We've outlined three phases of testing below with best practices for each step.
The testing recommendations here are ideas that can help you check your configurations and ensure the best user experience. Not every recommendation will fit your needs, so keep your site setup and intended user experience in mind when creating your own test plan.
Before you begin
These best practices will help you test effectively at each phase:
- End-to-end test early: This can help ensure that your systems can accommodate complex targeting, confirm that Ad Manager's settings are working as expected, and validate delivery. The more complex the campaign, the more useful early testing can be.
- Test for a variety of site usage: Consider the different ways that users can access your site, such as different devices and browsers, and make sure your tests cover these use cases.
- Include third-party integrations: You should include systems you use outside of Ad Manager, such as order management systems and any third-party reporting, yield management, or business intelligence tools. Check with third parties for specific testing recommendations.
Phase 1: Set up a testing environment with test data
Create test objects in your network
You'll want to create test objects - advertisers, ad units, orders, line items, and creatives - so you can keep them separate from your real campaigns. Here are some tips for working with test objects:
- All objects: Use a naming pattern, such as
ZTEST, to identify test objects and keep them grouped together at the bottom of list pages.
- Advertisers: Create test advertisers as needed. Advertisers can't be deleted, but you can change their status to inactive and prepend
zzzzzto the name to push them to the bottom of your advertiser list.
- Orders and line items: You can create a custom field at the order level to identify test orders. When viewing lists of orders and line items, use the custom field to filter for just test objects or just real objects. You can also prefix orders and line items with something like "Test" and then archive them so they don't appear by default.
- Ad units: Work with your web developers to see if they can point to test ad units. You can deactivate or archive test ad units when you're done testing.
Use a development site
Using a development site that mirrors your production site allows you to test in a production-style environment without affecting your live site.
Generate test data
You can generate test impressions to see how your ads are being delivered by refreshing your test pages every few seconds. Refreshing too rapidly might trigger Ad Manager's spam filtering, so you might need to adjust your manual or automated refresh rate to get it right.
Phase 2: Test Ad Manager tagging
Working with ad units, key-values, and sizes
Make sure you deliver tags with the correct ad units, key-values, and sizes by generating tags on a sample page.
- Suggested ad units: Keep an eye on suggested ad units. These ad units show up when the ad server receives at least 10 requests for an undefined ad unit within a seven-day period. If you're seeing unexpected ad units, there might be a problem with how your CMS delivers tags.
Test various page layouts
Run tests on all of the different layouts of your various web properties, including those that have been optimized for mobile devices, to make sure that tags are interacting with the pages as expected.
- Chrome Developer Tools: Use Chrome Developer Tools or Firebug to observe the timeline and make sure that Ad Manager tags and requests aren't causing latency or other issues. Monitor how Ad Manager tags render on your pages and how they interact with your site.
- Google publisher console: Use the Google publisher console to test tag performance and debug errors.
Phase 3: Test trafficking setup and creatives
Keep track of Ad Manager trafficking features you use
Include in your test plan the expected results of Ad Manager features such as frequency caps, ad exclusion labels, etc.
Test creative delivery
You can use targeting in line items to respond to specific tags. Make sure the creatives associated with these line items deliver to your pages. You can preview a creative on your site directly from Ad Manager. It's also good to test creatives in your testing environment.
- Third-party creatives: Ensure that third-party creatives render correctly and that impressions and clicks are counted. Test every type of third-party creative that you plan to use, as each uses its own technology.
- Creative templates: Test creative templates you've developed to ensure that they render correctly and track impressions and clicks.
- Out-of-page creatives: Be sure to modify your tags appropriately and test to ensure that these creatives work correctly.