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Let’s Understand What Open Bidding Is!

If you haven’t discovered this by now, you are going to eventually. When Google builds technology in the ad space, publishers have to pay attention. Why? Because Google is a dominating force in the digital advertising industry, and its tools are typically top-of-the-line.

That’s certainly the case for Google Open Bidding. Built as an answer to header bidding but marketed as something better, Open Bidding can be an incredibly helpful tool for publishers who are looking to maximize their ad revenue.

But what is Open Bidding, exactly, and how does it work? We get into all of that and more in this post. Keep reading!

About Google Open Bidding

What is Google Open bidding? Google Open Bidding is a unified auction for ad inventory that takes place on Google ad servers as a feature of Google Ad Manager. It allows publishers to incorporate demand from third parties to compete with Google demand inside Google Ad Manager in order to increase CPMs. That’s Open Bidding in a nutshell, but there’s much more to it.

Open Bidding is a server-side, unified auction accessed through Google’s Ad Manager (GAM). It allows publishers to invite yield partners (demand partners) such as ad exchanges and ad networks to compete for ad inventory in real-time.

Since Open Bidding enables multiple yield partners to compete with Google Ad Exchange, publishers should see a higher ad fill rate and eCPMs when they adopt the solution.

Is Open Bidding The Same as Header Bidding? 

Open Bidding isn’t the same thing as header bidding, but it accomplishes the similar goal of increasing your total demand and the number of sources of demand to increase CPMs. And both processes do so through a unified auction.

While header bidding executes both a client-side auction and a server-side auction to allow publishers to receive bids for their ad inventory from multiple demand partners simultaneously, open bidding does it on the server-side only. Moreover, the execution process also differs for both, making it critical for publishers to understand the differences between them.

How Does Open Bidding Work?

Ad Manager facilitates Open Bidding requests between publishers and demand partners. Publishers need to have a Google Ad Exchange (AdX) account linked to GAM. This can be done through a Google AdX partner. Once a request is accepted by a demand partner, Google Ad Manager allocates the demand partners into yield groups that compete against each other.

The Benefits of Open Bidding

  • Reduce page latency

Open Bidding requires only the GAM script to run, whereas header bidding requires the GAM script in addition to the script for the header auction. Less JavaScript at runtime translates into faster page load and better UX even before the auction starts.

  • Less Operational Overhead

Since Google Ad Manager manages Open Bidding, there is nothing additional to be installed or maintained by the publishers on their website.

When used as an alternative to header bidding, Open bidding eliminates the need to maintain complex header codes and the numerous GAM line items associated with header bidding. Also, since Google handles the billing for Open Bidding, the demand partners are billed exactly what they bid, and the bid discrepancy issue goes away for publishers.

  • Simple, unified payments

Most publishers who run their own header bidding stack also have to manage payments from all the demand partners that they are working with. 

Which One Should I Choose?

As you can see, both header bidding and Open Bidding have their unique set of pros and cons. However, which one will work the best for you depends on your individual needs and context. Header bidding is available in self-hosted, limited support, and fully-managed service models that have a vast network of demand partners and drives immediate revenue lift. But it suffers from page latency issues, especially when timeouts and partner selection are not optimized.

On the surface, Open Bidding does the same thing as header bidding—making sure that the publisher receives the highest possible bid for every impression. But by moving the auction to the server-side, Open Bidding solves the latency issue, simplifies payments, and is easier to set up and manage. But only the largest publishers will have easy direct access to it.


For current Props publisher partners, adding Google Open Bidding to the mix will be a great way to tap into incremental revenues and extend demand across their full range of advertising inventory, including homepages, in-article, and display.

For a publisher who has not yet had the opportunity to work with Props, this new offering is a smooth entry point to explore the company’s unique demand and maximize its publishing yield.

We can also help you execute your strategy and achieve the targets you expect, of course, supported by a professional and experienced team. To get more information click here.