General Ad Server Prebid Setup

Overview provides step-by-step instructions for manually configuring Prebid in the following ad servers:

If you’re using a different ad server, you can use the general instructions provided here and adapt them to your ad server. documentation is open source, so if you would like to add instructions for your ad server, create a PR in our Github repository.

Getting Started

We recommend reviewing the Ad Ops Planning Guide before adding items to your ad server.

At a high level, configuring an ad server to work with Prebid involves creating a set of always-on objects in your ad server that listen for bids and, when chosen, return the appropriate ad creative that will render the ad for the winning bid.

For the purposes of this discussion, we’re going to refer to the elements in your ad server that contain the details of the bid, such as the price, priority, and media format, as “line items.” Line Items live in a container that we’ll refer to as an “order”. These elements may have different names in your ad server.

Create Advertisers and Orders

Ad servers typically work in a hierarchical structure, with advertisers containing orders, which in turn contain line items. You need to have your advertisers and orders set up before you can start creating line items and creatives. The advertisers you create for Prebid will typically depend on whether you’re sending all bids or only the top price bid to the ad server.

  • Send Top Bid: Create one general Prebid advertiser
  • Send All Bids: Create one Prebid advertiser per bidder where orders are organized by bidder, with one or more orders containing line items targeted towards a single bidder.

Create Native Template

If you’re working with native inventory, you’ll most likely need to have your native template created and stored before you begin creating your line item. Follow your ad server’s instructions for setting up native creative templates.

Create Keys

When you create your line item, you’ll be targeting key-value pairs that are being sent with the ad request to the ad server. You may need to predefine these keys and values before targeting them in your line items.

See Key Values for information on the keys you’ll need.

Set Up Your Line Items

The exact order of the following steps will differ depending on your ad server.

General Settings

  1. Enter a name for your line item. Suggested format: Prebid – format - bidder – price bucket. For example, Prebid – banner - BidderA – 1.50.
  2. Set the priority of your line item to whatever you think is appropriate. Typically Prebid line items are prioritized below direct-sold but above house/remnant.
  3. Enter the sizes of your creatives:
    • Banner/Outstream/AMP/Video: Select the sizes of all ad slots included in the Prebid process.
    • Native: Select a native template.
  4. Long-Form (OTT) Video only: If you’re using competitive exclusions, fill in the associated field with the appropriate value. You’ll need to include this value when you set your targeting for the hb_pb_cat_dur key. See Targeting below for more information.
  5. Set your line item to start immediately, with no end date.
  6. Set the price of your line item to one of your price buckets. (You’ll duplicate the line item and change this value for each additional price bucket.)
  7. Set the targeting for your line item as discussed in the next section.


You’ll need to apply custom targeting specific to the Prebid values that are passed in with the ad request.

These instructions assume you’re sending all bids to the ad server (the default). If you’re sending only the top price bid, your targeting keys will not include the bidder code. For example, rather than targeting price buckets with hb_pb_BidderA, you’ll target hb_pb. See Send All Bids vs Top Price for more information.

Target the price bucket key: hb_pb_BIDDERCODE (where BIDDERCODE is the actual code for your bidder, such as BidderA) with the value of the price bucket you entered as the price for this line item.

The following additional keys must be added for the corresponding formats:


You can use the same line item for banner, outstream, and/or native creatives. If your ad slot could be filled by two or more of these formats, you should include the hb_format_BIDDERCODE key with values specifying all expected formats.

If you combine native with another format in a single line item, you’ll need to add creative-level targeting to designate which creatives target which format. If your ad server doesn’t support creative-level targeting, you may need to break out a separate set of line items.

In-Player and Outstream Video:

Both in-player (instream) and outstream video ads receive the hb_format_BIDDERCODE=video key-value pair, so targeting on that key alone is not enough to choose the correct line items. If you’re running both in-player and outstream video ads, they will most likely be separate line items, so you will need to target outstream line items to a “display” inventory type, or perhaps separate them by adunits.

