Back 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 towards helping 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.
Table of Contents
- What Is Prebid?
- What Is Prebid.js (Or Prebid Wrapper)?
- Why Should You Use Prebid.js?
- How Does Prebid.js (Prebid wrapper) Differ from Prebid Adapter?
- What Is Prebid Server?
- Why Should You Consider Using Prebid Server?
- What Is Prebid Mobile?
- What Are The Benefits of Prebid Mobile?
- Are There Any Drawbacks of Prebid?
- What’s Next?
What Is Prebid?
Prebid provides an open-source header bidding solution that is scalable and allows digital publishers to use real-time auctions 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?
What Is Prebid.js (Or Prebid Wrapper)?
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 with 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, in the sense that anyone can read what code was 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 taken by the demand partners 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 make decisions about 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 Prebid Adapter?
As we explained above, Prebid.js is a header bidding wrapper that connects you to multiple demand partners. On the other hand, 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.
What Is Prebid Server?
As you might guess from the name, it’s a server-side header bidding solution that enables you to run auctions in 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 and it responds back 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, and more.
- Prebid runs auctions on the server-side, which makes it faster.
- Prebid Server is fully customizable and comes with features like currency conversion, price floors, analytics, and caching.
Looks interesting, and want to learn more about Prebid Server? Here’s a detailed guide that talks about everything you need to know about it.
What Is Prebid Mobile?
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?
If you have a mobile app presence, adopting Prebid Mobile SDK can help you achieve more accurate campaign performance, higher yield, and increased revenue. Here are 3 ways you can benefit from using the Prebid SDK:
- Just 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.
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 support to troubleshoot. If you don’t have enough technical expertise and an in-house adops team, running header bidding via Prebid can be tedious.
It’s not just a matter of installing and configuring one or two demand partners. You will most likely need to simultaneously set up and enable multiple solutions and optimize the ad campaigns, which leads to a lot of 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.
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 on your own depends on specific factors. That said, 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 as well as do the optimization on your behalf.