Simplifying the complicated: How Magnite’s Demand Server delivers a seamless Prebid Server integration

Caitlin Wright, Senior Product Manager

January 9, 2023 | 5 min read

Magnite’s Demand Server streamlines publishers’ integration with Prebid Server allowing them to host their own Prebid.js configuration,while leaving Magnite to do the heavy lifting of hosting their Prebid Server, with which we provide the control, insights and optimization tools to grow their ad revenue.

Approximately 90% of large publishers use header bidding (Advertiser Perceptions Supply-Side Platforms Study, 2021) with Prebid the dominant solution to monetize inventory, enabling more competition for impressions. As growing ad spend continues to turn to programmatic pipes (PMPs, PGs, open market) across channels such as video, CTV and retail media, it’s critical for publishers to maximize demand and to maintain a strong user experience. To truly do that, publishers need the tools that provide flexibility and optionality to best serve their users.

Why utilize Prebid Server

Prebid Server (PBS) is a server-side header bidding solution that runs the ad auctions on the server side rather than in the user’s browser (client-side). Simply put, publishers potentially make more money by moving the heavy lifting from the page to the server since Prebid Server lowers the page load time, improving user experience and advertiser performance.

Ultimately, there are 3 main reasons to use Prebid Server:

  • Reduced page latency through consolidating additional demand into a single call from the browser to the server side which lessens the burden on the network, whereas on the client side all calls to bidders are made from the browser, which adds to the page latency.
  • Better viewability scores and better performing campaigns driven by reduced page and ad load times to drive a better user experience and keep users on the page.
  • Supports all formats and environments including amp, app, web, banner, video, and PG. For web, there’s still a client-side aspect, but the client can make a single call to server, which then fans out to multiple bidder requests, saving the page from having to make those calls, ultimately improving latency.

Prebid Server challenges resolved

PBS is a more efficient method to run ad auctions, and while challenges have historically prevented widespread adoption, Magnite’s approach to PBS addresses those challenges. For instance, reducing timeouts – caused by the extra hop for bidders to respond to server then the server to respond to client – leads to bidder latency and missed revenue opportunities. Magnite resolves this by consolidating demand into a single browser call to the server side.

Another challenge is match rates as PBS bidders don’t have access to drop cookies on the page like they do with the client. Magnite is helping to increase match rates in PBS with a number of features such as allowing more user IDs to be stored in PBS cookies, adding multisync to allow DSP ID syncing, and prioritizing bidders that can sync in each request. Meanwhile, costs and complexities can be removed by handing server hosting responsibilities to a third party, further removing obstacles.

Magnite’s Demand Server: Streamlining the PBS integration

Prebid Server can be integrated by either self hosting, where the publisher builds and maintains all PBS infrastructure internally – which can be expensive and resource intensive – or via third party hosting where a third party manages the server integration for them. Demand Server is a managed PBS offering that streamlines integrations, saving resources and giving publishers the tools needed to maximize monetization, while allowing them to keep control over their Prebid.js configuration.

Control and flexibility

A one time client-side update means all future updates to PBS configuration occur in the UI, and publishers can add and remove bidders, update their configuration settings, and have access to all Prebid demand in real time by the ops and business teams without any technical resources or code changes. Plus full PBS analytics are included in Demand Server (Pbjs analytics available as well) enabling publishers to understand how server-side bidders perform and how to best configure PBS settings to maximize revenue.

Cost and resource savings

Demand Server provides global hosting of PBS to make setup and maintenance seamless and cheaper, removing all server maintenance costs for publishers, with the Magnite team maintaining and regularly updating PBS, allowing for all the latest features and capabilities.

Maximize revenue

Demand Server can be used across formats (banner, video, native), devices (desktop/mobile web, app, AMP), and marketplaces (open, auction packages, PMPs, PG) allowing publishers to manage increased demand to thereby maximize revenue. Prebid Analytics within Demand Server provides the data and insights to solve many of the traditional PBS challenges, such as finding the sweet spot for the PBS timeout setting which leads to more revenue.

Prebid expertise and continued innovation

Magnite is ready to help publishers make the shift to Prebid Server with our best-in-class tech and seamless integrations to enable publishers to succeed in ad monetization with the control and flexibility to adapt and grow. With our solid RTB infrastructure, expertise and strong presence in, Magnite is leading the way when it comes to server-side wrappers and continues to work closely with publishers to move their header bidding to the server side. For instance, Magnite chairs the Prebid Server committee, giving us insight and knowledge needed on how to bring the most value to Prebid Server moving forward.

As the industry continues to evolve, with less reliance on third party cookies and no less momentum to steer away from walled gardens, Prebid Server will provide the transparency, features, and control that match market needs. The benefits reach far and wide, from improving user experience to growing revenue through a centralized source for all programmatic demand and reporting – from PG to open market.

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