Tag Archives: Google Ad Manager

An update on first price auctions for Google Ad Manager

We’ve heard from many of our partners that they want our help to simplify how they manage their revenue from advertising. That’s why Google Ad Manager will be transitioning to a unified, first price auction this year. This change will simplify our publisher platform and create a fair and transparent auction for everyone, helping our partners create sustainable businesses with advertising. Today, we’d like to share additional details as we prepare to transition to a first price auction.

Reducing complexity

Currently, Ad Manager may run two different auctions for a specific ad. A second price, real-time bidding auction run with Authorized Buyers — which includes Google Ads, Display & Video 360 and other Demand Side Platforms — followed by a first price auction that compares the winning price from the second price auction with a publisher’s guaranteed and non-guaranteed advertising campaigns, as well as bids from Exchange Bidding buyers. By switching to a unified first price auction, we can reduce this multi-stage process and provide all non-guaranteed advertising sources the same opportunity to win an auction.


After the transition, Ad Manager will have a single auction that compares the prices from a publisher’s guaranteed campaigns with all of a publisher’s non-guaranteed advertising sources — including real-time bidding partners, such as Authorized Buyers and Exchange Bidding partners — and prices from non-guaranteed line items, like those from a publisher’s header bidding implementation. Going forward, no price from any of a publisher’s non-guaranteed advertising sources will be shared with another buyer before they bid in the auction. As has always been the case, all real-time bidding partners integrated with Ad Manager — including Google Ads and Display & Video 360 — will be notified of an auction at the same time.

Increasing transparency

Moving to a unified first price auction will allow us to provide additional auction transparency to both publishers and advertisers. Today, not all Authorized Buyers choose to share and receive bid data, resulting in gaps in historical auction data we can share with publishers and Authorized Buyers. When Ad Manager changes to a unified first price auction, we plan to require all Ad Manager partners to share and receive bid data. This change will allow us to provide publishers reporting on all bids submitted for their ads (including bids from Google Ads and Display & Video 360) and give all Authorized Buyers and Exchange Bidding buyers access to the price that was needed to win for auctions they submitted a bid to.


“Moving to a first price auction puts Google at parity with other exchanges and SSPs in the market, and will contribute to a much fairer transactional process across demand sources. The move also provides significantly greater information transparency to both advertisers looking to understand their working media dollars, and publishers looking to assess the fair market value of their supply.” 

- Scott Mulqueen, VP Programmatic and Data Product Operations, Trusted Media Brands


"Google’s move to first-price auctions and unified pricing is an opportunity to improve transparency throughout the ecosystem, including improved visibility of their own actions and practices, which I believe should benefit everyone.” 

- Richard Caccappolo, Chief Operating Officer, MailOnline


"Brands and agencies are demanding a scaled, open, and unified approach to the modern marketing platform. MediaMath supports Google's effort to simplify the programmatic supply chain and provide more transparency in the media buying and selling process. These updates should help reduce friction between advertisers, publishers, and the broader tech ecosystem."

- Jeremy Steinberg, Global Head of Ecosystem, MediaMath


How floor price strategy will change

Our shift to a unified, first price auction will require publishers to rethink how they use floor prices. In a second price auction, floor prices can be used to prevent advertisers from buying inventory below a specified price. But because of how second price auctions work — the highest bidder pays the second highest price — floor prices can also be used by publishers to increase the closing price of their auctions. This strategy is executed today when a publisher reviews their bid landscape data and compares it to their revenue reporting. If they notice that their auction closing prices (the auction second price) are significantly lower than their highest bids, oftentimes the publisher will raise their floor prices to increase their revenue in the short term. Over time, this behavior can erode trust in the benefits of a second price auction.

After transitioning to a first price auction, price floor strategies created to influence the second price auction closing will no longer be relevant. When approaching floor strategy, publishers should focus on understanding the true value of their inventory and adjust pricing based on their existing advertising deals and how buyers are valuing their inventory.  

