Get started checklist for DoubleClick Ad Exchange
About the Get Started checklist
Whether you are new to DoubleClick Ad Exchange or have been using it for years, there’s always more to learn. This "Get Started" checklist walks you through the steps to:
- Familiarize yourself with the Ad Exchange Program Guidelines
- Learn about Ad Exchange and its benefits
- Manage your account and its performance
- Structure and control your inventory
- Regulate your content through rules
- Review ads and decide whether or not to display them
- Start serving Ad Exchange ads on your sites
- View account activity with Query Tool
- Discover best practices and tips
- Learn about troubleshooting tools and resources
Google DoubleClick Ad Exchange Program Guidelines
Please take the time to read the Google DoubleClick Ad Exchange Program Guidelines. There is important information that should be known by all users, as the guidelines affect user accounts.
Here are a few examples of what to know:
- All Sellers must comply with these guidelines. Publishers monetizing seller partner inventory and mobile inventory should pay particular attention to provisions regarding seller partners and location data.
- You must ensure that at any given time, in-page ads (that is, ads that stay within the set dimensions of the ad slot), in-app ads (ads served within mobile applications), and other paid promotional materials do not exceed the amount of site content.
- Positioning ads next to pornographic, mature or violent content is not allowed.
- Placing ads in webmail applications is not permitted, unless Google has made an exception, but only under the following circumstances:
- Publishers cannot send to Google ad requests which contain any content from the webmail
- Publishers cannot implement the ad code unless Google has provided instructions for doing so
- Invalid activity, e.g., using artificial means to inflate impressions, conversions and/or clicks (e.g, click fraud) is not allowed.
- Sellers must have a minimum balance of $100 in their Ad Exchange account at the end of a given month to receive payment from Google. Account balances under $100 will roll-over into the following month.
Introduction to DoubleClick Ad Exchange
DoubleClick Ad Exchange is an online marketplace where buyers can purchase inventory from multiple participating sellers and publishers can manage multiple buyers to get the highest yield at scale. Learn about the Ad Exchange workflow.
Ad Exchange has been designed to help give you flexible control over your inventory. This inventory management system enables you to create settings for any combination of inventory and bids, and presents an effective, time-saving way to maintain those settings.
“Rules” is the way to configure your inventory. You can select segments of inventory, per buyer or advertiser, and then control pricing, blocking and other configurations (such as backup ads and ad types) that apply to your selections. Here are the different rule types:
- Set up targeted inventory
- Designate pricing for buyers
- Set blocking for:
- General categories
- Restricted sensitive categories
- Ad technologies
- Select text ad style
You would need to create the following rules for your targeted inventory:
- A pricing rule where publishers may specify minimum CPMs for specific buyers, advertisers or both.
- A blocking rule that controls general categories.
- An opt-in rule that allows restricted sensitive categories and ad technologies.
- An ad styles & backup ads rule where a text ad style is selected.
What are some of the benefits?
- Maximum yield across multiple participating networks by auctioning off each impression to the highest bidder.
- Ad Exchange uses ad server hierarchies and other dimensions to define pricing segments and configurations within Ad Exchange.
- Ad Exchange only delivers an impression when Ad Exchange has a higher net (taking into account revenue share) yield.
- Prevention of channel conflict through the management of how inventory is presented to advertisers.
- Ad Exchange permits you to offer a piece of inventory at a minimum CPM based on branding type--branded, anonymous or semi-transparent. Minimum CPMs can even be targeted to specific buyers or advertisers.
- Configure category and ad technology blocks for any inventory segment, large or small.
- Choose to opt-in to restricted categories and restricted ad technologies.
- A single payment source. Google collects payments from advertisers and pays the seller. Google may also adjust your earnings if it cannot collect payments from advertisers whose ads were displayed on your Ad Exchange content, including but not limited to sites, mobile apps, etc.
- Run reporting on tag and channel activity as well as find out which rules apply floor prices to winning bids.
