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Mediation

Overview of bidding

What is bidding?

Bidding enables ad sources to compete in a real-time auction to fill your ad requests. This helps ensure you’re getting the highest revenue for your impressions.

Unlike traditional mediation, which relies on user-provided eCPM or historical data to prioritize networks and call them one at a time, bidding calls all participating ad sources simultaneously. The ad sources bid on each impression in real time. This allows them to compete equally in a single, unified auction.

For any given impression, the ad source that serves the ad is the highest paying advertiser.

How does bidding work?

Bidding works seamlessly with existing or new mediation groups. Each bidding ad source competes to fill ad requests along with the other ad sources, like waterfall ad sources, which do not participate in bidding.

1. An ad unit generates an ad request

An ad unit in your app generates an ad request and sends it to AdMob along with targeting information, such as platform and ad format.

2. AdMob matches the ad request to one of your mediation groups

AdMob mediation compares the ad request to the targeting settings and priority of the mediation groups you've defined. It matches the ad request to the mediation group with the correct targeting settings and, if there is more than one, the highest priority.

3. AdMob initiates a bidding auction

Once the ad request is matched to a mediation group, the bidding ad sources in the group compete in an auction to fill the request.

The ad source that submitted the highest eCPM bid will then be placed in the mediation waterfall according to the eCPM value.

4. Mediation waterfall functions as usual and the ad request is filled

If a bidding ad source is placed first in the mediation waterfall, it will serve the ad.

Note: Bidding ad sources only bid if they have an ad to show. This means that if they are called in the mediation waterfall, they will serve the ad.

If the bidding ad source is not the highest eCPM in the mediation waterfall, the waterfall ad sources will be called first.

Note: You can use an ad source as a bidding and a waterfall ad source simultaneously. The ad source is called in a bidding auction first. If the ad source places a bid, it isn’t placed in the mediation waterfall a second time.
 
However, if the ad source doesn’t place a bid, then it's still called as a waterfall ad source in the mediation waterfall.

Currently, bidding ad sources do not support ad serving for child-directed apps or ad requests. Learn more about COPPA.

Similarly, your bidding ad sources must be included as an ad technology provider. To select ad technology providers in AdMob, click Blocking controls in the sidebar and click the Manage EU user consent tab.

Example 1: Bidding mediation group

Example of Open Bidding mediation group.

There are 4 bidding ad sources in the mediation group. Each source submits a bid for an available ad unit. In this example, there are no waterfall ad sources in this mediation group. This means that the highest bidding ad source serves the ad.

Note: Bidding ad sources only bid if they have an ad to show.
Example 2: Bidding and waterfall ad sources in a mediation group

Example of open bidding ad sources and waterfall ad sources.

There are 4 bidding ad sources in the mediation group. Each source submits a bid for an available ad unit.

Network B wins the bidding auction with a $7 bid and is placed according to its eCPM value in the mediation waterfall. In this example, Network B’s bid is higher than other waterfall ad source bids. Therefore, Network B is placed first in the waterfall and gets to serve the ad. The waterfall ad sources are not even called.

Note: Bidding ad sources only bid if they have an ad to show. This means that if they are called in the mediation waterfall, they will serve the ad.
Example 3: Bidding and waterfall ad sources in a mediation group

Example of open bidding and waterfall sources in a mediation group.

In this example, Exchange B wins the bidding auction with a $4 bid and is placed according to its eCPM value in the mediation waterfall. However, Network 1 has a higher eCPM value ($5) than the winning bid from Exchange B. Therefore, Exchange B is placed second in the waterfall.

From now on, the waterfall functions normally. Network 1 serves the ad if it has one. If not, Exchange B will serve the ad.

Note: Bidding ad sources only bid if they have an ad to show. This means that if they are called in the mediation waterfall, they will serve the ad.

Example 4: Bidding with direct sold in a mediation group

Example of open bidding with direct sold.

In this example, Exchange A wins the bidding auction with an $8 bid and is placed according to its eCPM value in the mediation waterfall. However, your direct sold campaign has a higher eCPM value than the winning bid from Exchange A. Therefore, Exchange A is placed second in the waterfall.

From now on, the waterfall functions normally. Your direct sold campaign serves the ad if there is one. If not, Exchange A will serve the ad.

Note: Bidding ad sources only bid if they have an ad to show. This means that if they are called in the mediation waterfall, they will serve the ad.

Get started with bidding

There are two types of bidding ad sources you can use in your mediation groups:

  • Bidding ad sources that require additional setup before you can use them and must be added to a mediation group. 
  • Bidding ad sources that don’t require any setup and are included as part of the AdMob Network. 

Learn more about the types of bidding ad sources. Then, add your bidding ad sources to existing or new mediation groups.

SDK implementation

To use bidding, ensure that you’ve integrated bidding mediation into your app. Also note that some ad sources may have additional SDK requirements.

Learn more about the ad sources available for bidding and their requirements in the Google Developers guide for Android and iOS

How can I use bidding?

Bidding is covered by our App Platform Feature Policy. Before enabling bidding, review the AdMob behavioral policies.

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