Regulate your content through Ad Exchange rules

Rules and how they work

Ad Exchange provides you, the publisher, with various control mechanisms for your inventory. To control your inventory within the Ad Exchange, set specific rules for each unique combination of your inventory.

There are five types of rules you can use to manage your inventory: open-auction pricing rules, blocking rules, opt-in rules, ad style rules, and channels. Learn about buyer and advertiser visibility

When you add a rule, the first step is to select your targeting. In the Inventory tab, you structure and control your inventory which includes working with tags, Ad Manager ad units, Ad Manager placements, URLs, and key/values. These parameters plus geographies and sizes can be used to create any combination of inventory segments within your rules.

To decide how to break out your inventory, try to analyze your inventory in terms of different properties or sites, content categories, and page locations (ATF, BTF) against how you want to price them on the exchange.
Open Auction Pricing

The first type of rule is an Open auction pricing rule. Within Open Auction Pricing rules, you can set min CPMs for buckets of inventory for specific buyers, advertisers, brands, or for everyone. You also have the choice of setting min CPMs for specific transparency settings such as Branded, Semitransparent and Anonymous. Open Auction min CPMs are net.

Explanation of branding types

Branding enables you to set different min CPMs for your inventory. If you set a branded min CPM, buyers who are placement-targeting your domains or your channels need to bid at least that min CPM to compete in the auction for your inventory. Buyers bidding less than your min CPMs are ineligible to win that impression.

With each type of branding option, we provide buyers with various levels of information.

  • Branded: Buyers see the URL and publisher labels.
  • Semi-transparent: Semi-transparency is used to pass a limited amount of signals to buyers to avoid channel conflict. Publisher ID is not included in the bid request.

    Mobile app inventory always transacts as branded. Semi-transparent is only available for desktop and mobile web.

  • Anonymous: Buyers only see an anonymous ID and label.
We recommend that you enable both Branded and Anonymous with no minimum CPMs. Setting high minimum CPMs can hurt your fill rate and is not recommended upon initial setup. Also, you cannot be both Branded and Semitransparent at the same time. Any other branding combination is supported.

Pricing and blocking

When you select “Set pricing and blocking for Everyone”, all buyers and advertisers are eligible to bid on ad impressions that are evaluated by your open auction pricing rule. You can set min CPMs for your inventory based on the branding types.

When you select “Set pricing and blocking for specific buyers and/or advertisers”, you can set unique min CPMs against any combination of specific buyer/advertiser/brand. You can block buyers and advertisers from bidding on certain segments of your inventory. To do so, block all branding types and consequently, those buyers/advertisers are also blocked.

Be mindful that blocking certain buyers might cause a decrease in revenue.

The advertiser blocking option allows you to block an entire advertiser regardless of the buyer through which the advertiser is bidding.

Blocking and Opt-in

Block/allow advertisers, brands, ad technologies, categories, and more using Protections.

Ad style and backup ads

Within the Ad style and backup ads rules, you can define what types of ads you want to serve and what Ad Exchange should do when there is no ad to serve.

For ad types, you can select a combination from the following options:

  • Text ads serve in addition to display ads
  • ONLY display ads serve, no text ads.
  • ONLY text ads serve, no display ads
To increase the number of buyers eligible to bid on your inventory, you should include both text and display ads. Excluding one or the other may impact your revenue.

For ad styles, you can create the “look and feel” of your ads. You can build customized combinations of colors, fonts, and corner styles and apply them to multiple display ad at one time.

For backup ads, if no targeted ads are available for your page, Google shows a transparent space instead of ads. However, you have the option to display a color, image, or HTML page if Google isn't able to show targeted ads.

If you use Ad Exchange in conjunction with Google Ad Manager 360 or Google Ad Manager, we recommend that you set this section to Show blank space. Ad Manager’s logic ensures that if Ad Exchange returns a blank ad to Ad Manager, Ad Manager selects another line item to serve.

To set up your ad types, ad styles and backup ads,

  1. Sign in to Google Ad Manager.
  2. Click Inventory and then Ad Exchange rules and then Ad styles & backup ads.
  3. Click the appropriate inventory type sub-tab (for example, Display).
  4. Create a new rule or edit an existing one.
  5. Configure the targeting of your inventory.
  6. For ad types, select whether you want to:
    • Serve Display & Text ads. We recommend this default option to maximize your revenue.
    • Serve only Display ads.
    • Serve only Text ads.
  7. (Google Ads ads only) Select to use the default ad style, a predefined ad style, or create a custom ad style.
  8. Decide how to handle backup ads. Decide what should happen if Ad Exchange does not return an ad (no targeted ads are available to serve), whether to:
    • Show blank space
    • Show other ads from another URL
    • Fill the space with a solid color
  9. Click Save. Once your rule has been saved, use prioritization to manage how these rules are implemented.

Channels are inventory labels intended to help you more easily report on portions of your inventory.

You design your own channels and use them to view performance of inventory segments in ways that are meaningful to you.

Examples of channel setups:

  • Ad sizes and colors
  • Location of ads on a page--left side versus right side, embedded in content or above the content
  • Page topics--articles about sports versus entertainment

What can you learn from reporting?

  1. Go to your reporting module.
  2. Run the "Targeting type" report.
  3. Look at the amount of placement targeting you have received.
Next step: Review ads and decide whether or not to display them
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