Google is pushing even more "premium" and direct-negotiated media deals through its programmatic pipes. This week it added a new sell-side Private Auction bid type to DoubleClick Ad Exchange. Google calls this an evolution of Preferred Deals, first offered last year as a means for publishers to negotiate direct deals with buyers and then transact through the exchange. Note that Google has incorporated the Admeld approach but not its technology.
Whereas Preferred Deals let buyers and sellers create single-party, fixed-price auctions – perhaps incorporating first- and third-party data – the private auction could have a dozen buyers and a fluid price based on demand for any given impression. The private auction takes priority over open auction bidding. It's the AdX version of a private exchange, an entity long on offer from PubMatic, Rubicon Project, AppNexus and Google's own Admeld, acquired two years ago.
Launched in beta last December, Private Auctions are available today to all sell- and buy-side participants in AdX, including Google's own demand-side platform DoubleClick Bid Manager.
Interestingly, Admeld technology is not at the core of either Preferred Deals or Private Auctions, said Drew Bradstock, senior product manager on the Ad Exchange, working out of Google's Toronto office. Bradstock's team engineered this solution in collaboration with the 100 Ontario-based engineers who work on AdX.
"A lot of the actual tech is building on top of what we already had with Preferred Deals," Bradstock said yesterday. "But the smoothness of it, how easy is it to set up – that's coming from Admeld. We learned a lot about how they do private exchanges."
This implies Google has decided to re-engineer rather than repurpose Admeld for its ad tech stack.
Bradstock said a number of publishers who have been running in beta are moving their Preferred Deals over to Private Auction. He suggested this is partly due to a lower bar in selling it into ad agencies. "It's more similar to the open auction in terms of how they would buy. They don't need to change as much. They don't need to know about a fixed price."
Google won't disclose the volume of inventory moving through private exchanges on Admeld or AdX, which makes it hard to gauge whether private marketplace deals and other forms of "programmatic direct" have kicked in this year. The company may be less focused on market speed than on positioning itself to capture that kind of demand as it incrementally trickles in.
AdX Product Management Director Scott Spencer, said, "The pubs are more willing to put some of that premium inventory out there as long as it's not costing them their $9 CPM deal with AT&T. Our goal is to give publishers a holistic platform across direct and programmatic sales so they can make the tradeoffs they want to make in terms of who's buying and how they're buying."