Watch this video to learn more about Ad Exchange and its benefits: Ad Exchange Overview: Introduction (2:30)
Watch this video for a behind-the-scenes look at Ad Exchange requests: Ad Exchange Overview: Behind the Scenes (1:36)
Manage your account
Once you have signed into your account, take the time to view your account performance. There are five key areas within Ad Exchange where you can find information about your account. These sections offer a view into your revenue and account performance, link to optimization messages, access to payment information, and control over your account settings.Notifications (located in the main navigation bar)
Notifications (the bell icon) are used to keep you informed about your account. They advise you about optimization tips, policy notifications, and important announcements about your account.
Read about the types of communications you might see in your Ad Exchange account.
The Overview page is the default view of your account which displays basic revenue and performance information. This page also provides easy navigation to the "Payments" section of the Home tab.
The revenue overview section displays a summary of your revenue for the current day, your unpaid revenue, and your most recent payment.
- Estimated revenue: Close estimates of your recent account activity from today, yesterday, this month so far, and last month. However, this revenue isn't finalized until the end of the month and does not necessarily reflect the amount you will ultimately be paid.
- Finalized revenue: Accurate revenue amounts that include all revenue you will be paid for validated clicks and impressions. At the end of each month, finalized revenue are posted to your Payments page and to the "Finalized revenue" section of your Home page, after our revenue records are processed and verified. If you are using AdSense and your AdSense account has the same login as your Ad Exchange account, numbers for AdSense are also included in the finalized revenue.
The performance overview section gives you a summary of your recent performance. You can select different date ranges, if needed.
The Payments page enables you to view your Payment History, Payee Profile and Payment Settings. In order to get paid, you must complete the following steps:
- Check your address in the Payee Profile section: Since payments are sent to the mailing address in your account, it's important to confirm the accuracy of your payment address and payee name. Keep in mind that checks are made out to the payee name exactly as entered in your account.
- Provide your tax information in the Payee Profile section: Depending on your location, we may be required to collect tax-related information from you. If you're required to provide tax information, you can do so in the Payment Profile section, under the Payments tab. Our interface will help guide you to the appropriate forms and requirements for your particular situation.
- Select your payment method in the Payment Settings section: Depending on your payment address, you may select Electronic Funds Transfer. The easiest way to find out your payment options is to visit your Payment settings section, under the Payments tab and click the edit payment method link.
(located in the main navigation bar) Click on your email address and Publisher ID. A pop-down appears with your account information. Your Publisher ID is your unique identifier in the Ad Exchange system.
(located under the Admin tab) To change the account password, update the contact name (payee name), select which contact email to associate to the account, decide on an email preference for system announcements, and determine which language your account should appear in, click Account.
Use the "Account Settings" page to view and manage your Ad Exchange account. You can also view systems that have 3rd-party access to your account, users with sign-in access in your account.
Structure and control your inventory
The Inventory section is a management system made up of dimensions used to create inventory segments: tags and URLs. Your inventory is the basic layer on which all other settings are built upon. Here is where you decide how to best manage your inventory. You have access to create and edit tags, add URLs, and access third party ad server inventory.
Under the Inventory section of DoubleClick Ad Exchange, you are able to:
A tag is a piece of code that you place in the source code of your website or in your ad server. Through Ad Exchange rules, you control what type of buyers, advertisers or ads are eligible to serve through a given tag for a defined floor price. To add and edit a tag:
- Click Inventory. The “Tags” page loads.
To access this feature from DFP instead of Ad Exchange, click Inventory Ad Exchange inventory Tags.
- Click + New tag. The “New tag” prompt window opens.
- Enter a meaningful name that clearly identifies the tag, including ad size and ad location on your site.
For example, “Sundance ROS 300x250” means the inventory available is for an ad size of 300x250 for run-of-site on the Sundance site.
- From the ad code drop-down, select an ad size. The ad code automatically populates when an ad size is selected.
- Click Save. A tag ID (e.g., 835477075) is automatically assigned to the tag. The ad code information is populated after the tag is saved. In this example, the 336x280 Large Rectangle was chosen from the ad code drop-down.
