Should I update Prebid from version 2.xx to 3.xx?

Header Bidding
August 27, 2020 | by Kean Graham
Should I update Prebid from version 2.xx to 3.xx_

Advances in technology never stop, especially in Ad Tech.

The latest major version of Prebid (Prebid.js 3.0) was first announced on October 7, 2019, and then released publicly sometime mid-November the same year. It’s come a long way since the first version was made available to publishers in 2015, forever changing the landscape in the world of programmatic advertising.

Before header bidding came into existence, most publishers either used direct, hardcoded ads or used an ad server with a “Waterfall” system in place. Unfortunately, the setup wasn’t in favor of publishers. A large majority felt that the world of digital advertising was dominated by Google and heavily favored their side instead of maximizing a publisher’s ad revenue.

The advent of header bidding meant a change in the playing field for both advertisers and publishers. Advertisers now have a better chance at winning in an auction and allowing them better transparency regarding a publisher’s inventory. Through header bidding, what once was exclusively reserved for direct publisher deals was now open for everyone to compete in.

No more leftovers, no more scraps

For publishers, it allows them to have more competition for their inventory and maximizes what they get paid for per impression. The highest bidder wins. No longer entirely reliant on a single SSP, publishers saw their yield increase, with better fill rates and prices overall.

Google’s official stance on header bidding is that the process causes latency on the sites that use it. This didn’t stop publishers from adopting it; however, as of 2020,  the top 10,000 websites in the United States alone show that over 60% are doing header bidding in one form or another on their sites.

Prebid 3.0: Bigger and better

Prebid’s core team usually releases significant updates every 1-2 years. The first one was with Prebid 1.0 in 2017, Prebid 2.0 in 2019 (though this was called a minor, major release since it didn’t have a lot of significant changes that affected sites using it) and now Prebid 3.0 in 2020.

Compared to the changes made in Prebid 2.0, there were a ton of updates in the most recent update. released a blog post that you can read here detailing all of the changes and fixes.

Mainly, a lot of previously used API functions got deprecated, and almost all bidders have updated their adapters to be compatible with Prebid 3.0. They also rolled out a fix for the getHighestCpmBids function, where some users reported issues of it not returning any bids that were rendered regarding it. However, you shouldn’t be too affected if you’re serving via Google Ad Manager, or you’re not doing any form of analytics at the bid level.

It’s highly recommended that you update to the latest version if possible, older ones tend to lose support over time since ad networks usually cater their adapters based on the latest prebid version available. Not only will the latest versions contain fixes to existing issues, but, likely, newer ad networks or potential partners may not support the old version of Prebid.

For those using proprietary solutions or wrappers, you probably won’t need to do any hands-on work on your end, as usual, these updates are done internally. Publishers using prebid.js coded on their site, however, may need to rewrite some of their code because the Ad Unit syntax has changed a bit. Unless you plan on sticking to Prebid 2.0 for the rest of the time you’re using header bidding, you should apply the changes needed and get yourself an upgrade instead.


Are you ready to make the shift to the latest Prebid version but don’t know how to get there? Maintaining header bidding adapters on your own can take a lot of time and effort, not to mention the risk of losing out on ad revenue due to incorrect setups. Besides that, publishers often leave money at the table running stock standard Prebid setups. Instead, test out MonetizeMore’s PubGuru Header Bidding Wrapper, which comes with loads of advanced features. See how PubGuru Header Bidding compares to Prebid here.

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