Prebid.JS Header Bidding Implementation & Ad Quality Solutions

Publishers today understand that they get the most bang for their buck by cultivating a loyal audience rather than attracting one-time visits to their sites or apps. The problem is that given the number and variety of advertising demand sources that publishers partner with today, it’s extremely difficult for them to troubleshoot or root out the sources of inappropriate, deceptive, and low-quality ads. Deceptive and inappropriate ads can come through any available point of entry or ad server, especially if the publisher is implementing header bidding.

That doesn’t mean that publishers should be resigned to the idea that the problematic components of programmatic advertising are unavoidable—there are ad quality solutions designed to address the problem.

But before looking into the solutions, it’s important to have a better understanding of the prebid auction process, and what’s actually taking place on ad servers when a website uses a header bidding solution.

Header bidding vs. prebid

Prebid is a suite of products offered by a voluntary organization to help publishers better implement header bidding.

Header bidding revolutionized the digital advertising world for publishers and ad tech companies, replacing the traditional “waterfall” auctions of the past. By simply adding a piece of code to the header of a web page, publishers could automatically obtain bids for ad units from multiple programmatic ad exchanges in parallel, including Google Ad Manager, the Index Exchange, and more. The idea was that by diversifying demand, publishers could increase their yield and boost their ad revenue.

However, each ad exchange has a unique configuration. As header bidding became more prevalent, publishers needed better tools to manage the bid request to each ad exchange, without needing ongoing support from a technical team. For example, they needed an effective way to select the highest bid return and return to the ad server with the best value. This need led to the creation of, a global organization managed by volunteers from the ad tech industry that aims to provide tools such as open-source wrappers that make it easier for publishers to manage header bidding.

What is a prebid header bidding solution in prebid programmatic advertising?

Prebid is the open-source wrapper technology used in the header bidding process. It is developed and supported by the global organization

The prebid product suite (Prebid JS, Prebid Server, and Prebid Mobile for mobile apps and accelerated mobile pages) is an open-source solution that was created to help web publishers implement header bidding in their websites, apps, and OTT applications without needing expert developers. The prebid “community”, represented by the global organization, created Prebid.js, which is a wrapper that can be easily implemented on any website. Prebid.js creates a simple, open tech layer upon which industry players can add their code to a standard but optimized foundation. Publishers today can either use prebid in the ‘standard’ form or use prebid.js to build a custom solution for their publishing platform.

How does Prebid.js technology work?

Prebid.js uses an asynchronous method for ad calls to offer publishers a better header bidding experience for their websites and reduce latency.

Many bidding solutions use synchronous calls, concurrently calling selected SSPs and ad exchanges within the set timeout. This often causes a some cause a delay between when the web page is called and when it is actually loaded. Prebid.js uses an asynchronous method is a way to reduce latency and provide a better user experience by reducing the page load time.

Prebid.js provides a simple, flexible, and easy-to-implement code set to improve header bidding for display and video ads on a publisher’s website and within OTT applications.

Prebid technology

Prebid technology includes client-side options where auctions are run on a user’s browser, and server-side header bidding, in which auctions are run on a prebid server.

Prebid.js isn’t the only technology available for header bidding—a server-side header bidding solution is another option. In server-side header bidding, auctions are run on a server instead of on a user’s browser, in a method also called client-side header bidding.

A prebid server uses a server-side auction integration and streamlines the auction process in because it only makes one call to the server. The server then calls all the configured bidder adapters and serves the ad belonging to the bidder with the highest bid on the publisher’s website. The server then calls all applicable bidders, selects the highest bid, serves the winning bid to the client, and passes it to the ad servers.

If the winning bid in the header bidding auction is from the prebid server, the publisher’s website then serves the creative from the relevant demand partner to the publisher’s page. Most ad servers can work with both a client-side and prebid server solution.

Prebid auction  

Prebid.js carries out the client-side header bidding auction in only a few steps:

  • The ad server’s tag is paused by a timer while Prebid.js sends out bid requests to selected SSPs and ad exchanges.
  • Creatives and bids are returned from the SSPs and ad exchanges.
  • Prebid.js selects a winner from the bid responses and caches the creatives.
  • Prebid passes the winning bid parameters to the ad server as key values.
  • The ad server takes those key values and finds a matching line item and compares it to other line items that bid on the impression.
  • If the ad server determines that Prebid wins the auction, it returns a signal to the Prebid.js library to display the winning creative on the page.

Prebid blocking

Publishers need automated solution that can block malicious or low-quality ads when they are using prebid wrappers.

