What You Should Know About Google’s Ad Exchange

Updated on: February 14, 2024
With Google AdX, you can access real-time bidding to deliver the highest quality ads and increase revenue.

Google Ad Exchange, also known as ‘Google AdX,’ is an ad exchange from Google that’s been serving both sides of the ecosystem — publishers and media buyers since 2009. When Google bought DoubleClick in 2007, it acquired all the assets, including the up-and-coming DoubleClick Ad Exchange.

After the acquisition, Google continued to develop the ad exchange and launched it as “DoubleClick Ad Exchange” in 2009. And the rest, as they say, is history. Over a decade, Google attracted millions of sellers and buyers, eventually making it one of the top ad exchanges, the largest in size and revenue contribution. When we studied hundreds of our publishers, Google (AdX) ranked as the top demand partner, contributing to more than 50% of the programmatic revenue.

Without any further ado, we’ve compiled resources on Google Ad Exchange to answer all your questions. From the account setup to revenue optimization, you’re looking at the most comprehensive guide on AdX. Bookmark it; you’ll want to visit this page often.

What Is Google AdX (Google Ad Exchange)?

Like other advertising exchanges, Google AdX is a marketplace offering a pool of ad impressions to buyers via real-time bidding. But, unlike AdSense, Google Ad Exchange is a platform that cannot be simply integrated into a website.

We meant that a publisher could not access Google’s AdX without Google’s ad server platform, i.e., Google Ad Manager. So, to take advantage of Google AdX, having an account with Google’s ad server is mandatory. Also, learn more about its features and understand the difference between Google AdX and AdSense. 

But first, let’s understand what an ad exchange is.

What Is an Ad Exchange?

An ad exchange is an intermediate platform that enables the buying and selling of ad space between publishers and advertisers in real-time. Publishers connect to the ad exchange through the supply-side platform (SSP). Advertisers connect to ad exchange through the demand-side platform (DSP). 

Ad exchange collects the publisher’s ad impressions and their requirements from SSP and makes them available to advertisers through DSP. It conducts a real-time auction and lets advertisers bid on the available impressions. Following the bid, the highest bid will be selected and sent back to the publisher’s ad server to display it on the website.

Ad exchange examples

Overall, an ad exchange is important in getting the best price for publisher ad inventory and the best ad space for the advertiser’s promotion. Some popular ad exchange examples are:

OpenX: It is one of the world’s largest independent exchanges providing first-look deals, programmatic direct deals, and header bidding, and they support all ad formats.

Magnite: It is an SSP turned ad exchange providing a range of services from preferred deals to programmatic video marketplace. It connects premium demand buyers with publishers. 

Pubmatic: It is a publisher-focused open ad exchange. They offer a range of programmatic media buying services and unique products to publishers like Openwrap and Activate to generate high revenue.

Xandr: This ad exchange offers a suite of products to publishers for effective media selling, and they offer personalized ad servers that suit the needs of each publisher.

Google AdX: Despite having many popular ad exchanges, Google Adx is the world’s largest. They offer a range of features for effective inventory monetization. Preferred deals and dynamic floor pricing are a few of the notable products of AdX.

Benefits of Google AdX 

Using the Google AdX platform is a great way to get your ads in front of your advertisers. Let’s take a look at some of the great benefits of AdX.

Higher revenue potential: Google Ad Exchange provides access to a large pool of programmatic demand, including high-quality advertisers worldwide. This increased competition can lead to higher CPMs and better revenue potential for publishers. It also supports multiple ad formats, including display, video, and native ads, which can help publishers monetize their content more effectively.

Simplified ad management: Google’s advertising exchange provides a centralized platform for managing programmatic advertising, which can simplify the process for publishers. You can set pricing rules, manage inventory, and track performance all in one place, reducing the need for manual optimization and management. It also provides real-time reporting and analytics access, allowing publishers to track performance and make data-driven decisions.

Improved user experience: Google Ad Exchange supports various ad formats and targeting capabilities, which can help publishers deliver more relevant and engaging ads to their users. This can lead to a better user experience and increased ad engagement, ultimately leading to higher revenue and better performance.

Am I Eligible to Get Into Google AdX?

Hands down, this is one of the frequently asked questions, but it has no definitive answer. Google hasn’t disclosed the minimum eligibility criteria to get into Google Ad Exchange. That being said, we know who isn’t eligible, 

That includes:

  • Posting content in a Google un-supported language such as Croatian, Estonian, Hebrew, etc
  • Do not host an ads.txt file.
  • Having non-brand-safe content such as adult content, sale of tobacco, and promoting racial thoughts.
  • You should have a Google Ad Manager account.
  • You shouldn’t have any pop-ups under or redirect your users when they interact with the site/perform an action.
  • You shouldn’t host plagiarized content and avoid scrappers.
  • You shouldn’t get bots to inflate your ad impressions, thus revenue.
  • You shouldn’t buy low-quality traffic from illegitimate networks. As they tend to have low performance, Google buyers will likely avoid buying your ad impressions, and in the worst case, you’ll be suspended.

How Do You Sign Up for a Google AdX Account?

You can get a Google AdX account in two ways.