How pricing rules will change

In addition to impacting how publishers are using floor price rules, changing to a first price auction in Ad Manager requires a change in how our rules function. Our existing price rules that only apply to our second price auction will no longer work in a first price auction.

That’s why we released a new feature to all publishers globally, called unified pricing rules. Our new unified pricing rules will help publishers more easily manage floor prices across all non-guaranteed partners. For example, instead of setting up the same floor prices in multiple places — in the auction in Ad Manager, and with their Exchange Bidding and other non-guaranteed advertising sources — which can take a lot of time and can lead to errors, a publisher can set up a single unified pricing rule to control pricing from one place. To maintain a fair and transparent auction, these rules will be applied to all partners equally, and cannot be set for individual buying platforms. We have set an initial limit of 100 rules, though as we roll out these changes we’ll be working with our partners to understand if this limit can support all use cases, or if a higher limit is necessary.


“We welcome Google's move to first price auctions and unified pricing rules. These changes will help us simplify how we implement our most advanced pricing strategies between our header bidding partners, Ad Manager and Exchange Bidders. We believe this will help create a level playing field for non-guaranteed transactions and help us review the performance of our demand partners.” 

- Alex Payne, VP of Global Programmatic Solutions, VICE Media


“We’ve built our technology to work with Ad Manager through Prebid and Exchange Bidding to help publishers monetize their inventory however they choose. We're glad to see Google shifting toward a more transparent and simplified approach to auctions, and we look forward to collaborating with them to ensure these changes are executed in a way that works for publishers and buyers alike.”  

- Tom Kershaw, Chief Technical Officer, Rubicon Project


The switch to unified pricing rules and a unified first price auction will help our partners simplify how they manage advertising revenue and increase transparency for everyone in the ecosystem. We understand these changes will impact how publishers operate their advertising businesses, so over the next few months our teams will be working with our partners to help them with this transition. We are excited to take this next step together.

An update on first price auctions for Google Ad Manager

We’ve heard from many of our partners that they want our help to simplify how they manage their revenue from advertising. That’s why Google Ad Manager will be transitioning to a unified, first price auction this year. This change will simplify our publisher platform and create a fair and transparent auction for everyone, helping our partners create sustainable businesses with advertising. Today, we’d like to share additional details as we prepare to transition to a first price auction.

Reducing complexity

Currently, Ad Manager may run two different auctions for a specific ad. A second price, real-time bidding auction run with Authorized Buyers — which includes Google Ads, Display & Video 360 and other Demand Side Platforms — followed by a first price auction that compares the winning price from the second price auction with a publisher’s guaranteed and non-guaranteed advertising campaigns, as well as bids from Exchange Bidding buyers. By switching to a unified first price auction, we can reduce this multi-stage process and provide all non-guaranteed advertising sources the same opportunity to win an auction.


After the transition, Ad Manager will have a single auction that compares the prices from a publisher’s guaranteed campaigns with all of a publisher’s non-guaranteed advertising sources — including real-time bidding partners, such as Authorized Buyers and Exchange Bidding partners — and prices from non-guaranteed line items, like those from a publisher’s header bidding implementation. Going forward, no price from any of a publisher’s non-guaranteed advertising sources will be shared with another buyer before they bid in the auction. As has always been the case, all real-time bidding partners integrated with Ad Manager — including Google Ads and Display & Video 360 — will be notified of an auction at the same time.

Increasing transparency

Moving to a unified first price auction will allow us to provide additional auction transparency to both publishers and advertisers. Today, not all Authorized Buyers choose to share and receive bid data, resulting in gaps in historical auction data we can share with publishers and Authorized Buyers. When Ad Manager changes to a unified first price auction, we plan to require all Ad Manager partners to share and receive bid data. This change will allow us to provide publishers reporting on all bids submitted for their ads (including bids from Google Ads and Display & Video 360) and give all Authorized Buyers and Exchange Bidding buyers access to the price that was needed to win for auctions they submitted a bid to.


