Thought Leadership

2020 Trends in Header Bidding

February 10, 2020
By Rubicon Project

We talked with Ashlee Roenigk, Vice President of Revenue Solutions at Rubicon Project, about how the header bidding landscape and Demand Manager will evolve in 2020, and how publishers can leverage the header to solve for identity. 


How was Rubicon’s Demand Manager received in 2019?


2019 was about perfecting Prebid as a service, creating the best independent, open source solution on the market. With Rubicon’s acquisition of RTK, we’ve added new technology, becoming a market leader in Prebid service solutions. The Technical Account Management group at Rubicon has been key to our growth. We’re using our people and our tools to continually enhance the product. 

What are your predictions for Demand Manager’s evolution in 2020?


2020 will be about rethinking the exchange, and what the exchange can do to reduce the ad tech tax. We’ll take the things publishers had to do manually and create more automation, including:

  • Dynamic Wrappers that automate optimizations that are currently done manually.
  • Improved Analytics with more real-time data points.
  • Creating high speed pipes that facilitate identity solutions, price floors, and unified inventory management.
  • A/B testing (beyond just client and server).

Will Demand Manager adoption grow?  


The majority of US publishers have transitioned to open source solutions like Prebid, and many of the largest publishers are choosing Demand Manager.

No one besides Prebid offers a dynamic wrapper that automatically optimizes demand, but a Prebid wrapper is not “set it and forget it.” That’s where Demand Manager comes in. As the capabilities of Prebid evolve, publishers will have even more to gain from Demand Manager. 


How do you think Prebid will grow in 2020?  


Header bidding is trending among app publishers, and more and more of them are curious to explore open source Prebid technology. App publishers will adopt Prebid server because it’s a great solution for apps. If anything has a chance to push the development of Prebid server, it will be apps. 

CTV will be integrated into Prebid next. I don’t think people are as concerned with pre-roll video, and CTV is easier than traditional video to solve. In 2020, everyone who is a mobile-first publisher will be interested in header bidding. 

Programmatic Guaranteed will also transform how we’re able to transact. Demand Manager will incorporate new Identity solutions, price floors, unified inventory management, direct connect, and high-speed pipes to connect sellers with buyers.  

We are working towards dynamic wrappers, auto-optimization, and enhancements to reporting. We’re building header bidding 3.0; that’s our goal for next year. 


How will the Prebid community evolve in 2020?


The publisher community will become a much bigger voice. There are more opportunities for publishers to participate, and already has 6 to 12 publisher members. We are seeing more publishers participating at Prebid events, and this year publishers will have more of a voice in the organization. 

Publishers will be eager to work toward an identity solution within a reasonable timeframe. They will have an equal voice with SSPs and buyers in the Prebid community, and all of this will influence where Prebid goes in the future.

How do you think Prebid will impact identity in 2020?  


It will have a massive impact on the future of identity. The publisher community will begin to hone in on a new system, based on the Prebid envelope and Prebid User ID Module, plus a couple of additional Universal IDs. We’ll get people using these IDs finally, and we’ll finally get the buy-side listening. 

A solution for identity likely won’t emerge this year, but soon we’ll have a timeline to do it. I hope we come out of 2020 with a vision of what the programmatic world could look like without cookies. That takes collaboration – and the Prebid community can make it possible. 

What is your hope for in 2020?


I hope publishers become the voice of it. I think they’ll get a seat on the board in 2020, and become more involved in telling technology partners like Rubicon Project what to do, and pushing a timeframe to solve for identity. Prebid should include more publishers’ voices.


What will be the biggest programmatic trends in 2020?


CTV, identity, and mobile header bidding.

What will 2020 be the year of?


It will finally be the year of mobile, which everyone has predicted for the last 5 years – but it’s going to be the year of mobile header bidding.

To learn more about Demand Manager and Prebid header bidding, reach out to us at

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