Want to find out more about Google Ad Exchange? We’ve put together the following Google Ad Exchange FAQ to help answer publishers’ commonly asked questions about AdX. Feel free to leave a question in the comments below that you’d like answered.
What is Google Ad Exchange?
Google AdX is an online marketplace that facilitates the buying and selling of digital ad space. The programmatic advertising platform enables publishers to sell their ad inventory via real-time bidding technology to ad networks, ad agencies and demand-side platforms (DSPs).
DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) and Google Ad Exchange were formerly two separate products but was consolidated and rebranded as Google Ad Manager in June 2018. Unlike AdSense, Google Ad Exchange is exclusive to those that are either invited by their own Google account manager or are approved by Scaled Partner Managers (SPMs) like OKO. Because of this, Ad Exchange is often seen as the next progressive step as a website outgrows AdSense.
How does Google Ad Exchange work?
Google’s Ad Exchange is effectively a connector between thousands of buyers and sellers of ad inventory. Buyers can bid in Real Time based on targeting criteria and their own audience information and the Ad Exchange system turns those bids into real-time auctions for the available inventory.
What is the difference between Google AdSense and Google Ad Exchange?
We’ve written a more in-depth post about the difference between AdSense and AdX before, but in short, Ad Exchange’s fundamental infrastructure differs from AdSense. AdSense is an ad network, which means it acts as an intermediary to efficiently organise the purchasing and selling of ad inventory.
Ad Exchange, however, is a digital marketplace whereby publishers, advertisers, ad agencies, ad networks, DSPs and SSPs may buy and sell an open pool of ad inventory without the need for a mediator. Auctions are automatically carried out in real-time in AdX and impressions are sold on a cost-per-mille (CPM) basis, whilst AdSense works on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis.
AdX uses a wide range of demand sources, such as ad networks, ad agencies and DSPs in addition to using the same demand sources as AdSense. This additional demand can create more auction pressure, resulting in higher ad revenue for publishers. Finally, AdX offers more tools and functionality to publishers which allows for more granular control and better optimization. For example, the ability to set price floors and the option to set up preferred deals.
How to get a Google Ad Exchange account?
As AdX is invite-only, there are only two ways to get access to AdX which we have written about in more detail in a separate post. In short, the two methods are as follows:
- Ask for access to AdX directly through your Google account manager. If you have a Google account manager, you could simply ask for access. If you meet the criteria for eligibility and suitability they will be able to arrange access to the Exchange.
- Work with a Scaled Partner Manager (SPM), like OKO. If you don’t have an appointed account manager or do not meet minimum requirements, Google allows a select number of partners to resell Google AdX demand.
What are the requirements for access to Google Ad Exchange?
There is no definitive answer to this question as Google does not publicly list the criteria that publishers must meet in order to be considered as eligible to access AdX. In addition to this, the answer is also dependent on whether access is gained directly or through an SPM. If accessing directly, publishers are usually required to have tens of millions of page views per month. If accessing through an SPM, eligibility requirements in terms of traffic is lower and will vary from one SPM to another
However, two things are certain: publishers need an abundance of traffic and publishers must ensure that their website and its traffic complies with Google’s publisher policies.
Why are barriers to entry so high?
AdX barriers to entry are high because it is a solution that is less automated and requires extensive knowledge to run efficiently. AdX publishers are given more freedom and this cannot be policed in the same way as AdSense. Whilst AdSense is a large-scale, automated solution, AdX is not as scaled and requires more work on Google’s end. Because of this, it is an exclusive solution to those that meet certain criteria, rather than one which any publisher can use.
What are the targeting options in Google Ad Exchange?
Some examples of targeting options in Google AdX include:
- Geographical location
- Browser language
- Device capability
- Device manufacturer
- Operating system
- Mobile carrier
- User domain
- Inventory format and type
What are the benefits of Google Ad Exchange?
The main benefits to publishers of AdX include:
- AdX works on a CPM basis which means that publishers earn revenue for each impression rather than per click.
- Publishers can set minimum prices for their inventory via price floor functionality.
- More control and functionality means that publishers can optimize to earn more revenue.
- Better targeting options resulting in higher CPMs and greater revenue.
- The ability to set up private marketplace deals which can also yield greater revenue.
- More sophisticated reporting functionality.
- Google’s unrivalled demand means that almost 100% of impressions are filled
What are the drawbacks of Google Ad Exchange?
The main drawback of AdX is its limited availability as many publishers struggle to even be considered for access. If you’re accessing AdX directly through your own Google Ad Manager account, then the extensive amount of knowledge required to run your own AdX account efficiently can also be a drain on resources.
Who can use Google Ad Exchange?
AdX can be used by publishers, advertisers, ad networks, ad agencies, demand-side platforms (DSPs) and supply-side platforms (SSPs).
Does Google Ad Exchange use a first-price auction format?
Yes. As of September 25 2019, AdX has fully transitioned to a first-price auction format. Prior to this, AdX used a second-price auction format.
Can you insert blocking rules within AdX?
Yes – this is another benefit for publishers. Blocking rules enable publishers to block certain ads from being served based on specific criteria. This can include general category blocking, advertiser blocking and user-based data.