“Moving to a first price auction puts Google at parity with other exchanges and SSPs in the market, and will contribute to a much fairer transactional process across demand sources. The move also provides significantly greater information transparency to both advertisers looking to understand their working media dollars, and publishers looking to assess the fair market value of their supply.” 

- Scott Mulqueen, VP Programmatic and Data Product Operations, Trusted Media Brands


"Google’s move to first-price auctions and unified pricing is an opportunity to improve transparency throughout the ecosystem, including improved visibility of their own actions and practices, which I believe should benefit everyone.” 

- Richard Caccappolo, Chief Operating Officer, MailOnline


"Brands and agencies are demanding a scaled, open, and unified approach to the modern marketing platform. MediaMath supports Google's effort to simplify the programmatic supply chain and provide more transparency in the media buying and selling process. These updates should help reduce friction between advertisers, publishers, and the broader tech ecosystem."

- Jeremy Steinberg, Global Head of Ecosystem, MediaMath


How floor price strategy will change

Our shift to a unified, first price auction will require publishers to rethink how they use floor prices. In a second price auction, floor prices can be used to prevent advertisers from buying inventory below a specified price. But because of how second price auctions work — the highest bidder pays the second highest price — floor prices can also be used by publishers to increase the closing price of their auctions. This strategy is executed today when a publisher reviews their bid landscape data and compares it to their revenue reporting. If they notice that their auction closing prices (the auction second price) are significantly lower than their highest bids, oftentimes the publisher will raise their floor prices to increase their revenue in the short term. Over time, this behavior can erode trust in the benefits of a second price auction.

After transitioning to a first price auction, price floor strategies created to influence the second price auction closing will no longer be relevant. When approaching floor strategy, publishers should focus on understanding the true value of their inventory and adjust pricing based on their existing advertising deals and how buyers are valuing their inventory.  

How pricing rules will change

In addition to impacting how publishers are using floor price rules, changing to a first price auction in Ad Manager requires a change in how our rules function. Our existing price rules that only apply to our second price auction will no longer work in a first price auction.

That’s why we released a new feature to all publishers globally, called unified pricing rules. Our new unified pricing rules will help publishers more easily manage floor prices across all non-guaranteed partners. For example, instead of setting up the same floor prices in multiple places — in the auction in Ad Manager, and with their Exchange Bidding and other non-guaranteed advertising sources — which can take a lot of time and can lead to errors, a publisher can set up a single unified pricing rule to control pricing from one place. To maintain a fair and transparent auction, these rules will be applied to all partners equally, and cannot be set for individual buying platforms. We have set an initial limit of 100 rules, though as we roll out these changes we’ll be working with our partners to understand if this limit can support all use cases, or if a higher limit is necessary.


“We welcome Google's move to first price auctions and unified pricing rules. These changes will help us simplify how we implement our most advanced pricing strategies between our header bidding partners, Ad Manager and Exchange Bidders. We believe this will help create a level playing field for non-guaranteed transactions and help us review the performance of our demand partners.” 

- Alex Payne, VP of Global Programmatic Solutions, VICE Media


“We’ve built our technology to work with Ad Manager through Prebid and Exchange Bidding to help publishers monetize their inventory however they choose. We're glad to see Google shifting toward a more transparent and simplified approach to auctions, and we look forward to collaborating with them to ensure these changes are executed in a way that works for publishers and buyers alike.”  

- Tom Kershaw, Chief Technical Officer, Rubicon Project


The switch to unified pricing rules and a unified first price auction will help our partners simplify how they manage advertising revenue and increase transparency for everyone in the ecosystem. We understand these changes will impact how publishers operate their advertising businesses, so over the next few months our teams will be working with our partners to help them with this transition. We are excited to take this next step together.

Seven ways retailers can better connect with shoppers online

Consumers have high expectations these days. They want to quickly find what they are looking for, even if they don’t yet know exactly what they want to purchase. To keep up, retailers are challenged to uncover valuable insights so the path from discovery to purchase is as smooth as it can be. But this is often easier said than done, as siloed insights and legacy systems make it difficult for retailers to piece it all together.

