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What is Prebid?

Prebid originated in 2015 by a consortium of industry-leading marketers and publishers as a counter-response to the traditional ‘waterfall’ auction methodologies. The initiative aimed at creating a more democratized platform where ad buyers could compete fiercely, translating to higher CPMs for publishers. Today, Prebid stands as an industry-standard, celebrated for its straightforwardness, efficiency, and the value it offers to both publishers and advertisers.

Prebid has grown in popularity due to its simplicity and effectiveness; it allows for more competition among ad buyers, leading to higher CPMs for publishers. In addition, Prebid is easy to set up and can be implemented quickly on most ad servers. It’s become an important tool for publishers who want to maximize their ad revenue, and for advertisers who want to ensure they are getting the most bang for their buck.

The Advent of Prebid

The birth of Prebid is attributed to visionaries in the marketing and publishing space who identified the limitations and bottlenecks of the traditional ‘waterfall’ approach. They sought a more streamlined, effective solution that could champion transparency and foster a more competitive environment for ad buying.

How does Prebid help Advertisers?

Advertisers always seek platforms that offer them the best ROI. Prebid, with its competitive environment, ensures advertisers get value for money. They can effectively reach their desired audience without overspending, thanks to the real-time bidding environment that Prebid creates.

What Is Prebid.js?

Prebid.js is an open source tool available to advertisers looking to implement header bidding on websites and apps. It works via a JavaScript tag, which  is placed on the web page or app and executed when the page loads. The tag makes a call to each ad exchange that has been configured by the advertiser, in order to fetch bids for the ad inventory. The ad exchange then responds with the bids, which are passed back to Prebid.js. The JavaScript then determines which bid is the highest, and displays the corresponding ad.

Prebid.js takes place on the client-side, meaning that all of the auctioning and decision-making happens in the user’s browser. It’s important to note that Prebid.js is not an ad server; rather, it’s a tool that can be used in conjunction with an ad server, such as Google Ad Manager.

Prebid.js is the most popular tool for implementing header bidding, and is used by a number of major publishers, including The Washington Post, Forbes, and Hearst. In addition, a number of ad tech companies offer support for Prebid.js, including AppNexus, Index Exchange, Rubicon Project, and Sovrn.

What Is Prebid Server?

For those leaning towards server-side header bidding, Prebid Server is the answer. Contrary to Prebid.js, which functions client-side, Prebid Server operates from the server-side. It engages with ad exchanges to accumulate bids for ad spaces, directing them back to the ad server. Consequently, the ad server chooses the highest bid and serves the respective ad.

Server-side operations, as seen in Prebid Server, have the advantages of reduced latency and greater publisher control. Furthermore, Prebid Server is designed to be more adaptive, resonating with numerous ad servers, including giants like Google Ad Manager and Amazon Publisher Services.

The Main Differences Between Prebid.js & Prebd Server 

Although they perform the same function, Prebid.js and Prebid Server function in unique ways and  offer different advantages. Here is a breakdown of some of the most notable.

  • Auction Side: Prebid.js operates client-side, whereas Prebid Server resides on the server-side. The server-side is generally regarded as more efficient, primarily due to reduced latency concerns.
  • Ad Server Inclusivity: Prebid Server encompasses an ad server, unlike Prebid.js. As a result, while using Prebid.js, an external ad server becomes essential.
  • Setup & Management: Prebid.js, governed by the Prebid.org community, has a more user-friendly setup, especially beneficial for those with limited tech expertise.
  • Performance Metrics: Both tools are high-performing, but Prebid Server usually outshines in speed and efficiency, given its reduced latency.
  • Control Mechanism: Prebid Server accords publishers more control, an outcome of its server-side operations. It’s a boon for publishers seeking greater autonomy over their site’s ad displays.
  • Compatibility Range: Prebid.js collaborates with a broader set of ad servers. In contrast, Prebid Server is attuned to a wider spectrum of ad exchanges.
  • Cost Implications: Both platforms are free. However, Prebid.js users might incur additional expenses for using an external ad server.

Prebid Alternatives for Publishers

While Prebid reigns supreme in the header bidding space, publishers aren’t without options. Several other tools and platforms have emerged, each offering unique features and capabilities. Diving deep into alternatives can help publishers make an informed decision based on their specific needs and technological infrastructure.

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