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Rolling out first price auctions to Google Ad Manager partners

September 5th, 2019

As we announced in March, we’re transitioning to unified first price auctions for Google Ad Manager to help our partners simplify how they manage advertising revenue and increase transparency for everyone in the ecosystem. Over the last few months, we’ve been testing the performance of this change and the results show that on average, first-price auctions have a neutral to the positive impact on a publisher’s total revenue—revenue from all their advertising sources—when compared to second-price auctions. In addition, we found evidence that first price auctions have created a more competitive market, resulting in third parties (Demand Side Platforms and Ad Networks outside of Google) and indirect line items (like those from Header Bidding implementations) winning an increased share of impressions.

Based on these results, we are confident that moving to first-price auctions in Ad Manager will ensure a fair and transparent marketplace that benefits the health of the programmatic ecosystem. That’s why, starting next week, we’ll continue with the full roll-out of first-price auctions to all partners using Google Ad Manager, with the expectation to complete the transition over the next few weeks.

Increasing auction transparency

After we’ve completed the transition to first-price auctions, we’ll be able to provide additional auction transparency to both publishers and advertisers.

For publishers, we’ll start a new beta that provides data from all the bids submitted to your auctions. With this Bid Data Transfer file, you’ll be able to create a full bid landscape that shows the range and number of bids you received, across dimensions like ad unit and buyer. This information will help you evaluate the value of your inventory and better understand the bidding behavior of buyers. In order to prevent bid data from being tied to individual users, you will not be able to join the Bid Data Transfer file with other Ad Manager Data Transfer files.

For Authorized Buyers and Open Bidders (formerly known as Exchange Bidding buyers), we’ll provide additional information post-auction to help inform your bidding strategies. Buyers will receive the minimum bid price to win after the auction closes. This feedback will help you understand when to bid higher to win valuable inventory.

Since we first announced our intent to transition Ad Manager to first-price auctions, we’ve received feedback from many of our partners, which has helped inform our rollout plans. This dialogue led to changes such as increasing the maximum number of pricing rules and extending the length of the test period. Although we’re not the first to make this change, we’re excited to take this step and continue to work with our partners to create a more sustainable advertising ecosystem.