Google Ad Manager is designed to help retailers deliver meaningful shopping experiences by combining powerful ad management software with actionable audience insights. By creating segments based on combinations of unique signals, you can connect consumers with relevant promotions on your sites and apps at the right time, so they can quickly take action.

Create segments to match your goals

Put your onsite ad inventory to work by optimizing how you organize and align it to your retail goals. With Ad Manager, you can be as granular as you need to be in your planning, and manage the delivery of your promotions to improve the shopping experience and maximize revenue.

Here are five examples of segmentation possibilities:

  • Key-values: Use key-values, such as search keywords, to create audience segments that you and your advertising partners are looking to reach.
  • Topical interest: Organize segments across your sites and apps according to the topics or types of products that interest your audiences.
  • Devices, browsers and OS: Organize your inventory by device type, operating system, browser, or even browser language.
  • Geography: Connect with consumers by segmenting your inventory based on countries, regions, U.S. metro areas, U.K. TV regions, cities, and postal codes. You can also specify places to exclude.
  • Delivery: Use delivery tools to manage segment delivery speed, frequency caps, and day and time segmenting (dayparting) to maximize impact.

Integrate your business insights to boost performance

When you bring first-party signals such as conversion history or brand affinity into Ad Manager, you can unlock even more value by creating advanced segments. By using products like Google Analytics 360, BigQuery, and Data Studio, you can build highly tailored campaigns to help improve performance and increase revenue. 

Here are two signals retailers use to drive consumer actions:

  • Shopper interests, and conversion history: Signals like these can help determine certain products and brands that shoppers might prefer. 
  • Shopping history, product and/or brand affinity: Signals from your site can help you personalize experiences by delivering on-the-fly creative featuring relevant products and promotions. 

A data-driven strategy means happy, loyal customers

A timely and personalized shopping experience helps shoppers find and purchase products more efficiently, and retailers grow their customer base and revenue. For more details, download our new guide, Transforming Shopping Experiences on eCommerce Platforms, to learn how you can use Ad Manager to power relevant eCommerce experiences and promotional strategies across your sites and apps.

Introducing the New App Policy Center

Advertising policies help ensure a good user experience while maintaining a healthy advertising environment for app publishers. However, we also understand that without the right tools to streamline and simplify the process, handling policy violations can be frustrating for publishers. That’s why we’re excited to introduce the new App Policy Center for Google AdMob and Ad Manager. 

The App Policy Center is part of our effort to protect quality AdMob and Ad Manager publishers while building and maintaining a healthy and trustworthy advertising ecosystem. It is designed to provide publishers with a single centralized hub to review and monitor policy violations and appeals, providing publishers with greater insight into our policy enforcement process. With all the information needed to remain policy compliant in one place, the App Policy Center will help reduce the risk of potential revenue loss resulting from honest mistakes.

The App Policy Center is available now for both Google AdMob and Ad Manager users. You can access it from the homepage dashboard once you sign in to your account. 

More about the App Policy Center

The App Policy Center is a single, convenient destination for you to understand everything related to policies and take action as needed. More specifically, you’ll be able to:

  • View current warnings, violations, and appeals in progress
  • Appeal policy warnings for certain violations within a 30-day window 
  • Request review after addressing a violation and track the status

Google AdMob App Policy Center

App Policy Center for Google AdMob

Google Ad Manager App Policy Center

App Policy Center for Google Ad Manager

In addition to surfacing this information in the App Policy Center, we will continue to notify you of important policy issues through email when any of the following events occur:

  • When a policy is enforced on an app 
  • App receives policy violation warning
  • Warning turns into an enforcement 
  • Review request is received 
  • Review request gets accepted and an app is remonetized
  • Review request is rejected 

We are constantly looking for ways to improve the experience on AdMob and Ad Manager, and hope the App Policy Center helps you handle policy issues with more ease and confidence.

To learn more about the App Policy Center and best practices about policies, visit the AdMob Help Center or the Ad Manager Help Center.  

