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Structure your inventory

You can plan your inventory structure before creating inventory in Ad Manager to get the most out of your ad space on web or app. #inventory

Knowing where you want to show ads on your website or app first requires you understand how your website or app is organized or structured. You can then begin to decide the ad spaces where ads would be most beneficial.

Most planning can occur outside of Ad Manager first before creating ad units, placements, or anything else. Outline where you want ads to show and what kind of ads you plan to show in those spaces. Your website or app, along with your ad inventory, are likely to evolve over time. Planning therefore is not an end state but a process, and you should regularly audit your digital properties and how you've structured your ad inventory to ensure you're making the most of them.

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Below are some example scenarios to help you start your planning process.

News website

Suppose you own and operate a news website that covers national and local news.

How might you plan your inventory for a news website with national and local sections?

  • If you plan on selling to advertisers who want to display on specific local news sections, but not on the national news section, you might need to create separate ad units for each local section.
  • If you don't plan to sell the local section separately, you can use one ad unit for both national and local news sections.
  • You might alternately create separate ad units for each local section and then use placements to group those local section ad units into national section placements.

How might you organize two 300x250 ad slots on your local news section (one at the top of the page and one at the bottom)?

  • You might use different ad units for each slot, or you might use key-values to differentiate between slots.

Here's an example of how your inventory structure may appear:

Placement: National news
      Ad unit: Local New York news
            Key-value: Position is Leaderboard (pos=leaderboard)
            Key-value: Position is Top Box (pos=atf-box)
            Key-value: Position is Bottom Box (pos=btf-box)

      Ad unit: Local Chicago news
            Key-value: Position is Leaderboard (pos=leaderboard)
            Key-value: Position is Top Box (pos=atf-box)
            Key-value: Position is Bottom Box (pos=btf-box)

      Ad unit: Local San Francisco news
            Key-value: Position is Leaderboard (pos=leaderboard)
            Key-value: Position is Top Box (pos=atf-box)
            Key-value: Position is Bottom Box (pos=btf-box)

In this example:

  • The local news section ad units are the basic components.
  • A national news section placement groups together the local news sections for targeting.
  • Key-values define the individual ad slots within each local news section.

You can deliver an ad to:

  • All of the local news sections by targeting the "National news" placement.
  • Any individual local news section by targeting one or more of the ad units.
  • A specific ad slot within any or all of the news sections by targeting the "Position" key-value.

Ad units, placements and key-values

Your inventory is a combination of ad units, placements, and key-values that allows you to target horizontally across your content. The examples below show how you might use ad units, key-values, and system-defined criteria to meet inventory requirements.

What you want to do What you should use
Target an ad to specific section of your content Ad units
Easily target an ad to all of your sports subsections Ad units, which provide "flow-down" targeting
Exclude your app inventory from run-of-network ads Special ad units: Mark your app inventory as special ad units
Only available in Google Ad Manager 360.
Easily target all of your sports, finance, and weather landing pages Placements: Combine all of your landing pages in a placement
Target an ad to a specific gender anywhere on your content Key-values, which provide horizontal targeting (for example, gender=female)
Target an ad to a specific sports team anywhere on your website. Key-values, which provide horizontal targeting (for example, team=yankees).
Target an ad to your visitors that are based in Canada. Geography, which is a system-defined criterion that’s handled for you
Target an ad to Android users only Operating system (including mobile), which is a system-defined criterion that’s handled for you


URLs identify domains and paths you represent or for which you are authorized to sell ads. URLs specified here can be used in pricing rules, targeted in Private Auctions and added to publisher profiles to indicate inventory available to buyers in the Marketplace.​

  1. Navigate to Inventory and then URLs.
  2. Click New URL
  3. Enter a URL or path. 
  4. Select an inventory type.
  5. Select a brand type (also applies to Programmatic Direct and Private Auction deals):
    • Branded: The full URL appears for buyers and advertisers.
    • Semi-transparent: Buyers see your domain, but not the subdomain or path, in the bid request.
  6. Click Save.

When you select an existing URL in the table, you can change its status or branding by clicking one of the options above the table.

If a URL is deactivated, any Private Auctions targeting that URL value will stop transacting if they don't target any other URL values. 

Create inventory in Ad Manager

Now that you’ve planned your inventory structure, you can:

Partner with a trusted expert

Looking for assistance getting your account up and running? Consider working with one of our Google Certified Publishing Partners now!

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