open source technology and Open Source: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Future of Header Bidding and Wrappers

Nishant Khatri headshot
By Nishant Khatri, SVP, Product Management
January 31, 2018

As header bidding continues to gain steam in the digital advertising space, PubMatic, AppNexus and Rubicon Project, joined hands for a Twitter chat hosted by Advertising Week on Thursday, January 11. We discussed header bidding in the context of, the value of open source wrappers and the impact they could have on the future of the ad tech landscape.

I had the opportunity to represent PubMatic and was joined by Michael Richardson, Senior Director, Product Line Management at AppNexus (Chairperson of, and Pieter de Zwart, VP of Engineering at Rubicon Project (President and Board Director of

We saw some common themes in the Twitter chat across our companies which I would like to summarize first:

  1. Our support of Prebid is based on customer benefits. We believe that the transparency and fairness demonstrated by open source Prebid cannot be matched by proprietary technologies. Ad tech needs more transparency, not less.
  2. We believe Prebid creates the foundation for more innovation. There is ample room for creativity for the 60+ partners that work with Prebid. There are opportunities to use Prebid for other channels, such as mobile in-app and video.
  3. We are just getting started. There are opportunities for publishers to get more involved by contributing ideas, code, code reviews, development resources, and become members of Prebid.

Why Focus on Open Source Tech?

Header bidding wrapper solutions have made bidding more efficient. A wrapper acts as a container of all the header tags for the publisher, making it easier to facilitate complete integrations. While some wrappers are based on proprietary technology, at PubMatic, we believe open source technology is a better way forward.

The Twitter conversation centered around the industry coming together and building upon open source technologies, namely Prebid, to enable publishers to implement header bidding quickly.

Today, I would like to reflect on the responses of both myself and my colleagues.

Question 1: Where do you see shaping the industry in the upcoming year?

We expect to be a compelling force of innovation and partnerships within the ad tech industry this year. promotes transparency, with easily verifiable code, and provides publishers a wider choice of partners. As the industry explores the applicability of header bidding across emerging formats, enables collaboration to develop more flexible, effective solutions. Wrappers built on open source tech will result in higher yield and improved efficiency.

Question 2: How are AppNexus, Rubicon Project, and PubMatic investing and innovating using the technology available with an open source community found in Prebid?

PubMatic’s wrapper solution, OpenWrap, uses open source technology to provide a transparent enterprise solution for Prebid. Open source is the most scalable option with adapters continually being upgraded, since exchanges and the community maintain the adapters. We look forward to the initiatives related to Prebid server-to-server (S2S), mobile, video and native. Ultimately, wrapper solutions built on open source provide a more elegant solution to improve efficiency and monetize.

Question 3: What are Prebid Management Committees (PMCs) within Prebid and how can they benefit publishers?

As PMCs focus on one component, like Prebid Mobile, Server or Tools, within the organization it can encourage accelerated development. All within the framework and oversight of PubMatic is looking forward to leading and participating in PMCs this year.

Question 4: What does a wrapper solution, using open source technology, offer that a proprietary solution does not?

Open source tech upholds the values of transparency and fairness, which have proven essential for header bidding’s adoption and success. Proprietary solutions are closed both in their technology and through the limited data shared with their publisher partners. The experience with open source is different. Transparency is increased as the source code is open to the community to ensure fair auction dynamics. Publishers own their ad decisioning and benefit by contributing to the tech driving the programmatic industry forward.

Question 5: What is needed to grow the industry adoption of Prebid as the open source standard for wrappers?

Publishers are no longer limited to the walled gardens for credible monetization options with wrappers. However, further education on the benefits of open source wrapper solutions is needed. Adoption will also grow as more publishers participate and share successes. As components like enterprise-level support for open source wrappers, hybrid models and robust reporting become the norm, further adoption will happen. Not to mention with the evolution to support more formats, innovative open source communities will be valuable.

What’s next?

As the industry moves towards further collaboration to benefit publishers and the ad tech ecosystem at large, open source can champion this shift as publishers look to wrapper solutions to better monetize their ad inventory via header bidding. Join us.

To learn more about PubMatic’s wrapper solutions check out our latest case study and our own hybrid OpenWrap solution.