Protect your budget and your brand with Display & Video 360

We support efforts to increase transparency in the digital advertising ecosystem and we’re committed to making it easier for marketers to monitor their digital campaigns and protect their brand. That’s why we’re introducing new ways for Display & Video 360 to help you avoid buying unauthorized web and app ad inventory, and control where your digital ads are appearing.

New default setting to ads.txt-only web inventory

Since it was first conceived in May 2017, Google has supported and contributed to the IAB Tech Lab’s ads.txt standard. It’s a text file that lets publishers openly declare who is authorized to sell their inventory programmatically. Ads.txt increases transparency throughout the advertising supply chain: marketers know they're buying inventory from the actual property owner, or an authorized reseller, and legitimate publishers receive payment. Because of its simplicity and effectiveness, over 93 percent of the web inventory available in Display & Video 360 is authorized by ads.txt files. In fact, ads.txt is one of the most rapidly adopted standards that our industry has seen.

Starting in August, we’ll make ads.txt-only the default setting for all new campaigns created in Display & Video 360 and running on web inventory. This ensures that by default you only buy authorized inventory and is the next step in our ongoing support of the standard.

Support for IAB Tech Lab’s app-ads.txt

Ads.txt was created to reduce fraud for your campaigns running on the web by making it easier to avoid transacting unauthorized inventory. To give you the same level of protection against misrepresented app inventory, the IAB Tech Lab recently introduced the new app-ads.txt standard which supports apps running on mobile, connected TVs and other devices.

While it’s very early days for app-ads.txt adoption, we’re actively working to encourage app developers to publish app-ads.txt files. In the next few months, Display & Video 360 will stop buying unauthorized app inventory as identified by app-ads.txt files. When adoption of app-ads.txt reaches sufficient levels, we will allow marketers and agencies to choose to buy only app inventory that is authorized.

A new home for all brand protections

In addition to knowing that you’re buying inventory from authorized sellers, you also need to ensure your ads appear only in contexts that you define as suitable for your brand. Display & Video 360 offers a comprehensive set of controls to protect your brand, but we’ve heard feedback that it can be difficult to apply these controls consistently—especially if you are managing a large number of campaigns.

To help solve this challenge, we’ve introduced Brand Controls, a new resource available to all Display & Video 360 users that gives you a single view of the brand suitability settings, campaigns using ads.txt-only authorized sellers, and verification services across all of your campaigns. With the Brand Controls dashboard, you can also more easily see how your campaigns are using different controls including content labels, sensitive categories, and keyword exclusions.

The Brand Controls dashboard gives you a snapshot of all the brand protections used in all your campaigns.

The Brand Controls dashboard gives you a snapshot of all the brand protections used in all your campaigns.

Now you can manage and make changes to all of these settings across all the campaigns in your Display & Video 360 account at once--including display, video, apps and TrueView. For example, let’s say you realize that some of your campaigns are not using any digital content label exclusions. You can quickly make bulk edits with Structured Data Files and immediately change the settings across multiple campaigns, right from the Brand Controls dashboard.

With Brand Controls you can also get a report that shows you what percentage of traffic was filtered before a bid was placed using our built-in fraud detection and brand suitability safeguards, and the reasons why. This way you can get full transparency on how Display & Video 360 is protecting your media buys.

With Brand Controls you can get a detailed report of the invalid traffic filtered pre-bid for all your campaigns.

With Brand Controls you can get a detailed report of the invalid traffic filtered pre-bid for all your campaigns.

Finally, the Brand Controls dashboard makes it easy to track any edits that are made to your brand suitability, authorized sellers, and verification settings. This helps you ensure that your media team follows the guidelines you’ve setup to protect your campaigns.

By making ads.txt-only the default setting for new campaigns, supporting the new app-ads.txt standard, and creating the new Brand Controls center, we're making Display & Video 360 a more effective solution to help you protect your budget and your brand.

How advanced is your organization’s data strategy?