  • Ask Google (your Google Account Manager): If you have an account manager (AM) and a Google Ad Manager account, you can check with your AM to see if you can access Ad Exchange. Unless you are a publisher with tens of millions of users, you must choose another option.
  • Partner with a third party: Google allows a certain number of third parties to resell Google AdX demand. For instance, we are an authorized Google AdX reseller and can help mid-sized publishers access Google AdX.

The best part is you don’t have to have tens of millions of page views if you are using a third party to do it. However, you’ll end up paying a fee, likely around 5% to 10%, for accessing Google Ad Exchange. 

Suggested reading: How to Get a Google Ad Exchange Account?

What Should You Look for in a Google AdX Reseller?

Not all Advertising Exchange resellers can produce the same results in terms of CPM and revenue. That’s why it is important to look into key factors before signing up with a reseller and see how they best fit you. Well, we will give you an AdX reseller checklist that you can use to find a reseller that meets your expectations and helps you maximize the yield.

  • Migration to Google Ad Manager
  • Revenue Share
  • Products & Services
  • Ad Revenue Optimization
  • Premium Demand Partners
  • Technical Support
  • Inventory Quality & Performance

While it’s not necessary that you have to check all the boxes mentioned above, ensure you ask the right questions. Sometimes, your manager header bidding provider will also be a Google AdX partner. If that’s the case, see if you can negotiate a better rev-share and get access from them.

Related read: What Publishers Should Look for in a Google Ad Exchange Reseller?

How Do You Link Your Google Ad Exchange Account to Ad Manager?

Ensure you have complete access to Google Ad Manager and familiarize yourself with the navigation first. Check the following step to link your Google Adx account to the Ad Manager.

  • Sign in to GAM, and go to Admin>>Linked accounts.
  • Click Ad Exchange>>New Ad Exchange Link to link ad exchange properties.

*The ad exchange properties include property code, display name, verification details, and email address*

  • Click save

The GAM will take a moment to validate the link. After validation, the account linked will be shown under the “Linked accounts” section. 

How Do You Increase Your Google Ad Exchange Revenue?

Now that you have signed up for AdX and linked your account with GAM, it’s time to see how you can maximize your revenue with the optimal setup. Implementing header bidding can intensify competition, forcing Google AdX to bid higher to win the auctions. So, you should run header auctions and follow the optimization steps below.

You can increase AdX revenue by optimizing inventories and rules and leveraging Opportunities and Experiments. Here’s the overview:

  1. Optimizing the Ad Exchange Inventories
    1. Explore different ad types & backup ads
    2. Play around with different ad formats
  2. Optimizing the rules in Google Ad Manager
    1. Optimizing blocking rules
    2. Optimizing opt-in rules
    3. Optimizing auction pricing rules
  3. Leverage Opportunities and Experiments
  1. Opportunities include the weekly suggestion from the Ad Manager’s machine learning algorithm to increase the ad revenue.
  2. Experiments allow you to use live network traffic to test the opportunity suggestions, check how they impact your revenue, and adopt them. 

Related read: Tips to Increase Google AdX Revenue for Publishers.

What is the point of setting up Google AdX if you can’t understand its eCPM? It estimates the average ad revenue you get for a thousand impressions. Unlike CPM, which is used only in the context of the ad buying model, eCPM gives more insight into the real value of your impressions. 

Studies show that the eCPM rate varies by as much as 50% depending on the user’s browser choice. Why because? There are two reasons: Demographics and Technical.

The targeting varies depending on the browser. For instance, the Safari browser is used mostly by iPhone users, whereas older age groups still use Internet Explorer. Most often, people use Google Chrome and Firefox. So, the audience and the target group vary, and CPM also varies.

The second reason is technical, which is how the advertising cookie is handled by every browser and the impact of the ad block rate of the browser on targeted advertising. For instance, display ads heavily rely on cookie data to target users. So, if a user of the particular browser uses an ad block, it impacts the ad revenue to the extreme and, thereby, the eCPM. 

Wrapping Up

With Google Ad Exchange, AdSense is no longer Google’s only program that allows publishers to monetize their content with advertising. While Adsense is not completely useless, it is for the newcomers (new publishers).

After using Adsense for some time, moving to Ad Exchange is wise. You can connect with more demand partners and get high CPM for your ad inventory.

Publishers who have not partnered with Google can now access another option – finding an MCM (multiple customer management) partner. MCM partner is a Google-certified third-party partner. They give you access to Google Adx, freedom, and transparency to control your account. 

You can either give full account control or control for the portion of your inventory to them to stand back and see your remnant inventories getting filled and achieving a high yield.

Related read: Multiple Customer Management (MCM) – Everything You Need to Know 


What Is Google Ad Exchange?

Google Ad Exchange is a programmatic advertising platform connecting ad inventory buyers and sellers. It allows advertisers to bid on ad impressions in real-time and publishers to monetize their inventory through a competitive auction process.

How Does Google Ad Exchange Work?

Google Ad Exchange connects buyers and sellers of ad inventory through a real-time auction process. When a user visits a website with ad inventory, Google Ad Exchange sends a bid request to potential buyers, who then submit bids for the ad impression. The highest bidder wins the auction, displaying their ad to the user.

How to Enable Exchange in Google Ad Manager?

Enabling Ad Exchange in Google Ad Manager requires publishers to connect with a Google Account Manager or partner with a third-party AdX reseller.

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