Prevent competitors from serving together

Use protections to set up competitive exclusions

You can block certain types of ads from appearing when ads from other specific advertisers, brands, or categories are present. For example, you may want to block a specific advertiser from buying inventory across Ad Manager or Ad Exchange because of an agreement with a competing advertiser or a direct deal.

How competitive protections work

Use competitive protections to create custom groupings of advertisers/brands/categories whose ads can or cannot serve together, and designate the portions of your inventory where they cannot serve.

Ads from advertisers/brands/categories within the same group can serve at the same time on the same page; ads from advertisers/brands/categories that are in different groups are blocked from serving together.


You have an agreement with Advertiser A, and you don’t want to run any ads from its competing advertisers (Advertiser B and Advertiser C). You can create a competitive advertiser protection and assign Advertiser A to its own group, and Advertisers B and C to a separate group within the same protection.

If an ad from Advertiser A serves to an ad unit you designated within the protection, ads from Advertisers B and C get blocked from serving at the same time.

Ad Manager competitive protections are applied in Ad Exchange in real time. Ad Manager sends inventory and protection information to Ad Exchange, then Ad Exchange chooses one or more ads that satisfy these requirements.

Where do competitive protections apply?

Competitive protections apply to these transaction types:

  • Programmatic Guaranteed
  • Open Auctions
  • Private Auctions
  • First Look
  • Traditional

Set up competitive protections

  1. Sign in to Google Ad Manager.
  2. Click Protections and then Protections
  3. Click New protection and then Competition
  4. Name your competitive protection.
  5. By default, the protection is applied to all inventory. To target specific inventory:
    1. Click Add targeting.
    2. Select an item from the dropdown, and make targeting selections.
  6. Create blocking groups. The Multi-group block option determines how many blocking groups you’ll create. A multi-group block can include one or more advertisers/brands/categories
    • When deselected:
      The protection is applied within one group. Next to "Group," select the advertisers/brands/categories that you don’t want to serve together.


      If Advertiser A and Advertiser B are in the group, ads from those two advertisers won’t serve together.

    • When selected:
      Advertisers/brands/categories in different groups are blocked from serving together. Next to "If showing," select the components that we’ll check for. If any of those components are showing ads on a page, we won’t show ads from the components you select in the "Block" group.


      Advertiser A and Advertiser B are in the "If showing" group, and Advertiser C is in the "Block" group. If a page is showing ads from Advertiser A and/or Advertiser B, then ads from Advertiser C won’t appear on that page.

  7. Click Save.

Create competitive exclusions with labels

It is also possible to prevent competing ads on a page by using labels. Line items won't deliver on the same page as line items from other advertisers that are assigned the same label. Learn more about competitive exclusion settings in labels.

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