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Some changes to our ad technology

The tools used by digital publishers and advertisers —  often called ad tech — help websites and apps make money and fund high-quality content. Ad tech also helps our advertising partners big and small reach customers and grow their businesses. Our ad tech tools are built to work with our partners and competitors alike — it's why we share access to advertising data to support publisher monetization and why we provide access to more than 700 rival advertiser platforms and 80 publisher platforms across our products.

Over the past two years, we have been working with the French Competition Authority (FCA) to answer their questions about our advertising technology, and more specifically about Google Ad Manager, our publisher platform. 

While we believe we offer valuable services and compete on the merits, we are committed to working proactively with regulators everywhere to make improvements to our products. That’s why, as part of an overall resolution of the FCA’s investigation, we have agreed on a set of commitments to make it easier for publishers to make use of data and use our tools with other ad technologies. We will be testing and developing these changes over the coming months before rolling them out more broadly, including some globally. 

Increased access to data 

Today, when buyers use Google Ad Manager to participate in Google’s ad exchange, they receive equal access to data from our auctions to help them efficiently buy ad space from publishers.

As there are a lot of ad exchanges to choose from, publishers sometimes also use a technology called Header Bidding to run an auction among multiple ad exchanges. Because these Header Bidding auctions take place outside of our platform, it is usually not technically possible for Google to identify the participants, and therefore we cannot share data with those buyers. 

With these commitments, we will work to create a solution that ensures that all buyers that a publisher works with, including those who participate in Header Bidding, can receive equal access to data related to outcomes from the Ad Manager auction. In particular, we will be providing information around the “minimum bid to win” from previous auctions. 

Increased flexibility 

Publishers using Ad Manager have always had the ability to sell ads via many different advertising platforms and the ability to negotiate terms with other publisher platforms to implement business strategies targeted to specific buyers. This flexibility allows publishers and advertisers to mix and match technology partners to meet their different needs.

We will further increase the flexibility of Google Ad Manager to meet the evolving needs of our partners, including allowing them to set custom pricing rules for ads that are in sensitive categories and implementing product changes that improve interoperability between Ad Manager and third-party ad servers. Also, we are reaffirming that we will not limit Ad Manager publishers from negotiating specific terms or pricing directly with other sell-side platforms (SSPs). And we will continue to provide Ad Manager publishers with controls to include or exclude certain buyers at their discretion.

Affirming our commitment to transparency

We have worked for years to bring increased transparency to programmatic advertising, including taking steps to simplify our platforms. This includes combining our publisher ad server and ad exchange to become Google Ad Manager and shifting to a unified first price auction in Ad Manager to help reduce complexity and create a fair and transparent market for everyone.

As part of these commitments, we are reaffirming our promise not to use data from other SSPs to optimize bids in our exchange in a way that other SSPs can’t reproduce. We are also reaffirming our promise not to share any bid from any Ad Manager auction participants with any other auction participant prior to completion of the auction. Additionally, we’ll give publishers at least three months' notice for major changes requiring significant implementation effort that publishers must adopt, unless those are related to security or privacy protections, or are required by law. 

We are always working on improving our ad tech products to help publishers fund their content and businesses and help advertisers efficiently reach customers. We recognise the role that ad tech plays in supporting access to content and information and we’re committed to working collaboratively with regulators and investing in new products and technologies that give publishers more choice and better results when using our platforms. 

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