Audience Network Overview

The developer component of Audience Network allows publishers to monetize their app by selling ad space to advertisers.

  • Publishers are entities that own an app or website. Publishers can monetize their property by showing ads to their audience.

  • Advertisers create online ads for businesses and services that they are paid to promote. Advertisers buy ad space in a publisher's app or website to promote their brand.

This documentation is targeted towards app or website developers that work for a publisher. If you're an advertiser, please see the documentation on the Audience Network business site.

Publishers typically see the best payout by auctioning their ad space out to multiple advertisers. There are many different ways to run an auction; the bidding model that you choose will have a huge impact on the coding that you will need to do to implement it.

Waterfall Bidding

Waterfall bidding organizes a list of ad sources by their highest historical CPM. The bidder with the highest historical CPM is offered the chance to fill the ad space at a specific price point. If they refuse, the bidder with the next highest historical CPM is offered the chance to fill the ad unit, and so on.

There are several problems with the waterfall bidding model:

  • The historical CPM is, by definition, always out of date. This means that an advertiser that is willing to pay more for the impression might never get a chance to bid.
  • Waterfalls require a lot of effort to maintain. Publishers usually end up with multiple waterfalls in search of a higher price, all of which must be updated regularly and sorted by their most recent CPM.
  • The bidder at the bottom of the waterfall ends up paying the highest price for the impression.

Because of these limitations, the Audience Network developer documentation mostly focuses on upgrading existing waterfall implementations to incorporate bids from open bidding.

Open Bidding with Partner Mediation

The most modern bidding model is what Google AdMob refers to as open bidding. In this bidding model, multiple advertisers bid into a real-time auction that begins when an app or website is ready to display an ad. This auction usually finishes in less than a second. The bidder that offers the highest price in the specified timeframe wins the auction and serves an ad to the ad space.

Most publishers offload the running of the auction to a mediation partner such as AdMob, MoPub, or Fyber. This allows you to focus on improving your app or website, and is usually the best option if your publisher isn't large enough to have its own advertising support team.

Open Bidding with In-House Mediation

Open bidding with in-house mediation is intended for publishers that are large enough to have their own advertising support team and need granular control over which ads are shown in their ad space. In this model, publishers run their own real-time auction between multiple advertisers. Audience Network Bidding Kit 2.0 helps you implement auctions, integrate with multiple real-time bidders, and customize auctions to meet your needs.

In This Section

Open Bidding with Partner Mediation

Describes how to use a mediation system such as AdMob or Applovin to select ads based on open bidding (also known as header bidding or in-app bidding).

Open Bidding with In-House Mediation

Talks about how to create your own in-house mediation system to select ads to display.

Ad Formats

Describes the various formats available for Audience Network ads.


Defines key terms that are used in the Audience Network developer documentation.


Contains videos that explain key concepts about Audience Network.