UAM vs TAM: Your manual to Amazon Publisher Services

Cellphone with Amazon logo

According to Statista, 71% of publishers now use Amazon’s header bidding technology, beating out well-known alternatives like Xandr (69%), Index Exchange (62%), and Magnite (53%).

And for good reason.

Google and Facebook may be the reigning champions of consumer search and interest data, respectively. But Amazon stands apart with its incredible access to first-party data, including personal identifiers (email addresses) and purchase information (credit cards and shopping behavior). This is a key reason why Amazon continues to grow in popularity as a bidder.

In the past few years, they’ve joined other ad tech companies by presenting their own header bidding solutions. Enter Amazon Publisher Services, which has two key offerings:

  • Unified Ad Marketplace (UAM)
  • Transparent Ad Marketplace (TAM)

Today, we’ll be focusing on what makes UAM/TAM appealing to publishers, how they compare against existing header bidding wrappers, and how to get started with them.

Amazon builds robust, easy-to-use user interfaces. For instance, UAM is offered as a managed service to publishers, with a plug-and-play option that’s fairly simple to navigate. Both UAM and TAM also offer their unique demand natively within their own platforms.

It’s also important to note that both UAM/TAM are server-side header bidding solutions, which have certain key advantages and disadvantages compared to the client-side header bidding model. Here’s a refresher on client-side vs. server-side header bidding before you read on.

What is Unified Ad Marketplace (UAM)?

Publisher sizeSmall to medium
Fee structure10% transaction fee taken from SSP bid prices
Demand reach20+ SSPs including Amazon
Ad formats supportedDesktop, Mobile (Web), Tablet (Web)

As we mentioned earlier, UAM is a server-side header bidding wrapper. Meaning that the header bidding auctions are executed within Amazon’s servers, not within the users’ browser.

Not looking to invest too much time and resources into setting up header bidding but need more of a plug-and-play option? UAM is a probably good fit for you.

Another benefit is that Amazon curates a list of SSPs that you can easily access via UAM. This includes SSPs like RhythmOne, Pubmatic, OpenX, Magnite (formerly Rubicon Project and Telaria), Xandr (formerly Appnexus), Sharethrough (formerly District M), and more.

These integrations save publishers time from going out and forming demand relationships on their own. UAM is best suited for small to medium publishers. Although what Amazon considers to be a small or medium publisher is currently ambiguous, you can fill out their form to see if you qualify.

An important note to make here is that both UAM and TAM are invite-only solutions.

Pros and Cons of UAM

Pros:

  • Managed service: If you don’t have the bandwidth to implement a header bidding wrapper on your own, using a managed wrapper like UAM can save time and resources.
  • Additional demand: Curating direct demand relationships can take a lot of time. An ad tech partner that offers access to multiple SSPs (including Amazon) can help you scale demand and realize your revenue potential faster.
  • Page latency: One of the main benefits of using a server-side header bidding solution is its relatively small impact on page latency compared to client-side header bidding, as the auctions are executed outside of the users’ browser.
  • Unified payments: Amazon consolidates your earnings from all activated SSPs (including their own bidder) and sends you one single payment on a Net-60 basis.

Cons:

  • Reporting: UAM offers reporting metrics such as bid requests, impressions, and earnings across basic filtering options. However, if you are used to using more granular reporting, this may not be enough data to work with.
  • Transparency: Server-side auctions work as “black boxes.” You have limited access to Amazon’s auction logic and bid-level transaction data.

How to get started with UAM?

You will need to be using Google Ad Manager (formerly DoubleClick for Publishers, DFP) in order to use UAM. You can set up and sync your Google Ad Manager (GAM) account from within the UAM interface.

What is Transparent Ad Marketplace (TAM)?

Publisher sizeEnterprise
Fee structureNo fee for publishers
Demand reach20+ SSPs including Amazon
Ad formats supportedVideo (pre-roll) for desktop and mobile, as well as dynamic display

UAM is best for publishers who want a managed solution and need access to SSPs. Whereas TAM is designed for larger publishers with preexisting direct demand relationships.

If you don’t need your foot in the door with other SSPs and would like to access Amazon’s demand in a no-fee environment, TAM is probably the right fit for you. TAM however is not a managed service. You will need to handle the technical implementation of their header bidding wrapper into your ad tech stack.

Pros and Cons of TAM

Pros:

  • Fees: Enterprise publishers do not pay a fee when working with TAM.
  • Additional demand: On top of your existing SSP partners, you get to access Amazon’s demand.
  • Reporting tranparency: Publishers using TAM get to see a little more information with auction-level reporting (who’s bidding and winning).
  • Control: As you hold all your SSP contracts and must set TAM up yourself, you have more control over its implementation compared to UAM.

Cons:

  • Multiple payments: Instead of one unified payment by Amazon, you are paid by each individual SSP as per your existing contracts with them.
  • Implementation: You need to have the bandwidth and know-how to handle the full technical setup for a new server-side header bidding wrapper.
  • Demand reach: You can’t access SSPs via TAM if you don’t already have contractual relationships with them. If this is the case, you may have limited demand.

Differences between APS, Open Bidding, and Prebid

Let’s start with the basics.

Open Bidding is Google’s server-side header bidding solution. It also has high qualification criteria for publishers. You need your own Google Ad Exchange (AdX) account and access to Google Ad Manager. Open Bidding facilitates a revenue-sharing agreement between the publisher and the activated SSPs. Google doesn’t take a direct cut from the publisher but rather from the SSP. Similar to TAM, there is no direct cost to the publisher.

On the other hand, Prebid is an open-source header bidding solution. It offers a client-side (Prebid.js) and server-side option (Prebid Server). The beauty of Prebid is that any publisher can download their wrapper code and start plugging in demand partners, regardless of their site traffic or other qualification criteria.

One major difference between Prebid and APS/Open Bidding is that the former does not offer managed service. Prebid.org is an open-source community of ad tech companies that work together to provide the technical infrastructure needed to run header bidding free of cost, however, the implementation is up to the publisher.

Translation: There is no account manager to help you set up Prebid. You, or your ad operations team, will have to implement the setup yourself. This is a technical barrier to entry.

In Summary

Amazon Publisher Services and its header bidding technology are proving to be a formidable contender within the publisher monetization space. While UAM and TAM are invite-only products, they provide publishers the tools to run S2S header bidding, with the increased bid competition associated with Amazon’s first-party consumer data.

If eligible, it’s always a good practice to compare performance against your existing wrapper and demand partners. To see if Amazon’s header bidding offerings are the right fit for your monetization needs.

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