Long-Form (OTT) Video:

For long-form video the custom key hb_pb_cat_dur_BIDDERCODE is required. The value of this key breaks down like this:

  • _pb represents the price bucket. This is the currency amount entered as the line item price.
  • _cat indicates the competitive exclusion industry code. (For engineering information, refer to the Category Translation module). This is the value entered as the competitive exclusion. If you are not using competitive exclusion, you can omit this portion of the value.
  • _dur is the length of the video in seconds. This is the value you’ll enter as the maximum duration of the video.

For example, for a line item with a $10.00 CPM as the price, a competitive exclusion of “news”, and 30s entered for the video duration, you would enter the following in the custom key-value field: hb_pb_cat_dur_BIDDERCODE = 10.00_news_30s. If you’re not using competitive exclusion, you can have a value such as this: hb_pb_cat_dur_BIDDERCODE = 10.00_30s.

For deals, the price bucket portion of this value will contain the dealID if deals are prioritized. See Getting Started with Long Form Video for more information.

Engineers will need to include the Adpod module and the Category Translation module in Prebid.js to implement long-form video bidding.

Creative-level Targeting

If your ad server supports targeting creatives within the line item, it could come in handy. For example, if you’re going to use a single line item for multiple formats, or if you have multiple video cache locations, you’d need to set additional targeting that’s specific to the creative rather than at the line item level.

Save the Line Item

You’ve now added all fields required for targeting Prebid line items. You can add any other line item options you would normally use, such as additional targeting for geography. When you’ve filled in all the appropriate fields, save your line item.

Create Your Creatives

The process of creating your creatives will differ based on the type of creative.

In general, you can interpret the instructions for setting up creatives in Google Ad Manager with some modifications; specifically, to the MACROs used in the ad tag. (See below for details.) Refer to the following for GAM documentation:

We recommend using the Prebid Universal Creative and targeting an ad unit size of 1x1.

If you’re working with banner or outstream creatives, the HTML you’ll enter in the creatives will be similar to the following (utilizing whatever macro format is supported by your ad server):

<script src=""></script>
  var ucTagData = {};
  ucTagData.adServerDomain = "";
  ucTagData.pubUrl = "%%MACRO:url%%";
  ucTagData.adId = "%%MACRO:hb_adid_BIDDERCODE%%";
  ucTagData.cacheHost = "%%MACRO:hb_cache_host_BIDDERCODE%%";
  ucTagData.cachePath = "%%MACRO:hb_cache_path_BIDDERCODE%%";
  ucTagData.uuid = "%%MACRO:hb_cache_id_BIDDERCODE%%";
  ucTagData.mediaType = "%%MACRO:hb_format_BIDDERCODE%%";
  ucTagData.env = "%%MACRO:hb_env%%";
  ucTagData.size = "%%MACRO:hb_size_BIDDERCODE%%";
  ucTagData.hbPb = "%%MACRO:hb_pb_BIDDERCODE%%";
  try {
    ucTag.renderAd(document, ucTagData);
  } catch (e) {
  • Replace %%MACRO%% with the appropriate macro for your ad server. (Refer to your ad server’s documentation or consult with a representative for specific details regarding the proper macros and how to use them.)
  • Replace BIDDERCODE with the appropriate code for the bidder your line item is targeting. For example, if you’re targeting BidderA, the macro variable for adId might look like ucTagData.adId = "%%PATTERN:hb_adid_BidderA%%";.
  • If you’re hosting your own Prebid Universal Creative, make sure it’s version 1.15 or later, or replace %%PATTERN:hb_format%%.js with creative.js.

The example above uses the jsdelvr CDN as the domain from which the creative will serve. However, you may obtain the creative from a managed service or host it yourself. You might need to edit the creative and make adjustments to your creative settings depending on the CDN you’re using.

Additional Steps

The final steps in configuring Prebid on your ad server are to do the following:

  1. Duplicate your creatives as needed. If you’re using the Prebid Universal Creative, the body of your creatives for each format will be the same. Duplicate and rename the creative to create as many as you’ll need to attach to the line item.
  2. Associate the creatives with the line item.
  3. Duplicate the line item. You’ll need one line item per price bucket. If you’re sending all bids, you’ll need one line item per price bucket and per bidder. For each line item you duplicate, edit the line item to have the correct name, price bucket, and bidder code.

Further Reading