Key Points

  • Unified Pricing Rules in Google Ad Manager are a key component in maximizing ad yield.
  • The best practices covered in this article are great for getting started.
  • As you get more sophisticated, it is very easy to hit the ceiling of 200 allowed unified pricing rules, causing you to look toward additional technology to continue growing your strategy.

Unified pricing rules is Google Ad Manager's (GAM) answer to managing price floors. They are a key mechanism in managing and increasing your yield from ad revenue.

Getting started can certainly be overwhelming, so we've gathered a few best practices from our team of yield operations professionals to help you get started.

Build a Comprehensive Strategy vs. One-off Rules

The biggest mistake you can make with floor prices is to think about each of the factors that influence your target CPM independently. It is all too common to build unified pricing rules for specific geographic locations or individual ad units without thinking of the combinations of settings that might affect revenue.

For instance: You might know that browsers have an effect on your CPMs and have a couple of browser-focused rules for floor prices. You might have a similar situation for geographic locations. 

But have you thought about how those factors compound? For instance, you might want a hyper-specific rule for each combination of browser and geography built for each of your ad units.

Thinking of unified pricing rules as "one-off" rules will definitely blind you to opportunities like this.

Read more in our complete guide on building your price floor strategy in GAM.

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Ad Yield Management Guide

Create Base Prices for Each of Your Ad Units

Another common mistake with unified pricing rules is forgetting to set a base price for each of your ad units. You want to think about a starting point that is unique for each ad unit that will go up or down based on the factors applied to it.

Each of your ad units will have a unique base CPM from which to start this thought process. From there you can start to layer on the effects of each individual factor, like browser or geography.

This leads us right to our next tip...

Look at Targeting Factors as Percentage Multipliers

The easiest way to layer in all of the factors that might influence your target CPM for a particular ad unit is to think of them as multipliers.

Say you know that, when an ad impression is in the US it has a higher CPM than your standard base, but when that impression is in Latin America, it has a lower CPM.

You'd look at each case as a percentage multiplier from your base ad unit price. Let's walk through some fake numbers to explain:

Say you've set your base price on an ad unit to $0.50. An impression in the US might have a multiplier of 110%, and in Latin America, a multiplier of 80% based on the information above.

This means you can now just multiply your targeting factor multiplier by your base price to make unique unified pricingrules! An impression on this particular ad unit in the US should have a floor price of $0.55 and in Latin America, a floor price of $0.40.

This logical shift to "percentage multipliers" makes the next tip a breeze...

Strategically Combine Rules

Now that you have defined percentage multipliers for all the different factors that might influence what CPM you could get for an impression, you can easily combine them.

If you want to layer in a browser on top of the country example above, you could easily assign similar percentage multipliers for the browsers Safari (say 80%) and Google Chrome (say 100%).

Now you can create rules for each combination:

  • Ad unit shown in Chrome Browser in the US: $0.50 x 100% x 110% = $0.55
  • Ad unit shown in Safari Browser in the US: $0.50 x 80% x 110% = $0.44
  • Ad unit shown in Chrome Browser in Latin America: $0.50 x 100% x 80% = $0.40
  • Ad unit shown in Safari Browser in Latin America: $0.50 x 80% x 80% = $0.32

Thinking of targeting factors in terms of percentage multipliers makes this much easier to combine!

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Go Beyond the Basics

Make sure you are going beyond the basic unified pricing rule strategies of just geography and browser. There are so many different targeting factors you can incorporate into your strategy, you're selling yourself short if you stop with the basics.

Our recommendation if you are just getting started is to include the following factors in your strategy:

  • Device Type: The type of device a user is on will have a factor in determining how valuable the impression is. Typically on mobile devices and tablets, ad inventory is simply not as valuable as that on desktops.
  • Country: The country where you are serving your ads will also have a major effect on the CPM you are capable of earning when serving impressions. Breaking up countries by standard tiers is a good starting point.
  • Browser: The browser a user is using to visit your website can also affect your ultimate CPMs. Because Firefox and Safari don't collect cookies, visits are typically less valuable than those from Chrome users. 
  • Day of Week: Different days of the week tend to perform better than others for average CPMs. Typically we find across our network that Fridays and weekends perform better than other days of the week, but this may be different for your site.
  • Hour of Day: You can even go so far as to make specific price floor rules for the time of day. In general, we've found that CPMs tend to be higher in the middle of the night, while they often spike in the morning, and go down in the afternoon.

Be Aware of Unified Pricing Rule Limits

Now the thing to be aware of is that Google Ad Manager has a limit of 200 unified pricing rules that a publisher can create. 

And, if you are following our other suggestions, the more targeting factors you include, the more rules you'll want to create to cover every combination of factors. And that adds up to way more than 200.

If you are doing things yourself in Google Ad Manager, you'll need to be strategic about which rules to keep in play, and as often as you can, you'll want to group target criteria. 

You will need to look for opportunities to group criteria options that are close enough together in order to maximize what you can get from your, at most, 200 allowed price rules. This would essentially be things like grouping multiple countries into a large group that are all assigned the same percentage multiplier.

easy-button-icon-1  Want the Easy Button?

Or, if you want to have your cake and eat it too, you can look at technology outside of GAM that accomplishes this for you. Playwire's price floor controller (which is built right into our machine learning algorithms) is capable of managing millions of unified pricing rules at once.

In fact, our platform manages 1.814M different floors per website, on average, depending on the number of ad units. Changes to these floors can be generated as often as needed, and all of it is based on how your website already performs.

Learn more about all that our Revenue Intelligence {RI} algorithms have to offer, or apply today to see what they could do for your website.

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