For news and media organizations, audience is king. But how they use insights to adjust their editorial and revenue strategies varies widely across the industry. Deloitte, in partnership with the Google News Initiative, conducted a global study to help publishers responsibly analyze and activate their data to improve user engagement, increase direct-paying relationships with readers, and drive revenue from advertising.

During the study, Deloitte interviewed 80 executives from 50 leading news and media companies in 16 countries, from print to digital. Along the way, Deloitte uncovered stark contrasts in these organizations' level of data maturity. While three-quarters of publishers acknowledge the value of data-driven decision making, less than half are able to use their data effectively.

The most successful news and media companies use audience data to drive innovation across editorial products and revenue strategies, but many still struggle to prioritize data investment over other competing business needs. In its report, "Digital transformation through data: how news and media companies to drive value with data," Deloitte placed each organization into one of four categories.

Deloitte’s data maturity scale:

  • Nascent: For these media companies, the data journey has barely begun. While they've been collecting basic information such as page views for some time, digital initiatives are not a priority for top management, and they have so far failed to make adequate investments in essential tools and technologies.
  • Developing: These news organizations have garnered some success from utilizing data but still struggle to implement new tools and processes into their workflows.
  • Mature: Data-driven decisions are second nature to mature media companies across much of their operations, but there are still instances where data takes a back seat to gut instinct and old ways of doing business.
  • Leading: These media organizations see data as the key to their future success and have adopted a culture of continuous experimentation and innovation. Increasingly, these organizations think of themselves as technology companies that generate news products.

Where does your media organization fall on the maturity scale?

The first step on your journey to becoming a data-informed organization is to understand where you are, as well as where you need to be. Our interactive Data Maturity Benchmarking Tool can help you figure it out. After taking your self assessment, download the data activation guide to see what steps you can take to improve your data maturity. This guide outlines the top nine publisher use cases for data to drive user engagement and monetization.  In it, you’ll also find the four key organizational foundations you'll need to execute any of the use cases.

Five takeaways from our programmatic panel at World Forum Disrupt

At World Forum Disrupt’s 2019 programmatic event, I was invited to lead a conversation on the future of programmatic with three leading publishers. As the majority of digital ad dollars are now flowing through programmatic pipes, we discussed the trends and best practices of today and outlined a roadmap for the future of our dynamic industry.

The panel, which included a superstar cast of publishers, wasn’t afraid to share detailed views as we explored how to maximize the impact of programmatic.

Panelists included Forbes’ VP of Programmatic Operations, Rebeca Solorzano, Zynga’s Head of Global Advertising Sales, Gabrielle Heyman, and Vox Media’s Director of Platform and Audience Strategy, Katie Millington.

Today, I’m sharing five key takeaways from the panel:

List 1
Advertisers have a renewed trust in buying ad inventory in the Open Auction thanks to industry initiatives like ads.txt that work to combat fraudulent activity. But, there’s still strong demand from media buyers to secure programmatic inventory from a select list of publishers in private marketplaces.

“We're seeing the open market trend upward for sure. If you look back since 2017, it's increased steadily year-over-year, and based on our forecasting, we think it will increase in 2019 as well. But I think there's still definitely a need for Private Marketplaces (PMPs), we still get tons of requests from buyers around PMPs.”  

- Katie Millington, Vox Media

List 2
Publishers are working to educate media buyers on all of the programmatic opportunities available to them as brand leaders look to shift more of their budgets towards automated buying.

“We see a shift for agencies, they want to spend more dollars on programmatic. In terms of education, they don't always fully understand what programmatic is. Providing education and letting buyers know what they can do is still important.” 

- Rebeca Solorzano, Forbes

List 3
Mobile web and in-app ad inventory, specifically games, is plentiful and readily available for top advertisers to tap into.

“Across the board, we've seen a definite uptick in mobile. I think that the ubiquitous nature of mobile in-app has brought games to the forefront, and I think that they're slowly but surely becoming a sexier opportunity for brands. But it's still very much a whack-a-mole kind of battle that involves explaining, educating, persuading, et cetera.” 

