Is Admob removing its three placement limit?
In the last week I’ve been hearing from multiple different sources in the mobile ad monetization ecosystem that Admob will be removing it’s notorious three placement rule. If confirmed this will have a massive impact on the mobile ad monetization landscape, and usher in a boom for Google Ad Manager networks and massively boost Admob’s share of voice in mobile.
A little background…
Google has for years made Admob partners that mediate on 3rd party mediation platforms adhere to a rule that allows publishers only three Admob placements per waterfall. This has artificially reduced publishers' potential earnings from Admob as Google’s exposure in waterfalls has been severely reduced. Publishers who did not follow the rule ran the risk of having their Google traffic severely throttled for weeks by the policy team. The policy team would sometimes wait weeks after throttling your demand before turning it on again in full. Having personally been throttled once in 2021 I can tell you that the 3 weeks of lost revenue was not fun!
Now why would you think Admob would be willing to reduce their own revenues by imposing such a rule in the first place? Well a cynic would say it was to bolster their own mediation as publishers on Admob’s mediation were allowed to use as many placements as they pleased. We’re now in a new world where bidding is starting to take over the majority of waterfalls and Google has allowed its Admob bidder for select publishers on Applovin MAX. If the sources are correct it could be said that with the release of the Admob bidder on 3rd party platforms has caused Admob to take a more open stance on the use of it’s network for publishers to maximize their revenues before everything moves to bidding.
Who will be the main winners?
Mobile publishers will be able to massively increase the number of Admob and GAM placements in their waterfalls to finally allow Google to bid on all price points of their waterfalls. As Google is the largest mobile ad network this will increase their Share of Revenue and overall ad revenue in mobile games. This will lead to publishers being able to achieve a much higher Ad ARPDAU in their apps.
Google’s Admob network will gain massive scale as they will have more exposure in waterfalls. This will in turn increase Admob revenues as they charge a percentage (around 30%) for each impression that they show in a publisher's app. The 2nd order of magnitude effect will be also that their UA network will gain even more scale in mobile.
Winner or Loser?
Google Ad Manager Resellers
GAM networks have long been a nice little ad monetization trick to get more Google demand exposure in your mobile waterfalls and increase your ad revenues. The main drawback of using GAM partners has been that their placement counted towards the three placement rule. Now if abolished this will allow mobile publishers to increase the number of placements and open the Google demand tap on full. This will mean an absolute boom time for GAM partners as their exposure in waterfalls will no longer be limited.
Another argument would be that the increased Admob exposure would mean less of an opportunity for GAM resellers to grab a significant Share of Revenue in apps. Arguably they have access to Adx inventory not available on Admob. Time will tell what impact will be on this portion of the market.
Why change now?
It's hard to say why Google would want to relax their rules now but I have a feeling it has to do something to do with the spectre recession hanging over the mobile echo system and the roll out of their Admob bidder on 3rd party platforms. If I had to guess I'd say that it takes time to onboard publishers onto the Admob bidder and Google simply wants to increase their revenue as much as possible and quickly as possible. Then again that's me speculating...
Either way I eagerly await Google’s response and am extremely excited about the revenue opportunity for publishers if the abolishment of the rule is confirmed.