Auction model

Learn how programmatic auctions work

The ad auction is used to select the ads that will appear on a publisher’s sites and determine how much they earn from those ads. All ads pay different amounts of money, depending on factors such as how much an advertiser has bid for the ad. The ad that wins is the one that the user sees on the publisher's website or app.

Ad Manager uses the following auction model for the Open Auction and Private Auction:

Ad Manager determines the winner

Ad Manager determines the winning bidder based on the highest net bid submitted. The net bid reflects any adjustments Ad Manager may, at its discretion, have made to the bid submitted by the buyer for the purpose of optimizing the auction.

Regardless of whether any adjustments are made, the winning buyer will never be charged more than the bid it submits. If the respective amounts of the net bids submitted are the same, the winner among those bids may be randomly chosen.

Auction is closed

To optimize the auction, Google may choose to close an auction at a price lower than the reserve price that would have otherwise been applied. In such cases, the winning buyer may pay a price below the reserve and therefore receive a discount on its bid.

A buyer that has received discount(s) on its bid(s) may face higher reserve prices in subsequent transactions to offset such discount(s).

Sellers are paid

Subject to the terms governing their use of Google's auction, sellers are paid the closing price, net of Google's revenue share, but will receive no less than the CPM price they specified for the auction. In the case that the Average revenue share setting is disabled by a Seller, auction optimizations may result in an auction closing at a price lower than the reserve price that would have otherwise been applied.

Because the Seller will always be paid at least its specified min CPM, the Seller may receive more than its contracted revenue share on the transaction.

In subsequent transactions, the Seller’s revenue share may then be reduced to offset the prior earnings in excess of the contracted revenue share, but the Seller will always receive at least its contracted revenue share across all its Authorized Buyers transactions in a given month.

Revenue share optimizations have been paused since the transition to a first-price auction in September 2019. 

Eligible impressions may compete in Open Auction

Impressions eligible for the Open Auction may, when run through a Preferred Deal or Private Auction either (i) compete directly with the Open Auction, or (ii) compete in the Open Auction after Preferred Deals and/or Private Auctions do not fill.

Optimize the auction

Ad Manager may run limited experiments designed to optimize the auction. These experiments may include:

  • modifying the standard auction model or mechanics
  • simulating ad calls and auctions
  • modifying the CPM price set by the publisher for an impression or otherwise adjusting publisher settings
  • discounting certain bids submitted by buyers or otherwise modifying the priority of the bids submitted by buyers

Buyer’s ad targeting settings will not be modified.

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