Publishers solutions: Open Bidding

As a publishers tech partner Waytogrow stands for implementing and testing many different technologies and tools as we believe this approach leads to the best possible results. In the past we focused mainly on prebid.js as we discussed the most common myths regarding this technology and compared it to Google’s Open Bidding. This time we would like to talk a bit more on the latter – even though in our opinion this solution cannot fully replace prebid.js, it certainly offers value to publishers.

What is Open Bidding and why should you use it?

Open Bidding, formerly Exchange Bidding, is Google’s server-to-server header bidding solution. When it’s activated, your Google Ad Manager runs an auction not only on its own technology, but invites also 3rd party exchanges to participate. Theoretically, as there are many different platforms bidding for a given ad opportunity, Open Bidding should make total revenues increase incrementally and maximize yield.

So the expected benefits are similar to those of prebid.js, namely more efficient auction dynamics resulting in higher ad revenues. On the technological side, Google presents their Open Bidding  as more efficient and faster comparing to client-side header bidding. All auctions are processed on a server side, so it does not affect the way a website works by any means and does not put user experience at risk.

Another important aspect of Open Bidding is its relatively easy implementation and day-to-day management. It requires some work to set it up, but it is less complicated than prebid.js. Beyond that, reporting is simpler as all the numbers are visible in Google Ad Manager dashboard, so there is no need to build a panel pulling data from many different platforms.

Last but not least, the whole payment is managed by Google, so it is just one invoice and one money transfer that covers everything. Although it is not crucial, it reduces the amount of manual work that has to be done on publishers end.

What are Open Bidding limits?

In our previous articles comparing prebid.js and Open Bidding we claimed that these two technologies are not really alternative to each other, they are rather somewhat compliant.

Nothing has changed so far. The list of downsides of Open Bidding begins with the topic of its availability. Namely, according to Google this feature is only available on Google Ad Manager 360, so the vast group of publishers working on SMB version will, at least theoretically, have to look for other solutions.

Second, Open Bidding offers transparency regarding bid data only if you apply for an additionally paid feature. Otherwise publishers will miss as crucial information as bid prices, bidders or advertisers, to name a few.

Last but not least, Google’s solution connects publishers only to a limited number of third party exchanges and activating them is not a plug & play thing. Regardless of the fact that auctions are handled by Google, a publisher needs to build a direct relationship with exchanges, sign a contract and update their ads.txt files with Open Bidding-specific entries. So some manual work is still needed to activate the feature.

When should I use Open Bidding?

There is basically one condition that needs to be met, namely you have to work on Google Ad Manager 360. As long as you use this platform, Open Bidding is a valuable feature that can enhance your programmatic business and there is literally no reason not to try it. On the implementation part, if publishers think they are too busy to proceed, then can always ask their certified monetization partner to make it work on their inventory.

What you should have in mind, though, is that Open Bidding is just one out of a handful of solutions available on the market. As we stated many times before, it is highly recommended to use it along with at least prebid.js as diversified setup usually offers the most in terms of revenue.

If you want to know more about Open Bidding or programmatic in general, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]

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