- Gabrielle Heyman, ZYNGA

List 4
Publishers using Programmatic Guaranteed to manage their direct reservation deals are seeing improvement in campaign sales and management workflow efficiency.

“We partnered on a case study with Boston Consulting Group to prove the time savings generated by programmatic sales. For agencies it was around 30% time savings, and for us it was upwards of 50%. With programmatic, we can definitely run more media at an efficient rate and lessen the back-and-forth in the buying and selling process.”


- Katie Millington, Vox Media

List 5
Direct reservation deals were a top focus for all panelists as their advertiser clients are looking to guarantee premium, brand safe inventory.  

“I want us to focus more on making sure buyers understand the quality of the product that we're putting out and think about execution later. If you want to run through a direct insertion order you can, if you want to run via Programmatic Guaranteed you can. It's up to my team to make sure the technology is there.”


- Rebeca Solorzano, Forbes

Looking for more insights? Watch the full panel video here:

Not able to attend the 2019 Programmatic World Forum in person? You’re still in luck: Videos from several key sessions, including this panel, are available from World Forum Disrupt.

New data tools from the Google News Initiative, built for publishers

Thirteen years ago, as a new manager in the Strategic Planning department at The New York Times, my boss shared an article about what it takes to transform your organization into one that's “data-driven."  As someone who loves numbers, I was thrilled. Data means rigor, in both thinking and processes. I knew it was critical for evaluating where we were and where we wanted to go. Now, with more than ten years under my belt at the Times, and another three at Google, I have a more nuanced view of the complexity required to become truly data-centered—particularly what it means for people, processes and the technological obstacles that must be overcome.

It’s this appreciation for the power and challenges of mastering data that drives much of our work with the Google News Initiative. And today, we're introducing a suite of new resources and programs to help news organizations with their data, including using data to drive business decisions, creating foundational data strategies and understanding data capabilities and gaps.

Realtime Content Insights: Informing content and product strategy with audience data

A year ago, we launched News Consumer Insights: a report built on top of Google Analytics that helps news organizations of all sizes understand and segment their audiences with a subscriptions strategy in mind. Thousands of news organizations around the world, including BuzzFeed News, Business Insider, Conde Nast and Village Media, have used this tool to measure, understand and grow their businesses.

Today, we’re launching a new, free insights tool called Realtime Content Insights (RCI), built to help newsrooms make quick, data-driven decisions on content creation and distribution. Journalists will be able to identify which articles are the most popular across their audience and what broader topics are trending in their regions. RCI also helps newsrooms visualize their data with a full screen display mode. It’s now available for publishers using all versions of Google Analytics.

The RCI “Newsroom View” feature, which displays in full screen real-time data from publishers' top articles.

RCI’s “Newsroom View” feature, which displays in full screen real-time data from your top articles.

Propensity to Subscribe: Using data to improve user experiences and unlock reader revenue

Last year we also launched Propensity to Subscribe, a signal within Google Ad Manager based on machine learning models, to help publishers identify who’s likely to pay for content and who isn't. Publishers can use this signal to present potential subscribers with the right offer at the right time. We’re making progress on our propensity modeling: early tests from our model suggest that readers in the top 20 percent of likely subscribers are 50 times more likely to subscribe than readers in the bottom 20 percent. As of today, we’re in a closed beta of product development with 11 partners, including the Washington Post and McClatchy. We plan to integrate this signal within Subscribe with Google later this year.

GNI Data Lab: Transform your advertising business through responsible data use

As anyone who’s worked with a 500-row spreadsheet can tell you, more data doesn’t always lead to better decisions. That’s why we created the GNI Data Lab, in collaboration with The Local Media Association, enable selected news organizations to transform their businesses through responsible data use. Six publishers will be selected to participate in the Lab, and will undergo a 12-week-long program to understand and improve their underlying data capabilities. They’ll also receive support to build and test new digital advertising strategies, including:

  • Serving the most relevant advertisements to readers based on context and reader behavior
  • Optimizing advertising pricing based on the behavior of different audience segments
  • Optimizing the mix across direct sales, private marketplaces, and open auctions

As with the GNI Subs Lab announced last week, we’ll share best practices with the broader community of news organizations.

