Thought Leadership

The Benefits of Managed Service in a Server-Skewing World

May 15, 2019
By Ashlee Roenigk, VP, Revenue Solutions

Paving the Path to Server-Side

Over the last year, Prebid.org has leveled the playing field for publishers looking to avoid the bias of proprietary wrappers. While Prebid’s open source code is transparent, crowd-sourced, and neutral, the downside is it still requires time-consuming development resources to manage and maintain.

Here, client-side hosting presents a short term answer and its promise is twofold: it will take the heavy lifting off of publishers and lay the groundwork for the migration to server-side in the next 18 months.

Server-side is undoubtedly going mainstream, propelled by its ability to resolve match rate issues (via Universal ID), its use in mobile, and early Programmatic Guaranteed (PG) development. As publishers make the move, they will want technology that offers them control over what demand they connect to and how that demand accesses inventory, down to the individual ad slot level (like toggling). They will also want the autonomy and flexibility to make monetization decisions without having to wait for development teams to implement them.

To help publishers lay the groundwork for the move to the server, it’s up to exchanges like Rubicon Project to develop controls, tools, UIs, and analytics for client-side technology. With Demand Manager, Rubicon Project aims to remove the burden of development from publishers, while giving them ultimate control.

How a Managed Service Solution Will Help in 2019

Implementation Services

With Demand Manager, Rubicon Project’s engineering teams configure Prebid on the publisher’s page, and though the publisher still owns the page code, we provide an entire suite of support features—consultation, implementation, engineering solutions, and ongoing maintenance to support publishers.

Optimization Efficiency

When all code lives on the publisher page, it requires the expertise of developers. Therefore, change is dependent on its prioritization in a development cycle and then—once it makes it to coding—hours of development work to make any optimization changes. All of this waiting handicaps monetization. When Rubicon Project hosts, we can spot issues, test changes, and make changes outside of the page header without requiring a publisher development cycle. It’s a win-win for publishers, as hosting simplifies both maintenance and optimization of the wrapper.

Empowering Publishers

A managed service solution such as Demand Manager affords publishers full control over their code via easy-to-use UI tools, which empowers them to better monetize each transaction. Come 2020, a hosted header bidding code will be table stakes for publishers, so we’re focused on simplifying the move to server-side with tools publishers need to navigate this transition.

Before Partnering Up

As with any major vendor selection, due diligence is necessary on the part of publishers to ensure hosting partners are fully transparent. Here’s a short-list of questions to ask any potential hosting provider. If a candidate can’t clearly answer these basic questions, publishers have reason for concern.

  • Does the solution make any changes to the way Google Publisher Tags (GPT) work? How is DFP called?
  • How flexible and granular is their solution in identifying ad slots? Does their solution require any changes to a publisher’s ad unit set up?
  • How do they contribute to Prebid.org? Have they made any customizations that have not been submitted to or approved by Prebid?
  • What controls or mitigation exists to turn off a bidder/bidders in case of an ad quality issue?
  • Do they own any media or have any exclusive demand partnerships?
  • Will they help optimize all of the demand sources or just your own?

Header bidding will undoubtedly move to the server — but before we can adapt into a fully open, unified, server-side model, we’ll need an intermediary period of client-side hosting. During this time, publishers’ needs must be put front and center, along with maintenance and support tools to help them be successful. We believe Demand Manager is the next step towards this future.

For more info about Rubicon Project’s Demand Manager, reach out to us at contact@rubiconproject.com.


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