Lifting The Fog of RTB with Advanced Deal Metrics & Bid Error Reporting

Here’s a little-known fact – there are 70 reasons a bid can become ineligible in an AppNexus auction. For example, ineligible bids can include bidding below a floor, using a non-SSL creative on a secure webpage, or bidding with an advertiser banned by the publisher. These 70 checks performed to confirm bid eligibility are just the ones AppNexus is doing. External DSPs or SSPs likely perform additional checks.

We’ve learned from talking with buyers and sellers that understanding ineligible bids or why a campaign isn’t delivering is a huge challenge across the entire programmatic industry.

Take Deals for example – they’re a two-sided setup with targeting and business rules from both the buyer and the seller. If a bid doesn’t meet all the criteria, it quickly gets rejected, and participants have to understand the source of the rejection or they’re left wondering what happened and how to optimize fill and delivery.

The Deals example is a small slice of a potentially larger issue, where the success of RTB is being held back due to the complexity of buying and selling across multiple systems.

How do we address the current problem? AppNexus believes it starts with getting data into the hands of end customers. We’re currently testing two new reports and metrics to make troubleshooting Deals and open auction buys easier.

  • New Advanced Deal Metrics will offer buyers and sellers a near real-time data (10 minutes) stream of new stats and up to 30 reasons a deal is underperforming. One early adopter fixed 30% of their deal errors and saw approximately $1,000/day in new spend during the first day.

  • A new Bid Error Report will highlight bid errors across the open auction, providing the exact ad profile, yield management, creative, or Deal with the issue. Today it’s only being tested with sellers, but we’re currently developing a version that will be made available to buyers as well.

Combined, these new reports offer a starting point for conversations between buyers and sellers on how to improve setups and increase spend. Both projects are currently in closed testing to gather feedback and make changes, but are quickly moving to open beta.

Going forward, the broader industry has an opportunity to further streamline transacting across multiple systems. Perhaps it starts with standards, as there are limited guidelines in OpenRTB for how systems should communicate bid errors and rejections. Until then, AppNexus will make our ineligible bid notifications available to DSPs and Console clients via these new reports, as well as reach out to SSPs and exchanges to incorporate their invalid bid codes over time.

Hopefully we can transform invalid bids from one of the more nuanced and seldom talked about challenges of RTB into a example for how to make the industry more interoperable and less of a “black box” for everyone.

Mike McNeeley is a Product Manager on Deals and Publisher SSP at AppNexus.

Mike McNeeley

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