Data Maturity Benchmark: Assess your data capabilities and move up the scale

The first step to improving your data capabilities is understanding where you are compared to other companies in your field. That’s why today, in collaboration with Deloitte, we’re introducing a Data Maturity Benchmarking Tool that will help publishers assess their data maturity, compare themselves to other news organizations and take steps to improve. The tool accompanies a new report published today by Deloitte that examines how news and media companies can use data to increase user engagement on digital platforms and drive value through the monetization of those platforms.

A screenshot of the Data Maturity Benchmarking Tool on a mobile phone.

The Data Maturity Benchmark, which shows news companies how they score on data maturity.

Those of us working on the Google News Initiative believe that data, if used securely and responsibly, is a key contributor to news organizations’ digital success. To learn more about our data tools, you can access the new Realtime Consumer Insights tool here, take the Data Maturity Benchmarking assessment here, and download the Data Activation guide here.

New guide: Rethink your eCommerce experience with Google Ad Manager

When shopping online, today’s consumers want seamless, convenient, and genuinely enjoyable experiences. They expect retailers to understand what they want, with advertising that puts the right products in front of them at just the right moments. So, how exactly are retailers making it all happen — especially with the modern path to purchase spanning across so many different devices, formats, and channels?   

Leading retailers are accelerating their businesses by using integrated technology and data to help them connect with shoppers at each step of their journey. With platforms that provide advanced insights, retailers are collaborating with brands on innovative ad formats and placements that drive action by delivering a frictionless experience across their sites and apps.

In our new guide, Transforming shopping experiences on your eCommerce platform, we show you how Ad Manager can help you deliver unique experiences at every stage of the shopping journey, and increase profits while serving your customers, partners, and employees.

Ready for a new approach to eCommerce? Download the full guide here and see how you can create experiences that work for all of your customers.

Simplifying programmatic: first price auctions for Google Ad Manager

In the very early days of programmatic buying, publishers typically used only one auction to sell their ad inventory. Today the programmatic ecosystem has evolved into a much more complex marketplace where a single ad can pass through a mix of over ten different auctions, with different rules, before a winning bid price is selected and an ad is served. This complexity has made it difficult for advertisers and agencies to properly value programmatic inventory and it has driven our publishers and app developers to implement increasingly complicated ad monetization strategies, reducing transparency across the industry. Further, the increasing intricacy of programmatic has made it operationally very difficult, even for experts, to determine what’s going well and what needs to be improved.


In order to help simplify programmatic for our partners, in the coming months we’ll start to transition publisher inventory to a unified first price auction for Google Ad Manager. We expect the transition to be complete by the end of this year. By switching to a single first price auction, we can help reduce complexity and create a fair and transparent market for everyone.


First Price Auction Stacked

What this means for our partners

With this change, every offer from programmatic buyers will compete in the same unified auction, alongside inventory which is directly negotiated with advertisers. An advertising buyer’s bid will not be shared with another buyer before the auction or be able to set the price for another buyer. The buyer that wins the auction pays the price they bid. By simplifying our auction in Ad Manager, we can help make it easier for publishers and app developers to manage and get fair value for their inventory.

Preparing for this change

Since the change from second to first price will require both buyers and sellers to make changes in their programmatic strategies, we’ll give everyone time to prepare over the next few months before we start testing. During this time, publishers and app developers will need to rethink how they use price floors and technology partners will need to adjust how they bid for Google Ad Manager Inventory.

It’s important to note that our move to a single unified first price auction only impacts display and video inventory sold via Ad Manager. This change will have no impact on auctions for ads on Google Search, AdSense for Search, YouTube, and other Google properties, and advertisers using Google Ads or Display & Video 360 do not need to take any action.


We are excited to take this next step to simplify the programmatic ecosystem and help our partners grow. As we get closer to the start of our transition to a unified first price auction, we’ll work with all our partners to help them get prepared.