Google Ad Manager Maintains Lead In Latest Advertiser Perceptions SSP Report

Best SSPGoogle Ad Manager remains on the top perch across almost every category in the latest Advertiser Perceptions report.

Though the pandemic transformed the buy side of the advertising business, giving Amazon Publisher Services a huge boost, the sell side saw more of the same. Publishers leaned into the partners they already used and were comfortable with – like Google, said Kevin Mannion, president and chief strategy officer at Advertiser Perceptions.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” Mannion said. “You’re seeing solidification of Google’s position as a leader.”

For example, 51% of all publishers listed Google Ad Manager as their top partner. Amazon Publisher Services, in second place, trailed with just 10% of publishers listing it as their top partner.

The Advertiser Perceptions report, fielded in August and September of last year, also revealed the momentum behind various trends, including the Trade Desk’s Unified ID 2.0 and header bidding.

Half of the 150 publishers polled said they were either committed to Unified ID 2.0 (15%) or aware of it and exploring (38%). In December, The Washington Post became the first publisher to formally adopt the framework.

The push for more demand

Publishers continue to bring in more demand partners. Publishers said they worked with an average of six SSPs, and planned to increase the number of partners they work with to an average of 7.7 in 12 months. Nine in 10 use header bidding for desktop. And about three in five use header bidding either for mobile in-app or in-stream video, two formats that have been lagging in the header bidding trend.

“Momentum is growing, but it’s more difficult to implement header for in-app and video,” said Lauren Fisher, VP of business intelligence at Advertiser Perceptions. “Publishers said they were struggling with it because of the perception that it’s more difficult and time-consuming technically, and in terms of headcount requirements.”

Beyond Google Ad Manager and Amazon Publisher Services, several SSPs compete neck-and-neck for the third position. PubMatic, which went public in December, had a statistically significant increase in usage, with one in three publishers saying they used PubMatic.

Among both small and large publishers, Google Ad Manager and Amazon Publisher Services place first and second in terms of usage by a wide margin. Google Ad Manager has been used in the past twelve months by three out of four respondents (across both large and small publishers), while Amazon Publisher Services is used by about half of the respondents. The rest of the top ten are running in a tight race. Among large publishers, for example, WarnerMedia’s Xandr Monetize is used by 47%, Index Exchange by 43%, OpenX by 41%, PubMatic by 38%, Magnite by 38%, SpotX by 38%, Verizon Media by 36%, and by TripleLift 36%. Any one of this group has a chance to pull ahead, Fisher said.

“In the landscape beyond Google and Amazon, there is ample opportunity for several of these partners to emerge as a number-three,” Fisher said. “Right now it’s a tight race, which gives any of those SSPs an opportunity to come out swinging.”

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