Ad Exchange line items

Monetize inventory by allowing it to compete for bids in auction

Ad Exchange line items allow you to make ad inventory available to Authorized Buyers and the Open Auction. Buyers bid to win ad space and help monetize inventory you would not otherwise sell. Ad Exchange line items are similar to AdSense line items, which make inventory available to AdSense buyers, and perform a similar function to yield groups.

This article covers:

What to know before you get started

Administrative permissions

You or a user with administrative permissions in Ad Manager should link an Ad Exchange account to Ad Manager. You won't be able to add new Ad Exchange line items or use yield groups until that happens.

Yield groups vs Ad Exchange line items

Yield groups allow you to specify what inventory you want to sell with Ad Exchange, Open Bidding, or mediation for mobile apps. Yield groups always include Ad Exchange (unless you use protections to block it), and you can also add third-party exchanges and ad networks. Learn more about creating and managing yield groups.

Use a yield group if you want to use your Ad Exchange account to maximize yield with mediation for mobile apps or Open Bidding. Use an Ad Exchange line item for different segments of your inventory.

Why use Ad Exchange line items

Some of your inventory may be guaranteed to buyers in direct-sold campaigns. Terms are negotiated with a single buyer, which include the the specific inventory to which an ad serves, dates the ad serves, and a pre-determined price. 

Other inventory, which may be less valuable or which you are simply unable to sell, may be monetized in indirect-sold transactions—where multiple buyers compete with bids via an auction. Ad Exchange line items help you sell this additional inventory—sometimes called "backfill" inventory.

Most of the settings in an Ad Exchange line item are the same as any other line item type. Once the Ad Exchange line item is set up, inventory specified is available to Authorized Buyers and the Open Auction for non-guaranteed transactions.

Making inventory available via an Ad Exchange line item doesn't mean you can't sell this same inventory in guaranteed transactions. Guaranteed transactions always take priority over non-guaranteed ones.

Set up Ad Exchange line items

Add new line items

  1. Navigate to Delivery and then Orders.
  2. Find an existing order or create a new order.
  3. Add a line item per usual.
  4. Select the Ad Exchange line item type.
  5. For "Expected Creatives," select the inventory sizes eligible to receive ad requests from auctions, or enable All requested sizes to make all sizes eligible.
  6. Target inventory you want available to Authorized Buyers and the Open Auction.
  7. Click Save.

Competition between AdSense and Ad Exchange line items

If you use AdSense line items as well, it's good practice not to allow them to overlap in targeting. Target different inventory for each one. 

AdSense or Ad Exchange line items that compete are chosen at random and are not affected by the delivery yield of historic CPM values under the Dynamic Allocation feature. 

Add creatives

There's no specific creative associated with Ad Exchange line items. Instead, the line item contains a creative placeholder for the sizes of the inventory you want to make available to Authorized Buyers and the Open Auction. When an ad request comes in with that size, the Ad Exchange line item is eligible to serve (provided it satisfies other targeting and criteria for the ad request).

If you enabled All requested sizes in line item settings, a single creative placeholder is generated that contains all possible sizes.

  1. Navigate to an Ad Exchange line item and then to the Creatives tab for the line item.
  2. Click Automatically generate creative to add a single creative placeholder that contains all sizes defined under "Expected creatives". You may expand the "Needs creatives" box for a summary of all creative sizes associated with this line item.
  3. Click Save.

Good practice managing Ad Exchange line items

  • Ensure that you use only one creative in your Ad Exchange line item that contains all sizes. Using multiple creatives in your Ad Exchange line item is not recommended as they wouldn't compete in price as a result.
  • After adding a creative, you can't change the Ad Exchange account associated with the line item or the line item type. Even if the creative is later removed from the line item, you need to create a new line item to associate a different Ad Exchange account with the line item.
  • If the sizes are distributed among multiple creatives of an Ad Exchange line item, we currently only send a single Ad Exchange creative for backfill. As a result, only the sizes associated with that particular creative are sent for backfill, which is suboptimal to maximize the demand.

Common questions

Can I traffic an Ad Exchange snippet in a Price Priority line item?

This is not recommended. Buyers can detect this sub-standard configuration and bid lower (or not at all), requiring the need for a custom passback solution so Ad Manager can select another line item. This leads to latency and confusion in reporting. Information passed by Ad Manager through Ad Exchange line items to improve ad serving and reporting is also lost.

How is page layout affected?

AdSense and Ad Exchange line items delivered through Google Ad Manager aren't aware of other AdSense line items on your webpage. The function that AdSense uses to lay out a full page, and to prevent duplicate delivery of a single ad, is disabled by AdSense in Google Ad Manager.

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