Audience Network Waterfall Mediation

Waterfall mediation has been the standard setup in ad monetization for the past decade. Under waterfall mediation, when an ad impression becomes available, a publisher’s ad server calls demand sources one by one, in order of average historic price, not what they are willing to pay for that particular impression. This creates a potential loss of revenue. In some cases, the demand source willing to pay the most for a particular impression never gets called because it is further down in the chain.

In this waterfall, Network 4 is willing to pay the most for the impression but might never be called.

Waterfall mediation is a legacy ad technology that restricts competition and prevents publishers from earning the most for every impression. Publishers don’t know when they’re leaving money on the table. And advertisers may not get a fair shot at the inventory, resulting in skewed average historical prices. Because of this, Audience Network recommends that you transition from waterfall mediation to open bidding.

Create a Hybrid Setup

While publishers migrate to bidding, many will need to maintain both waterfall and bidding simultaneously. For an optimal hybrid bidding integration, dynamically merge the bidding auction and the waterfall so they run in parallel. The two winners should then compete for the impression.

To transition away from waterfall mediation, you can run an auction in parallel with your waterfall.

Here are a few additional factors essential to a well-functioning hybrid setup:

  • Remove price floors on bidding networks. Price floors will not effect Audience Network bids. The bidding price is based on the impression and user evaluation and will not take into account any minimum threshold set by the publisher. Price floors or price targets should be set only for static networks in the waterfall.
  • Don’t call the same network twice. If you are calling a network as a bidder in your real-time auction, do not call the same network in your waterfall, as this is duplicative.
  • Request ads from winners. Request the ad only if the bid wins the auction.
  • Send win/loss notifications. Send win, loss, billable and timeout notifications with the appropriate loss codes. You can send multiple loss notifications, but only one win notification for each bid.
  • Compare bid price with filled waterfall placements. Compare winning bids to static networks only after confirming that the static network has a fill. Otherwise, you’ll be comparing the winning bid to the static network’s average historical CPM, which there is no guarantee you would have earned.