Google relinquishes ‘last look’ auction privilege

By Callen Johnson | 02 Apr 2017

Google has announced that it's going to be altering its auction process to no longer favour its own bids over other exchanges. As a result, it has relinquished the 'last look' privilege that it previously held through the DoubleClick AdExchange, which allowed Google to bid on every impression, resulting in it having the ability to outbid other buyers in auctions.

Google's Director of Product Management, Jonathan Bellack, has confirmed the change in a recent statement, noting "we are collecting the price each exchange would pay, including AdX, and then putting it in a unified auction where the highest price wins". The change is part of an open phase beta for a new procedure within DoubleClick known as Exchange Bidding in Dynamic Allocation (EDBA). For publishers, the main advantages of EBDA are its yield-maximising capabilities through the unification of the auction process.

Previously when an impression became available, the DoubleClick AdExchange would first let other exchanges submit their bids before submitting its own, which gave it a distinct advantage from the outset. For example, by utilising the last look, Google could bid a penny higher than the highest bid from other exchanges and win the auction. Under these recent changes all exchange participants, such as PubMatic, Rubicon and Index Exchange, will be able to declare their final bid at the same time and the highest price will win the impression. As a result, Google's auction will no longer favour itself in any bid allocations.

It's no secret that the last look advantage that Google had was a concern for publishers, and lead many advertisers to adopt header bidding technologies to maximise inventory revenues (header bidding is a method that allows publishers to integrate with media partners and request a real-time bid from each partner before deciding on which ad to serve).

The introduction of EDBA could be a counter to the growing popularity of header bidding by Google as well as the start of a wider change in its approach to working with publishers and partners within the programmatic marketplace.