js, you can easily set up line items in Ad Manager, send asynchronous ad requests to bidding partners, and manage them effectively.

Why Should You Use Prebid.js?

Prebid provides publishers the tools to make their header auctions simpler and more lucrative. Let’s take a look at the benefits of Prebid.js:

  • The platform is open-source because anyone can read the code used to power header auctions. With Prebid, it’s easy for anyone to see what demand partners are bidding and how much you’re earning for your ad inventories.
  • Prebid has over 250+ demand partners. It will enable you to reach various types of buyers through display, video, and native demand.
  • You can implement asynchronous ad calls without worrying about the risk of users getting suboptimal experiences. It also provides a single timeout feature that ensures page load speed is not affected by the time the demand partners take to return the bid response.
  • Prebid makes it easy to implement server-to-server or page-level header bidding, as the Prebid Server is compatible with both types.
  • It provides multiple ad format opportunities (native, video, display, OTT) so that you can run ad campaigns for various platforms, including mobile and web.
  • Prebid provides various tools, modules, and analytics to help you decide how to set up bids and ad slots for higher ad revenue.

Learn more about how it works and how to set up the Prebid.js wrapper to run header bidding here.

How Does Prebid.js (Prebid wrapper) Differ From the Prebid Adapter?

As explained above, Prebid.js is a header bidding wrapper connecting you to multiple demand partners. On the other hand, a Prebid Adapter is a specific code provided by the demand partner (SSP or Ad Exchange) that enables you to integrate it with your wrapper. Read more about Prebid Adapter in this blog post.

Prebid Server: A Server-side Header Bidding Solution

As you might guess from the name, it’s a server-side header bidding solution that enables you to run auctions on the server rather than client-side (i.e., user’s browsers). When you set up server-side auction integration, you need to make one call to the Prebid Server, which responds by calling the demand partners. The partner who bids the highest serves the ad on the website.

Why Should You Consider Using Prebid Server?

Prebid Server provides an easy, convenient way to manage server-side header bidding on real-time auctions. Other benefits include:

  • Prebid Server is compatible with many ad formats, such as AMP, video, OTT, etc.
  • Prebid runs auctions on the server side, which makes it faster.
  • Prebid Server is fully customizable, with features like currency conversion, price floors, analytics, and caching.

Looks interesting! Want to learn more about Prebid Server? Here’s a detailed guide about everything you need to know about it.

Prebid Mobile: A Open-source SDK

Prebid Mobile is an open-source SDK (Software Development Kit) that provides a header bidding solution for Android and iOS mobile devices. It allows you to integrate more mobile demand partners, choose between different mobile ad formats (such as interstitials and anchor ads), and work seamlessly with Prebid Server.

What Are the Benefits of Prebid Mobile?

Adopting Prebid Mobile SDK can help you achieve more accurate campaign performance, higher yield, and increased revenue if you have a mobile app presence. Here are three ways you can benefit from using the Prebid SDK:

  • Like you increase the revenue by running header bidding on the web and mobile web, Prebid Mobile SDK can increase the revenue by serving ads within the mobile app via header bidding.
  • Prebid Mobile SDK comes with straightforward integration and is lightweight.

Would you like to know more about it? Prebid has an extensive guide on Prebid Mobile. Check it out here.

Prebid Vs. Header Bidding

Prebid is a reliable header bidding solution. This open-source solution is free to publishers who want to implement header bidding on their websites.


On the other hand, header bidding is an adtech approach that connects the website with multiple demand partners. Implementing a header bidding solution needs just a line of JavaScript code. It increases the competition for the inventory space and increases the yield.


Hence, Prebid offers an easy tool kit for header bidding implementation, which allows publishers to set up HB easily without starting from scratch.

How to Implement Prebid on Your Website?

You need to follow several steps to implement Prebid on your website. Check the following.

  1. Prebid offers various wrappers. Prebid.js is mostly used and connects the publishers with more demand partners. Installation and customization are easy with technical expertise. 
  2. To implement the Prebid.js wrapper, download the Prebid.js package from the Prebid site by selecting the bidders and the respective adapters from which you will get the demand.
  3. You need to configure the code according to your needs with the AdOps team, then add the code to your site. 
  4. The code (prebid library file) collects bids from SSPs and exchanges you are connected to.
  5. The ad server’s tag is bound by the timer, so it will be paused while the Prebid library collects bids and creatives from the different demands.
  6. Prebid passes the bids to the ad server’s tag, which will then be sent to the ad server as query string parameters. 
  7. The ad server compares its line items with bid parameters.
  8. If the ad server decides the Prebid wins, it will send requests to the Prebid.js library to write the winning bid’s creative on the page. 


Are There Any Drawbacks of Prebid?

As the number of demand partners increases, so do their configuration requirements and your Prebid setup. One of the challenges with Prebid is the overhead required in setting it up since it doesn’t provide troubleshooting support. Running header bidding via Prebid can be tedious if you don’t have enough technical expertise and an in-house adops team.

It’s not just installing and configuring one or two demand partners. You will likely need to simultaneously set up and enable multiple solutions and optimize the ad campaigns, leading to much testing and tuning. Without someone helping you get over this hump, it can be difficult to get your head around implementing header bidding on your own. So, get started with Prebid if you’ve technical resources.

What’s Next?

The advantages of header bidding over a traditional waterfall approach are undeniable, and it is quite natural that publishers will want to switch to the solution as soon as possible. However, whether you should employ header bidding independently depends on specific factors. You always have a second option – a managed header bidding solution. Look out for vendors who are providing the solution. They can help you set up Prebid and optimize on your behalf.

Do you have any questions related to Prebid? Ask our AdOps experts, and they will be happy to help! If you need help running header bidding on your website, we can help you. Get in touch with us today!

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