Google this month confirmed the planned shift to unified first-price auctions in Google Ad Manager. Jason Bigler, Director Product Management at Google, wrote that Google is “confident that moving to first-price auctions in Ad Manager will ensure a fair and transparent marketplace that benefits the health of the programmatic ecosystem.”
Google performed tests and the results show on average, first-price auctions have a neutral to positive impact on a publisher’s total revenue. Google also says that they found evidence that first-price auctions have created a more competitive market, resulting in third parties (Demand Side Platforms and Ad Networks outside of Google) and indirect line items (like those from Header Bidding implementations) winning an increased share of impressions.
The transition to first price auction took place on September 10, however a small percentage (3% or less) of Ad Exchange traffic continues to be governed by the second-price auction model for a short time, so that Google monitors the performance.
In Google Ad Manager, Open Auction pricing rules were retired with unified first-price auctions. Only unified pricing rules, URLs, and Protections now apply.