Thought Leadership

Prebid’s Growth in 2019

February 21, 2019
By Ryan Christopher, Director of Marketing, Americas

Prebid.org continues to grow, and with it, new features and services that optimize its open-source technology. Rubicon Project’s Philip Meyer, Bret Gorsline, and Garrett McGrath discuss what to expect in 2019 for the growing organization and its partners.

As header bidding evolves, what are some of Prebid’s biggest opportunities for growth in 2019?

Bret Gorsline (BG): Two things. First Prebid Server and Prebid SDK will have more impressive growth this year than Prebid.js as mobile helps drive adoption, the system becomes more transparent, and more adapters become available. Second, header bidding of all flavors should become more ‘boring’ as we make it easier to install and operationalize.

Philip Meyer (PM): Moving to server-side header bidding will allow people to plug into any type of media and access a greater diversity of inventory. Looking forward, with evolving technologies, Prebid will “grow up” to be able to handle anything: digital-out-of-home, connected TV, audio, whatever. Prebid’s core responsibilities in 2019 will also, of course, be supporting the evolution of mobile and video with better products.

Garrett McGrath (GM): While the code always needs to be open source, and the basic pillars of it should never change, it’s on someone like Rubicon Project to build tools on top of it, amass intelligence, offer services, and basically “productize” Prebid and its installation, so that we set publishers up to succeed.

You mention Rubicon Project’s involvement in “productizing” Prebid. What do you see as Rubicon Project’s role in shaping future open source solutions?

PM: First and foremost, we have a role as a key contributor to Prebid, which takes many forms. We write and review a lot of code, and we participate deeply in the planning and prioritization processes lead through Prebid Management Committees (PMCs). These committees are comprised of member organizations; we gather feedback from the industry in our area of expertise, then incorporate that intel in Prebid’s features and policies. We also document best practices around Prebid’s implementation and use, based on our experiences using it. In addition, we are developing offerings like the upcoming Demand Manager, which will provide a set of technologies and services on top of the open-source Prebid that makes Prebid even more useful to publishers.

BG: As leaders and contributors of Prebid, we’ll be performing dual roles. In 2019, we’ll continue to develop the underlying open-source technology, adding to the existing systems and making them better, but we’ll also put a lot of effort into the productization of Prebid, things like reporting and user interfaces, so that we can extend its utility and power to everybody that wants to use it.

GM: It’s pretty well agreed upon in the publisher community that to run an effective header bidding installation you need at least one engineer and one optimization resource. So that’s at least two people publishers need in order to run the technology, or two resources not focused on the publisher’s core tech. At Rubicon Project we believe it’s our responsibility to give users the tools and services they need to run and optimize the technology without needing a computer science degree. So early this year we’ll begin offering Demand Manager, which will help publishers implement Prebid themselves, on top of providing many other solutions. It’s all going to be based on Prebid so they’ll be able to see the underlying Prebid code; providing supplemental services and tools will contribute a lot to the open-source initiative.

How would products that supplement Prebid help publishers?

PM: New products will provide the missing link needed to make Prebid useful to all publishers, and eventually all media providers, of any kind. Currently, the technology isn’t accessible to users unless they’re equipped to interact with it in a highly technical way.

BG: Prebid.org isn’t going to host admin user interfaces or reporting systems. That’s for other players in the ecosystem, from major SSPs to custom analytics providers to smaller managed service providers. Because even if Prebid.org supplies great server-side or UI software, it has to run somewhere, and hosting a global high volume infrastructure isn’t for everyone. The services ecosystem is there to fill in gaps for publishers who don’t want to build the glue or host these things themselves.

GM: One way to think about productizing Prebid is to think of a company like Squarespace. It started as a way to make a website. You had to know HTML. Now, it’s evolved, so you don’t. It’s more accessible and lets its users optimize outcomes. Publishers will be able to interact with Prebid in a new, less manual, labor-intensive way. With our upcoming products and services we hope to transform the user experience.

For more info about Rubicon Project’s involvement in prebid.org, products, and services reach out to us at contact@rubiconproject.com.


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