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What the Heck is a Unified Auction? 

Peter Ackerman, Director of Product Marketing Breaks It Down for Us 

As you may recall, earlier this year we fully integrated our Spearad ad server and unified auction solution into the Unruly ad platform. This integration allows publishers to control how ads appear within their content to provide a better viewing experience to their audiences, enables them to have more control over their inventory pricing, and lets us pave a more seamless path to direct and programmatic revenue for these publisher partners.

For example, a core feature of Spearad that helps streamline the path to revenue and optimal yield is its unified auction capabilities with leading SSPs, including access to Unruly’s unique demand. 

But you might be asking… 

So…what is a unified auction?

A Unified Auction is a programmatic tactic where multiple demand sources (in this case, SSPs, Exchanges, or DSPs) compete for the same publisher inventory at the same time and bid accordingly. This replaces the traditional waterfall model where publishers pass inventory to demand partners sequentially until the inventory is sold. 

The terms ‘header bidding’ and ‘unified auction’ are often used interchangeably, so what’s the difference? Header bidding is in itself a unified auction, where a publisher adds a piece of code into the “header” of their webpage (browser) through a wrapper tag. This sends ad calls to multiple demand partners simultaneously. 

This process was originally developed to bypass the inefficiencies of the waterfall and level the playing field between Google and non-Google demand sources. However, header bidding was essentially a hack and has its own set of drawbacks, such as page latency–meaning the page can take longer to load. And the longer the load time…the less likely a user is to sit and stay wait which can result in missed revenue opportunities. 

Alternatively, unified auctions take place in the publisher’s ad server, reducing latency and making it easier for direct deals to compete with programmatic ones.

Benefits of Unified Auctions:

  1. Creates efficiencies for publishers – unified auctions only require one ad call, lowering latency, increasing fill rates, and increasing yield by creating more competition for each impression 
  1. Opens more inventory to buyers with increased transparency

Would you like to know more about Unruly’s unified auction solution through Spearad? Contact us here.