Sample code snippet:
google_ad_client = "TODO";
/* TestTag */
google_ad_slot = "835477075/TESTPS";
google_ad_width = 336;
google_ad_height = 280;
- Copy and paste the generated code into your ad serving system (make sure it complies with the Ad Exchange program policies).
IMPORTANT: Any tag can be any size, tags do not store an associated size. A request can also have no Tag ID (only the publisher code and size.)
If you have a simple site with a URL structure that's unlikely to change, we recommend you use URLs when you segment your inventory. The DFP inventory structure isn't dependent on a string format and an ordered hierarchy, but URL structuring tends to be more rigid.
For example, if you have a website where the URLs are organized by date > section > article name, using URLs means that you can never change the URL formatting from your database, and the ordering must always be fixed. Therefore, using the non-rigid multi-dimensional structure of DFP tags gives you more flexibility.
If there are no effective ways to access the information (for instance, if you use a 3rd party ad server and use sub-syndicates that are separated by distinct, clear URLs), then URLs may work perfectly for you.
- Click Inventory URLs.
If you're accessing this feature from DFP instead of Ad Exchange, select Inventory Ad Exchange inventory URLs.
- Click + New site. The “New site” prompt window opens.
- Enter your web property URL.
- Once you have made your selections, click Save.
From the “URLs” list page, you can delete a site. Click the X to the right of the site. To reactivate the site, click the undo arrow.
www.com.eduin the URL inventory to ensure proper parsing and reporting.
If your Ad Exchange account is connected to your DoubleClick for Publishers account, your DFP inventory is imported directly into DoubleClick Ad Exchange on your behalf. The inventory is updated in real-time from DFP, so if you make a change in DFP, the update instantly appears in Ad Exchange.
- Click Inventory DFP: Networks.
If you're accessing this feature from DFP instead of Ad Exchange, select Inventory Ad Exchange inventory DFP: Networks.
- When you first access "DFP ad units" or "DFP: Placements", you must select a checkbox that grants Ad Exchange permission to access the inventory. When the permissioning message appears, select the checkbox.
- Create a new rule or edit an existing rule.
- Use the targeting selector tool to identify your DFP ad units or placements inventory.
- Construct your rule, as usual.
The "All DFP ad units" and "All DFP placements" columns appear only if you have DFP inventory. In the Rules list page, any existing rules display targeting as "All DFP ad units" or "All DFP placements" in addition to any existing criteria.
All DoubleClick for Publishers inventory shown in the "DFP: Ad units" or "DFP: Placements" pages are read-only, therefore any necessary changes need to be made via DoubleClick for Publishers.
Ad Exchange DOES NOT support custom targeting for third-party ad servers. Instead, custom targeting is defined and managed in DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP). Custom targeting allows publishers to pass arbitrary identifiers in display, mobile, video, and games ad requests. These values can be static or generated dynamically by the third party ad server. Once the custom targeting is created in DFP, those values are made available for inventory targeting within Ad Exchange Rules.
Use cases for ad serving integration
Managing your direct and indirect inventory as a whole is a critical part of a successful sales strategy. Below is a description of ad serving integration into the Inventory Controls system using DFP or third party ad serving.
For all ad servers, all DFP inventory and Ad Exchange tags can be used or updated, as needed. Where applicable, we recommend the use of generic tags. However, generic tags are not always possible.
- Create nested tags to mirror your ad server inventory hierarchy
Nested tags are typically used with ad server macros to invoke the tag within Ad Exchange. Ad server macros are useful for passing important information to the advertiser or third-party ad servers. Learn about how to create a nested tag.
- Use URLs to limit the amount of tags to simplify trafficking efforts in your ad server.
- (Optional) Backup ads and third-party ad serving
If you have an Ad Exchange tag on the page and want to redirect to a third-party ad server for your backup ad, add the "google_alternate_ad_url" parameter to your tag. This parameter redirects the request to the URL you provide when there is no available Ad Exchange bid. Since this parameter is included in the tag, the request can be filled with ad server macros, including the ad size.
