The Current (and Future) State of Prebid: A Q&A with OpenX’s Tom Levesque

There’s a certain amount of volatility inherent in programmatic advertising — it is based on auction dynamics, after all — which is why many publishers rely on standards like Prebid to help balance out some of the chaos.

But whether it’s the ongoing identity disruption, the rise of streaming, or Apple’s power moves around mobile privacy, it’s safe to say that things have been a bit more chaotic than usual.

So we thought now would be a good time to check in on the state of Prebid with Tom Levesque, VP Product Management, OpenX, as we lead up to our upcoming event Revenue Strategy Session Vol 1 – Prebid, July 14, 2021. We talked about why publishers love Prebid, why they should experiment with Prebid Mobile and Prebid Video, as well as how Prebid can help prepare for the death of the third-party cookie.

Tameka Kee: Why do we need Prebid as an industry?

Tom Levesque: Publishers love Prebid because it’s open-source, trusted, and configurable. The days of “black box” publisher technology are ending; publishers want visibility and control over their technology stack, and especially any code that runs in their web pages and apps. Prebid gives them this control while also maximizing the value of their audience.

A community of more than 100 contributing member companies drives the development of Prebid through an organization called New features — and entirely new products — are added regularly. In recent years, Prebid has expanded into mobile apps, server-side, native, video, and connected TV. That means publishers can apply Prebid to nearly any ad format or device.

Prebid has become a critical piece of publisher infrastructure, and it continues to be the best way for publishers to get top performance out of their SSP partners.

TK: Any advice for publishers on how they should be thinking about Prebid?

TL: If publishers like the gains they’ve seen with Prebid for banner ads on the web, they should consider experimenting with Prebid technology in other formats and channels.

Prebid Mobile, for example, is a pair of SDKs for iOS and Android that let publishers bring header bidding to their apps — while using Prebid Server to run the auction in the cloud.

Prebid Video brings header bidding to video of all types, whether in the browser, in a mobile application, or on a connected TV.

While open source technology can be a little bit scary for some publishers, Prebid in all of its forms is getting easier to use every day. There are fantastic resources available at Prebid Documentation— publishers can get started deploying these new Prebid products right away.

TK:  Where would you like to see Prebid go from here?

TL: I expect to see Prebid play an important role in helping publishers prepare for the death of the third-party cookie and other legacy identifiers. has task forces working on single sign-on and identity solutions, and it’s taking a leading role in projects like UID 2.0. There are nearly 30 identity modules in Prebid. (OpenX supports nearly all of them, by the way.)

Over the coming months, I think we’re going to see Prebid emerge as a testing ground for new identity and authentication solutions.