Ad Exchange for buyers overview

An ad exchange is an online, auction-driven marketplace where ad impressions are bought and sold in real time. Just like ad networks and yield managers, an ad exchange connects buyers with publishers looking to sell their ad inventory.

DoubleClick Ad Exchange is a real-time marketplace that helps buyers, such as ad networks, agency holding companies, and demand-side platforms maximize return on investment (ROI) across millions of seller sites.

More information: Ad Exchange auction model

Buyers can increase ROI through targeting, defined bids, defined budgets and frequency caps on inventory purchases. A real-time bidding system can enable buyers to leverage their proprietary data (i.e. user data) and bidding technology for even more control over media spend.

The sell side of DoubleClick Ad Exchange is for sellers to provide supply and the buy side is for buyers to provide demand.

Buyers on Ad Exchange

Buyers who act as an ad network, trading desk, or demand-side platform can buy on Ad Exchange. These companies must buy on behalf of multiple advertisers.

The most common buyers:

  • Ad networks: companies that aggregate publisher ad space and sell it to advertisers opting to advertise in the space.
  • Trading desks: divisions at agency holding companies that execute exchange buys for all the company’s agencies.
  • Demand-side platforms (DSP): platforms that make buying across multiple exchanges easier and more transparent. Using sophisticated targeting capabilities and optimization algorithms, DSPs help advertisers and agencies to determine a value of an incoming impression and to place a bid in order to win that impression.

Buyers on Ad Exchange can buy inventory for advertisers through real-time bidding or static buying.

Static buying

Using static buying, buyers can set up campaigns for each of your advertisers in the Ad Exchange user interface. Each campaign has a budget, bids, targeting (i.e. specified sites, topics, or audiences), and ad creatives.

Learn more about static buying or how to sign in to your account.

Real-time bidding (RTB)

Using real-time bidding, buyers build their own system called a real-time bidder that connects to Google servers in order to get a constant stream of Ad Exchange "callouts" or bid requests.

For example, when an impression becomes available on a seller’s site, Ad Exchange sends information to all of the real-time bidders with information about the impression and user. The real-time bidder analyzes it, selects an advertiser from the buyer’s base of clients, and then responds with an ad creative and bid for that advertiser. Or, if they do not wish to bid, they can place an empty bid. The bid is then entered alongside all of the other bids in Ad Exchange auction. This all happens within 100 milliseconds, or in real time.

Learn more about the buyer API

The Ad Exchange buyer API allows buyers to build applications that can interact directly with the DoubleClick Ad Exchange platform. With these applications, buyers can more efficiently and creatively manage their large Ad Exchange accounts and campaigns.

The buyer API of DoubleClick Ad Exchange is an adaptation of the AdWords API. If you're interested in using the buyer API, please contact your account manager.

Ad Exchange supports diverse ad buyer business models by providing multiple ways to access and buy impressions, including programmatically. With Ad Exchange, buyers can:

  • Automate actions through the Buyer SOAP API.
  • Automate real-time bidding and manage creatives through the Buyer REST API.
  • Bid for inventory in real time with applications using the Real-Time Bidding (RTB) Protocol.


The Ad Exchange Buyer SOAP API allows buyers to build applications that interact with Ad Exchange to efficiently and creatively manage large Ad Exchange accounts and campaigns.

Get started with the SOAP API.


The Ad Exchange Buyer REST API allows buyers to access real-time bidding account information, submit and check the verification status of creatives, find available deals, retrieve pretargeting configurations, and performance reports.

Get started with the REST API.

Real-Time Bidding (RTB) Protocol

The Real-Time Bidding (RTB) Protocol specifies how your application can evaluate and bid on each impression as it becomes available in real time, in response to bid requests from Ad Exchange.

Get started with the Real-Time Bidding (RTB) Protocol.

Learn more about real-time bidding or how to access and buy impressions using an API.

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