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How to Enable and Setup Exchange Bidding in Google Ad Manager?

setup exchange bidding
Looking to implement Google's server-side bidding? Then, you're in the right place.

Exchange Bidding (recently renamed as Open Bidding), is the Google’s server-side header bidding solution, offered to the publishers who use Google Ad Manager (DFP) for ad serving. It allows publishers to expose their ad inventories to other third-party ad exchanges so that the additional demand partners can compete for the impressions in a unified auction in real-time.

Through its ad server, Google enables publishers to implement Exchange Bidding and sell their remnant ad impressions and boost the ad revenue. To help you get started with Exchange Bidding, we’ve put together this step-by-step guide. 

Getting started with Exchange Bidding

Although setting up Exchange Bidding in Google Ad Manager is easy to get along with, there are a few challenges a publisher has to face before implementing the bidding feature. If you got access to Google ad exchange, you’ve to sign new contracts with third-party ad exchanges, get Google-enabled licenses, etc.

If you don’t have an AdX account, then first you need to get an account with Google Ad Exchange and link it to your Google ad server as a primary ad exchange account. And to do so, you’ve to,

  1. Sign in to your Google Ad Manager account.
  2. Click Admin > Linked Account > New Ad Exchange Link. Enter the web property code i.e. Publisher ID associated with your ad exchange account.
  3. Enter a display name that you’ll select when creating an Exchange line item. Also, enter the email address you used while signing up for Ad Exchange.
  4. Enter the validation details and Save.

Link Google Ad Exchange

That’s it. However, the main challenge is to enable Exchange Bidding in the ad server. There’s a list of few tasks that a publisher and exchange partners have to perform in order to get this server-to-server bidding solution. 

  1. Publishers and their ad exchange partners (except Google’s ad exchange of course) have to establish a contractual relationship with each other.
  2. Link a primary ad exchange to the Ad Manager account as we discussed in the last paragraph and ensure it is set as “default for dynamic allocation”. 
  3. Get your Google account manager to sign an exchange bidding addendum with you. It consists of revenue share and payment terms. According to AdAge, you’ve to pay 5 percent for every transaction.  

Sidenote: Note that exchanges you want to work with (add to Exchange Bidding) must have a separate contractual agreement with Google. As per the source, some exchange share 15% of their revenue with Google to be an exchange bidding partner.

If you’ve completed the above prerequisites and got approval from Google, you’re ready to set up Exchange Bidding in the Ad Manager. For publishers who want to verify if Exchange Bidding is enabled or not, you can navigate to Delivery > Yield Group*.

Yield Group - Google Ad Manager

*Yield Group and Web targeting option is available in the Ad Manager (DFP) for the publishers whose account has been approved by Google for Exchange Bidding feature.

Setup Exchange Bidding in Google Ad Manager (DFP)

To make your demand partners available to compete for your ad impressions, a publisher has to manually enable them in the Google DFP server. Follow the below steps to allow demand partners to participate in Exchange Bidding.

Step #1 – Enable Demand Partners for Exchange Bidding in Ad Manager

  1. Click on the Admin > Companies. Select the appropriate advertising partner i.e. Advertiser, Ad Network, Agency, House Agency, etc.
  2. Suppose, you are working with Criteo (i.e. an ad network). So, to enable it for EBDA, click on Ad Network. Then, enter a name for the network e.g. Criteo EBDA.
  3. Then, tick the “Enable for exchange bidding”. A pop-up will open. In the pop-up, you have to click on the Acknowledge in order to enable the ad network (here Criteo) to bid on inventory through exchange bidding.
  4. Click Save. 

Now, the next step is how to create different yield groups in the DFP. 

Step #2 – Create Yield Groups

A yield group is simply a group of Google’s ad exchange (always included as a yield partner by default) and third-party exchanges or networks. It allows publishers to specify which ad inventories they want to sell with Exchange Bidding and to whom.

  1. Go to Delivery > Yield Groups > CREATE YIELD GROUP.
  2. Then, enter a name for the Yield Group such as SSP Yield Group.
  3. Select the ad format you want and the yield group support. Here, you can select any of the following – Banner, Interstitial, Native, In-stream Video, or Rewarded.
  4. Select the Environment (i.e. Web, or Mobile app) from the drop-down menu. Then, define the ad sizes in the next field i.e. 300×250, 728×90, 300×600, etc.
  5. After filling the above details, define your targeting options in the next field.
  6. Then, Save and Activate.

Note: Native ads cannot be served through Exchange Bidding. 

In addition to Google Ad Exchange, publishers need to add third-party yield partners to make them compete for your ad inventories that have been targeted. Follow the below steps to add a third-party partner and enable it for exchange bidding.

  1. Go to Add Yield Partner > Select Yield Partner. And, select the Yield Partner from the drop-down menu. Click Create a new yield partner
  2. Then, select the Integration type “Exchange Bidding”.
  3. After that, you can select the Operating System you wish to target i.e. iOS or Android. This step is visible only for the “mobile app” yield group inventory type.
  4. Enter the Default CPM value to set the price manually for ad networks. Or you can select Dynamic CPM to automatically set the CPM for ad networks. However, to do that, you’ve to enable Automatic data collection while adding an ad network.
  5. And, then Save.

Note: A publisher can add up to ten third-party yield partners to a single group.

How to check the performance of Exchange Bidding?

As we know, one of the best features of Google Ad Manager is the reporting feature that allows publishers to track the performance of ad campaigns. In the Ad Manager, you can check how Exchange Bidding is performing by pulling out reports with detailed statistics. 

Simply, go to Reports > Queries > New query > Historical, and then select the Dimensions as Yield Group Partner and click Select All. For Metrics, you can select any of the following. 

  • Yield Group Bids.
  • Yield Group Auctions Won.
  • Yield Group Estimated Revenue.
  • Yield Group Estimated CPM.
  • Yield Group Successful Responses, etc.

Yield Group Report

Here, you can select multiple yield groups or you can also check the performance of individual partner by following the below steps.

Reports > Queries > Historical > Yield Groups. After that, select the Yield Group and then select the partner for which you want to analyze the performance.

What’s Next?

Although Exchange Bidding happens on the server-side, a publisher has to pay a certain percentage of revenue share to Google since it’s managed by Google. Ad exchanges willing to participate cannot see how much Google AdX bids when it wins an auction and Google controls the auction and is also the buyer (AdX) here. So, it’s better to experiment with both exchange bidding and header bidding and see the results. If you want to understand what’s the difference between the header bidding and exchange bidding and which is the better choice, then here’s your reference. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments or feel free to contact us for personalized recommendations. 

Automatad Team

At Automatad, we help publishers to monetize better without hampering the user experience. Our products are live across hundreds of publishers, earning them incremental ad revenue with every passing second. You can request a free audit to get an estimated revenue uplift today.

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