Regulate your content through Ad Exchange rules
Rules and how they work
Ad Exchange provides you, the publisher, with various control mechanisms for your inventory. To control your inventory within the Ad Exchange, set specific rules for each unique combination of your inventory.
There are five types of rules you can use to manage your inventory: open-auction pricing rules, blocking rules, opt-in rules, ad style rules, and channels. Learn about buyer and advertiser visibility
When you add a rule, the first step is to select your targeting. In the Inventory tab, you structure and control your inventory which includes working with tags, DFP ad units, DFP placements, URLs, and key/values. These parameters plus geographies and sizes can be used to create any combination of inventory segments within your rules.
For an overview of rules, watch this video: Rules Overview
The first type of rule is an Open auction pricing rule. Within Open Auction Pricing rules, you can set min CPMs for buckets of inventory for specific buyers, advertisers, brands, or for everyone. You also have the choice of setting min CPMs for specific transparency settings such as Branded, Semitransparent and Anonymous. Open Auction min CPMs are net.
Explanation of branding types
Branding enables you to set different min CPMs for your inventory. If you set a branded min CPM, buyers who are placement-targeting your domains or your channels need to bid at least that min CPM to compete in the auction for your inventory. Buyers bidding less than your min CPMs are ineligible to win that impression.
With each type of branding option, we provide buyers with various levels of information.
- Branded: Buyers see the URL and publisher labels.
- Semi-transparent: Semi-transparency is used to pass a limited amount of signals to buyers to avoid channel conflict. Publisher ID is not included in the bid request.
Mobile app inventory always transacts as branded. Semi-transparent is only available for desktop and mobile web.
- Anonymous: Buyers only see an anonymous ID and label.
Pricing and blocking
When you select “Set pricing and blocking for Everyone”, all buyers and advertisers are eligible to bid on ad impressions that are evaluated by your open auction pricing rule. You can set min CPMs for your inventory based on the branding types.
When you select “Set pricing and blocking for specific buyers and/or advertisers”, you can set unique min CPMs against any combination of specific buyer/advertiser/brand. You can block buyers and advertisers from bidding on certain segments of your inventory. To do so, block all branding types and consequently, those buyers/advertisers are also blocked.
The advertiser blocking option allows you to block an entire advertiser regardless of the buyer through which the advertiser is bidding.
To learn more about open auction pricingrules, watch the following video:
DoubleClick Ad Exchange provides a maximum level of control when it comes to filtering and blocking ads. You have two blocking options:
- Allow and block ads at the account level in an Everyone blocking rule
- Allow and block ads at the rule level for specific segments of inventory
Ads blocked in the “Everyone” blocking rule are automatically blocked for all inventory. Rule specific blocks can only be set in addition to the existing “Everyone” level blocks. In sum, anything that is blocked in the “Everyone” block, cannot be unblocked on the specific rule level.
Under the Rules tab, click the Blocking section. “Everyone” blocking rule is where you set account level blocking constraints. You can also set specific blocking rules for segments of your inventory.
The blocking options include:
- General categories
- We recommend that you allow Ad Exchange to serve ads and then check how many impressions / how much revenue is coming through the different categories before you decide on blocking any category.
There is no way to block uncategorized ads.Be mindful that blocking certain categories might impact your revenue. Also, general category blocking is not available in all languages.
- We recommend that you allow Ad Exchange to serve ads and then check how many impressions / how much revenue is coming through the different categories before you decide on blocking any category.
- Sensitive categories
- You can block ads from certain sensitive categories, such as dating or weight loss, from appearing on your pages. Sensitive category blocking is not available in all languages.
- Advertiser URLs
- Ad Exchange provides the functionality to block specific ads from appearing on your pages. There may be situations in which you don't want to display particular advertisements—for example, you may wish to block ads leading to competitors' sites. You can easily block all ads that are linked to your competitor at www.example.com. By entering a top-level domain such as example.com, you'll also block all ads that link to subdirectories below that domain.
- You can separate multiple URLs with commas or hard returns.
- You can block a maximum of 500 URLs.
