How to Increase Auction Pressure in Ad Exchange

How to Increase Auction Pressure in Ad Exchange

The main goal of yield optimization is revenue gain. One of the fundamental principles that we utilize to increase our publishers’ ad revenue is to get the advertisers to pay closer to, if not exactly, their top bid. This is done by increasing auction pressure in Ad Exchange.

Advertising through different ad networks like AdSense and other real-time bidding networks is established by an auction. Just like in a real-life auction, the final price is most of the time quite different from what the buyer is willing to pay. In the online world, unfortunately, the auction is adjusted in favor of the buyer.

For publishers running Ad Exchange, one way to compel advertisers to pay closer to their maximum bid is to set a minimum price for your inventory. Publishers can set floor prices for many different combinations of criteria and manage it to push the advertisers to pay closer to the maximum value of the impression.

Setting these floor prices is very useful but it’s only one of many solutions.  This strategy requires constant attention and can be costly if not managed well.

Ways to increase auction pressure

An increase in the auction pressure normally leads to an increase in fill rate followed by an increase in revenue.  By removing the restriction on bids eligible for your inventories, you increase the auction pressure.

Below are some ways to do that:

1) Remove category blocks

Limit or remove category blocking. Blocking an entire category of advertisers diminishes the auction pressure for a large number of impressions.

Often publishers block entire categories in order to exclude all ads from that source or improve the quality of ads that serve to users.

Every blocked category reduces the number of ads within an auction and decreases competition, resulting in lower CPMs for the winning ads. Unblocking categories increase auction competition in Ad Exchange.

Also, consider moving blocks from the “Everything” rule (blocking at the account level) to specific rules only. This still protects your inventory where necessary but also opens up inventory on less restricted sites.

Implementation

To remove category blocks:

  1. In Ad Exchange, select the Rules tab and click Blocking in the navigation menu. You can see a summary of each category blocked for each rule.
  2. Unblock a category by clicking the rule, then click the “x” next to the category name.
  3. Treat sensitive categories with care.
  4. Also, consider using more specific sub-category blocks to limit the impact.

2) Remove advertiser URL blocks

Often publishers block entire advertiser URLs in order to exclude all ads from that source or improve the quality of ads that serve to users.

Every blocked advertiser URL reduces the number of ads within an auction and decreases competition, resulting in lower CPMs for the winning ads. Unblocking advertiser URLs increases the auction pressure in Google Ad Exchange and overall yield.

You may also want to consider moving blocks from the “Everything” rule (blocking at the account level) to specific rules only. This still protects your inventory where necessary but also opens up inventory on less restricted sites.

Implementation

To remove advertiser URL blocks:

  1. In Ad Exchange, select the Rules tab and click Blocking in the navigation menu. You can see a summary of each advertiser URL blocked for each rule.
  2. Unblock an advertiser URL by clicking into a rule and deleting the URL.

3) Enable branding

Most buyers who bid on Ad Exchange are for branded inventory. By enabling branded targeting on your rules, you should see significant increases in CPM due to the large demand for branded inventory in the Exchange.

Implementation

You can enable branded targeting at the account or rule level directly in the Ad Exchange UI.

First, you must identify if your account and rules are set up to accept branded buyers. If not:

  1. Click the Rules tab.
  2. For each rule where you want to enable branding:
    • Click Edit.
    • Scroll down and activate Branded.
    • Set a minimum price.
    • Click Save at the bottom of the rule.

At any time, you can view how your inventory is transacting with branded reporting, which is available from the “Reporting” tab. You can view data at the buyer or advertiser level.

4) Enable both text and image ads

Enabling both text and image ads to compete for your ad inventory drives auction pressure, potentially resulting in increases in both match rate and eCPM.

Agency budgets are typically earmarked for both reserved buys and automated bidding, so allowing display inventory to compete enables you to capture demand for automated bidding through trading desks and DSPs.

Google AdWords is currently the largest buyer of inventory on the Ad Exchange and serves mostly text ads. To make the most of your inventory, we also recommend enabling AdWords to act as a buyer.

Implementation

To enable text and image ads:

  1. In Ad Exchange, click Rules, then Ad styles & backup ads. You can see which ad types are allowed under “Ad Styles.”
  2. To update to serve both text and image, click Edit and select Image/Rich media & text ads under “Ad Types.”

5) More ad technologies

Consider additional networks and technologies. These bring more advertisers to the table.

Ad Exchange enables you to opt into ad technologies to prevent unwanted vendors from running on your site. However, you may be missing out on additional revenue if you don’t opt into enough ad technologies.

Our studies show that opting into ad technologies can increase demand flowing through the system and thereby drive more revenue, increasing your CPM.

We recommend that you review ad technologies frequently to ensure that you’re able to opt into new technologies on the Ad Exchange.

Implementation

The ad technologies with the most revenue flowing through them are ad verification vendors such as DoubleVerify and AdSafe, so you may want to consider opting into these vendors.

To opt into ad technologies:

  1. In Ad Exchange, click Rules, then Opt In.
  2. In the Everyone rule, allow as many ad technologies as you feel comfortable running across your account.
  3. (Optional) Create new opt-in rules targeting the specific pieces of inventory where you want to allow additional ad technologies to run.

Additional Ways to Increase Auction Competition in Ad Exchange:

  • Use a variety of ad formats and types, consider non-standard ads such as sliders, anchors and interstitials
  • Make sure that your inventory can be targeted through AdWords
  • If you are using an ad server, propose additional demand sources (or even have house ads running at price priority promoting your most valuable content)
  • If you are not using an ad server consider using DFP

Get more from your ad inventory by boosting advertiser competition to increase auction pressure. Contact us for a free consultation today and find out how.


KNOW MORE ABOUT AD EXCHANGE OPTIMIZATION:

Kean Graham

CEO and Founder at MonetizeMore

Kean is the resident expert in Ad Optimization covering areas like AdSense Optimization, DFP Management, and third-party ad network partnerships. Kean believes in the supremacy of direct publisher deals and holistic optimization as keys to effective and consistent ad revenue increases.

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