Users want an overall page experience they can trust, and often abandon publishers that host ads that feel untrustworthy or unsafe. Since prebid auctions are automatic, publishers don’t really have control over the decision making in this type of bidding solution. There’s a lot more at stake here for publishers than the look and feel of their site, when it comes to ads with deceptive content, or ads that link to deceptive sites, publishers should be most concerned with user experience and reputation management.

Reputational risk is real because it leads directly to engagement risk, traffic risk, and revenue risk. Automating QA has obvious benefits for allowing a publisher’s team to work more efficiently and effectively — but automation needs to be reliable, consistent, and granular enough to let the largest possible number of quality ads through.

Prebid partners

There are many ad exchanges that work with prebid auctions, as well as partners that offer ad quality solutions for publishers using prebid.

Publishers receive their header bidding demand from any combination of Google’s Open Bidding, Amazon’s Ad Marketplace (often connected to Amazon Publisher Services), a managed header integration from a different SSP or exchange, managed client-side header bidding wrappers, and the Prebid.js wrapper — and that’s not even counting the whole programmatic waterfall.

According to our research, the median number of header bidding partners publishers have onboarded is 8-10, and their median number of server-side Google Open Bidding partners is 7-9.Meanwhile, 30% of web publishers have 10 or more header partners, and 18% of those have more than 12. Similarly, 18% have 10 or more Open Bidding partners.

In particular, examining header wrappers tells an even more complicated story; 45% of publishers use more than one header wrapper — driven by the imperative to access more buyers, access unique demand, facilitate A/B testing on header partners, and blend the benefits of client-side and ad server-to-server wrappers in the header.

In fact, many publishers report that they put the same preferred demand source (advertisers, an SSP or exchange) both in the header wrapper and the server-side in order to open up supply paths.

With so many partners, publishers need ad quality solutions that allow them to maintain ad quality as they leverage the advantages of header bidding technology.

Prebid implementation

GeoEdge has launched a new module in collaboration with Prebid Org to block malicious, offensive, and low-quality ads and landing pages served through header bidding.

48% of industry publishers say low-quality ads or malvertising are one of their most serious header challenges, the intention behind this collaboration is to reduce the harmful impacts publishers and their users experience from the fragmentation in the market and introduce control to the header bidding process.

GeoEdge’s Real-Time Blocking module facilitates the long-sought-after safety of more direct partnerships with trusted advertisers. Moreover, the module provides reliable protection to confront the unknowns of the market by detecting inappropriate ad creative swiftly and effectively.

Download prebid

Prebid is an open source resource, accessible to anyone who wants to use it. Users simply download the wrapper, and implement it in the header of their website.

Prebid integration

The Prebid.js library is composed of the core wrapper code, the adapters a publisher wants to work with and optional modules the publisher wants to utilize.

Prebid’s modular architecture lets you add exactly the functionality you need, and Prebid.js modules, including GeoEdge’s Real-Time Blocking module, plug right into the Prebid.js Core.

1) Build the GeoEdge RTD module into the Prebid.js package with:

gulp build –modules=geoedgeRtdProvider,…

2) Use set the config to instruct Prebid.js to initialize the GeoEdge module specified below.

Prebid configuration

This module is configured as part of the real time data.

    realTimeData: {
        dataProviders: [{
            name: 'geoedge',
            params: {
                key: '123123',       // obtain your key from Geoedge support
                bidders: {
                    'bidderA': true, // monitor bids form this bidder
                    'bidderB': false // do not monitor bids form this bidder.
                wap: true


Debug prebid

Given that the ultimate goal of ad campaigns is to make money, the underlying benefit of GeoEdge’s header bidding solution for publishers is an increase in profits and added peace of mind.

GeoEdge offers prebid ad quality solutions that have become the industry standard, offering publishers more control over the ad inventory that can be displayed on their site, while still allowing them to maximize ad revenue from ad buyers.

GeoEdge equips and protects the ecosystem with multiple detection engines that examine the underlying code of the ad. Our unique machine learning algorithm is comprised of a dozen mechanisms including de-obfuscation, and anti-cloaking capabilities which analyze code through both the cyber and social engineering perspective. Additionally, our post-click malware protection guards users against all compromised URLs along the delivery path.

Moreover, overlaying multiple layers of precision detection, GeoEdge identifies the techniques and identity of attackers across attack vectors ranging from malware, clickbait, and other threats to user experience to block the attacks.

Need additional support setting up your real-time blocking module? Get in touch! 

GeoEdge is the trusted cyber security and ad quality partner for publishers and platforms in the digital advertising industry. With more than a decade of experience, we’ve built solutions to prevent tomorrow’s threats, today.‎

Malvertising, the practice of sprinkling malicious code into legitimate-looking ads is growing more sophisticated. GeoEdge’s holistic ad quality solution has you covered.


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