About the Series

Welcome to the Ad Tech Tools DIY vs. Managed Service Series, where experts from Playwire weigh in on the most important ad tech tools for publishers and whether the DIY or managed service approach makes the most sense.

In today’s entry, we hear from product expert, Andrew Petroka. Andrew offers a wealth of knowledge and experience in header bidding, Prebid and a ton of other areas useful to publishers. Let’s jump in.

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Ad Tech Stack Pillar

The Complete Publisher Ad Tech Stack: Everything You Need to Know

Key Points:

  • Setting up Prebid requires in-depth knowledge of JavaScript and/or server logic.
  • After setup, publishers must actively manage Prebid to maintain optimum yield.
  • A managed Prebid header bidding service like Playwire should more than make up for the cost and allow you to focus on growing your audience.

It’s been just over seven years since Prebid.js launched, and it’s safe to say that header bidding has transformed. Once a difficult, often ineffective programmatic advertising technique, header bidding is now one of the single most powerful ways for publishers to increase their revenue. And Prebid has been instrumental in that positive change.

Prebid remains one of the simplest, most effective tools for implementing header bidding on your website, but when you’re talking about ad tech tools, simplicity is relative. Getting Prebid integrated — and then managing it on a daily basis — is an enormous undertaking for most publishers who don’t moonlight as JavaScript developers and engineers.

That begs this question: Should publishers set up and manage Prebid themselves, or should they get Prebid as a managed service from a publisher partner? It's a good question, and it’s one we answer in this post. Read on.

Looking for the benefits of Prebid without all the hassle? You’re looking for Playwire. We’ll take care of your Prebid integration and yield management from top to bottom. Ready to get started? Contact us.

Setting Up Prebid

Obviously, the first consideration in the Prebid DIY vs. managed service debate is setup. What does it take to actually implement Prebid on your website and get your header bidding efforts off of the ground?

If you’re doing this yourself, you have two basic setup options: client-side Prebid and server-side Prebid. The difference between the two options is where your header bidding auctions take place (on your own website or on Prebid’s server). In both cases, you’re going to need some specialized technical knowledge.

If you go client-side, you need to have a fairly well-developed knowledge of JavaScript. That’s not just the basic JavaScript knowledge that most web publishers have — we’re talking about integrating potentially dozens of libraries and demand sources, as well as troubleshooting any issues with page load speed caused by the integration.

If you go server-side, you need to have a strong knowledge of server languages and logic because you have to actually go into the Prebid server’s configuration and set up your header bidding ecosystem. 

The story is similar for mobile, except it’s all about integrating the Prebid software development kit (SDK) with your existing SDKs and making sure they all work properly together. At the end of any of these processes, you must be certain that all of your bidders will receive your calls for bids and be able to respond.

Managing Prebid

The good news is that, once you’ve set up Prebid, it becomes fairly simple to add new bidders to the mix. However, you still have the ongoing and taxing task of managing your Prebid configuration to maximize your yield.

No part of header bidding — Prebid included — is a set-it-and-forget-it endeavor. Within your Prebid configuration, there are thousands of settings that can affect your yield. If you aren’t managing them on a daily basis, you are sacrificing potential revenue.

It’s important to understand here that not every bidder you will have integrated is the same. It may be that two of five bidders you’ve integrated are performing poorly. You need to have the time and technical skill to dig in and figure out what’s going wrong, and then you have to be able to fix it.

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The Complete Guide to Header Bidding

The Complete Guide to Header Bidding

Managed Prebid Header Bidding Service

The managed service approach to Prebid is the precise opposite of the DIY approach. Here’s what it looks like.

Done-for-You Prebid Integration

We can’t speak for other publisher partners, so we’ll speak for how Playwire does it. We already have Prebid integrations built and optimized, so when a publisher comes to us, we can incorporate a few lines of code and get Prebid up and running in a fraction of the time it would have taken the publisher to do it themselves.

Daily Yield Optimization

Our yield operations team checks in on our publishers’ header bidding operations multiple times every day. They’re constantly tweaking things and looking for opportunities to drive revenue higher. This is an around-the-clock, very-full-time job that most publishers simply don’t have the time — not to mention the yield ops expertise — to do.

Pre-Existing Relationships with the Biggest Bidders

This is perhaps the biggest benefit of going the managed service route for Prebid. Playwire has already established relationships with the biggest, most important header bidders in the industry. To be frank, we are spending a ton of money with them. That means they listen to us. 

Unless you’re a household name, you probably aren’t a large enough publisher to turn the heads of these massive bidders, but you still need your seat at the table. With Playwire, you get that kind of access right out of the gate instead of having to work for years to build it.

Prebid: Do It Yourself or Get It Done Right?

Prebid can be a DIY affair, but it doesn’t have to be. Plenty of managed services offer Prebid setup and management as a service, and they can save a lot of time and hassle for busy publishers. And if your mind immediately goes to money when you’re having this internal debate, keep this in mind: The right partner will more than pay for themselves by increasing your yield over what you would get if you did it all yourself.

In other words, if you work with a partner like Playwire to oversee Prebid setup and header bidding and programmatic advertising in general, you have nothing to lose and a ton of revenue to gain. 

We’re ready to take your revenue to the next level. All you have to do is reach out to us. Contact the Playwire team online today.

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