The majority of publishers having Google Ad Exchange consider it as an essential part of their advertising business these days. While an account with AdX is great to have, it will be literally useless if you’re not able to capture revenue potential through the marketplace.
There are several ways to increase Google AdX revenue as long as you understand the fundamentals behind how Google Ad Exchange is performing. But how should you go about measuring the performance of AdX*?
*There’s no denying that running header bidding via Ad Exchange will increase the yield. Because of the increased competition and bids, AdX will be compelled to bid higher to win the auctions. But in this piece, we are only going to discuss the setup-level changes you can leverage to maximize AdX revenue.
Table of Content
- How to Understand the Performance of Google Ad Exchange?
- How to Increase Your Google Ad Exchange Revenue?
- What’s Next”
How to Understand the Performance of Google Ad Exchange?
Assuming that you aren’t much experienced with the AdX analysis part, the answer to this question is Google Ad Manager reports. In the ad server, Reporting is a great place to start examining the AdX performance and optimizing the Exchange set-up for increased revenue. Here’s how to do it:
- Go to Google Ad Manager home page. Then Reporting > New report. Fill the basic details for the report.
- Select the dimensions of Request sources. Under this, you need to select No dynamic allocation, Dynamic Allocation with Ad Manager, and Dynamic Allocation with no Ad Manager Competition.
- Select the crucial metrics such as Ad requests, Matched requests, Ad impressions, Coverage, eCPM, Estimated revenue, Ad requests CPM, and so on.
Once you’re done with the steps, pull-out the report after the specified time, and inspect the performance of AdX.
Related read: Based on our internal study, with header bidding in place, AdX contributed to more than 50% of the total revenue.
How to Increase Your Google Ad Exchange Revenue?
The AdX revenue depends on the ad request volume, coverage (or fill rate), and ad eCPMs. And these metrics directly or indirectly vary with various other factors such as pricing rules, inventory qualities, ad formats, etc. So, let’s break them into categories and understand how to make changes
1. Optimizing the Ad Exchange Inventories
There are effective multiple methods to optimize the Ad Exchange inventories. For example:
- Explore Different Ad Types & Backup Ads.
You might know that via Google Ad Exchange, a publisher can choose to serve either Image/Rich media ads only or Image/Rich media & text ads. However, to serve only a text ad, you will have to create it as a native ad in Google Ad Manager. Haven’t you done it before? Here’s an article that will guide you through the process.
The next option is enabling Backup ads. A backup ad can be served on an Ad Exchange inventory that is left unfilled due to the lack of an eligible line item. While enabling Backup ads, you can either select Show blank space or Show ads from another URL. Both of the options will make sure that your AdX inventory doesn’t remain unfilled. Here’s how to set them up:
- Go to Google Ad Manager home page. Click on Inventory > Inventory rules > Ad types & backup ads > New display style.
- Set the priority order for the backup ads. Please note that this priority isn’t similar to the line items priority order. Check this article to learn more about backup ads priorities.
- Set the targeting criteria.
- Select the “Allowed ad types”. You can either select “Image/rich media & text ads” or “Image/rich media ads”.
- At last, select “Show blank space” or if you want to show ads from another URL, then select “Show ads from another URL”.
- Play Around Different Ad Formats.
Many publishers believe that Above-the-fold ads receive lesser viewability than Below-the-fold ads. Yes, a BTF ad can have higher viewability but you shouldn’t rely on this. The performance of ad fold locations keeps changing with various factors such as devices.
So, rather than depending primarily on the ad placement, strive for viewability. Offering a better viewable ad inventory can increase the eCPM rates because advertisers are more likely to pay for such inventories. Add the ad formats that have better viewability. For example, sticky mobile ads. These ads can help you score 90% viewability.
Additionally, we all know video demands often have higher eCPMs than display. So, enable out-stream video ads to compete with display ad inventories on mobile web inventories.
While experimenting with ad formats, ensure you follow the guidelines given by Coalition For Better Ads. Implementing the standards will help you in several ways such as improving the user experience, reducing the number of ad-blocking users’, and so on. And hence increased ad revenue.
2. Optimizing the Rules in Google Ad Manager
Google Ad Manager allows you to have various blocking rules, opt-in rules, and pricing rules. These rules directly or indirectly affect the AdX revenue to a great extent.
- Optimizing Blocking Rules.
To maintain a brand-safe advertising environment and protect the inventories, Google allows publishers to block advertisers, URLs, categories, and more across Ad Exchange. However, many publishers block the entire category of advertisers which is not necessary to do.
Google is already good at blocking the sensitive category advertisers. So, you don’t have to worry about it. Instead of prohibiting the advertising category, block specific URLs if needed. Or you can increase the price floor for the advertisers so they will not be able to buy the inventory.
- Optimizing Opt-In Rules.
Google Ad Manager has Ad Technology offerings for Ad Exchange publishers that can be leveraged by Opting-in. You can work with third-party vendors like a Research Analytics provider, Demand-side Platform, Database Management Platform, CDN provider, etc. for various functions. However, adding third-party vendors needs to undergo a business review.
For example, you can add Expandable Technology Vendors as your partner to help you with expandable ad creatives for your Ad Exchange inventories. An expandable ad creative has better CTRs than a non-expandable creative. So, why not give it a chance? But review each Ad Technology before adding them. Similarly, you can directly work with third-party ad networks to serve ads.
- Optimizing Auction Pricing Rules.
Pricing rules are the major factor that affects AdX revenue. It is suggested to have a simple structure of pricing rules and set the default pricing value as low as possible to increase the ad fill rate. While defining rules, add different rules for different devices and geographies because not all can be the same in terms of performance.
Label the inventory types as Branded or Semi-transparent. While Branded will allow the advertisers to view the complete URL of the publishers’ ad inventory, Semi-transparent gives the root domain where the ads are going to be displayed. So, set the price floors according to the transparency you are offering. Usually, Branded inventories are priced higher than Semi-transparent. Follow the below steps to define Branded or Semi-transparent inventory types:
- Go to the Ad Manager home page. Select Inventory > URLs.
- Enter the URL that you want to define as Branded or Semi-transparent.
- Select the Inventory Type and Brand type.
4. Save the settings.
Also, rather than setting a fixed price for the auctions, try setting up Target CPM that will dynamically adjust the price floor for the inventories. Here’s an article that will help you to set it up. But when setting the Target CPM, don’t change the value drastically. It will prevent advertisers from bidding for the inventories, and you may have to deal with low ad fill rates.
3. Leverage Opportunities and Experiments
Opportunities and Experiments are something that can be used to earn more revenue. These are weekly suggestions provided by Google Ad Manager based on the changes you have done recently. You can find out how the changes have impacted your Ad Exchange revenue, and also based on the modification in Google AdX, it will suggest other workarounds to improve the revenue.
So, these small changes can make a huge difference in your AdX revenue. Last but not the least, set up Preferred deals and private auctions if you haven’t been doing it. Google Ad Exchange offers publishers to set up Private Marketplace deals so that they can sell their ad inventories to desired advertisers at premium CPMs. Not sure how to do it? Reach out to us here to get assistance with the PMP deals.
There are plenty of adjustments in your Ad Exchange set-up that can be done and it is evident that every strategy has the ability to increase the ad revenue in some way or another. The whole purpose of having Google’s Ad Exchange is to make it a powerful supplement to your advertising efforts. So, understand your Ad Exchange metrics and brainstorm the above-mentioned strategies that could potentially bring in more ad revenue.