Google Move to First Price Auction. Market Effects and Best Practices For Publishers.
(Part 4 of a 4 part series on Best Practices for First Price Auctions) – Go to Part 3
By the end of the 2019 Google will run a unique first-price auction at the GAM level. All ad-tech players are wondering what the effects of this move will be. So we decided to publish a blog series of four articles that will explore this Google move: market effects and some best practices for publishers.
In the first two blog posts of the series, we went through the Google move possible market effects on
buyers and publishers. In the third article, we addressed the best practices for Publishers concerning floor pricing in a first-price world.
Instead, in this fourth and last article, we will discuss the best practices for Publishers to follow during the migration:
- What are the immediate risks for Publishers
- How should Publishers mitigate those risks
- How should Publishers monitor the migration
What Are The Immediate Risks For Publishers When Ad Manager Migrates From 2nd to 1st Price Auctions
When the change occurs, as we explained in the previous blog posts, the whole dynamics of the Publisher stack will be affected. We consider that Publishers should be wary of 3 main issues:
- Buyers will use bid-shading algorithms
When buyers bid in 1st price auctions, they have to decrease the value of their bids to protect their margin.
- The new “unified auction” will affect the overall revenue distribution between Google Ad Manager, Exchange Bidding, and Header Bidding
The move to 1st price, the end of the « last look » for Google, the implementation of new pricing features by Google…all of that will redistribute buyer budgets within the stack of Publishers. More than that, it is likely to redistribute budgets between Publishers depending on what SSPs they are relying on… and how they have implemented them.
- Buyers will likely revisit their SPO (Supply-Path Optimization) tactics after the migration
Buyers are relying more and more on SPO tactics. The idea for them is to cut routes that are the least efficient for them. It means that when the same Publisher is offering its inventory through multiple SSPs (routes), buyers are able to evaluate each of these routes against their campaign KPIs. Routes that are performing bad (typically low margin, low volume…) will be cut off.
When the move to 1st price occurs, the “buyer campaign” efficiency of all routes to supply will be modified… and buyers could decide to review the routes they keep and block.
For Publishers that could translate into 3 risks:
- Risk of decreased CPM and revenue
- Risk of losing programmatic campaign budgets
- Risk of getting “routes” cut out by demand
How Should Publishers Mitigate Those Risks
We recommend Publishers to cautiously monitor their programmatic activity right after the migration – for immediate effects – and during the six weeks after – since buyers can adapt their behavior based on “manual” analyses when they have enough data.
From an organization standpoint, it might make sense to dedicate the monitoring to a person / one team that is familiar with the “Publisher” risk that we have described above. Data will be easier to analyze. But whatever the choice, here is the list of points that should be monitored:
- Revenue shifts and CPM drops within the stack (between Header Bidding, Exchange Bidding, GAM – direct and programmatic)
- Demand partners that are negatively impacted (stopped campaigns, drops in revenue, sudden increases in CPM) by the migration
- Evolution of PMP performance to ensure that they deliver as expected
In case there is an issue, reach out to your demand partners to discuss the situation.
How Should Publishers Monitor The Migration
Moving to first-price auction in GAM is not trivial, even more so with a complex and unified stack.
REPORT allows you to access consolidated and accurate data for all your digital advertising activity and identify revenue shifts and CPM drops at the most granular level as they happen.
Once you identify, for example, a buyer who stopped buying, is it an issue that is specific to you or just a campaign ending across all Publishers?
…With SELL, our exclusive advertising market index, you can compare other publishers’ programmatic business to your own and understand if the revenue shifts and CPM drops are happening across the market or specific to your stack. This way you can make sure that you are growing at the same pace as the market.
Here again, in case there is an issue, reach out to your demand partners to discuss the situation.
You can also rely on PRICE to protect against the bid shading tactics of buyers and make sure your CPMs do not decrease. Adomik will release a new version of Price shortly! It will provide you with the fair value of your assets (content category, position…) for a given demand (bidder, brand industry…) and sales channel (open auction, preferred deal, programmatic guaranteed…).