- Cookies and data uses (non-Google Demand)
You can block non-Google Demand buyers from showing ads based on user interest categories or remarketing, or allow the use of visitation information from your site to help create these interest categories. In the "Cookies and data uses (non-Google Demand)" section, you can allow or block ads that:
- Match cookies for subsequent data-based targeting on same users
- Collect data for subsequent use in targeting or remarketing
- Target consumers based on interest categories
- Target consumers based on remarketing lists
- User-based data (Google Demand sources)
You can choose whether to block Google Demand sources (GDN and DBM) from serving remarketed ads or interest-based ads, or collecting visitation information from your site for the purpose of serving such ads. Please keep in mind that opting out of showing either interest-based or remarketing ads decreases the number of ads eligible to compete to appear on your website, and may result in lower earnings. In the "User-based data (Google Demand sources)" section, you can allow or block:
- Google Demand sources, including GDN and DBM, from showing ads based on user interest categories, and using visitation information from your site to help create these interest categories.
- Google Demand sources, including GDN and DBM, from serving remarketed ads.
- To ensure that you get the highest CPM possible, block as little as possible.
- Blocks set in the Everyone blocking rule are carried over and applied in addition to any specific blocking rules you create.
To learn more about blocking rules, watch the following video: Blocking Rules
There are two controls in Ad Exchange that you must explicitly allow if you’d like them to run on your sites: Ad technologies and certain Sensitive categories. Keep in mind that that information about % Impressions and % Earnings can only be tracked if the category is unblocked.
For ad technologies, you have control over which ones are allowed on your inventory. See buyers' use of technology vendors for more details.
Gambling and Alcohol categories (beta) are only allowed if you select to opt-in for these specific sensitive categories. Contact your Ad Exchange representative with any questions.
Update default opt-ins
- Click Rules > Opt-In.
If you're accessing this feature from DFP instead of Ad Exchange, select Inventory Ad Exchange rules Opt-In.
- On the opt-in list page, locate the “Everything” rule.
- To the far right of the rule, click Edit.
- Click on the categories or technologies tab.
- Locate the item you want to opt in.
- Click allow to add your selections to the “Allow the following" section to the right of the selection area. The "allow" link you clicked turns grey and now reads "allowed". If you decide to remove a selection, click on the X located to the right of your selection.
- Click Save.
To learn more about opt-in rules, watch the following video:
Within the Ad style and back up ads rules, you can define what types of ads you want to serve and what Ad Exchange should do when there is no ad to serve.
For ad types, you can select a combination from the following options:
- Text ads serve in addition to display ads
- ONLY display ads serve, no text ads.
- ONLY text ads serve, no display ads
For ad styles, you can create the “look and feel” of your ads. You can build customized combinations of colors, fonts, and corner styles and apply them to multiple display ad at one time.
For backup ads, if no targeted ads are available for your page, Google shows a transparent space instead of ads. However, you have the option to display a color, image, or HTML page if Google isn't able to show targeted ads.
To set up your ad types, ad styles and backup ads,
- Click on the Rules tab.
- From the sidebar, click Ad styles & backup ads.
If you're accessing this feature from DFP instead of Ad Exchange, select Inventory Ad Exchange rules Ad styles & backup ads.
- Click the appropriate syndication type sub-tab (for example, Display).
- Create a new rule or edit an existing one.
- Configure the targeting of your inventory.
- For ad types, select whether you want to:
- Serve Display & Text ads. We recommend this default option to maximize your revenue.
- Serve only Display ads.
- Serve only Text ads.
- (AdWords ads only) Select to use the default ad style, a predefined ad style, or create a custom ad style.
- Decide how to handle backup ads. Decide what should happen if Ad Exchange does not return an ad (no targeted ads are available to serve), whether to:
- Show blank space
- Show other ads from another URL
- Fill the space with a solid color
- Click Save. Once your rule has been saved, use prioritization to manage how these rules are implemented.
Channels are inventory labels intended to help you more easily report on portions of your inventory.
You design your own channels and use them to view performance of inventory segments in ways that are meaningful to you.
Examples of channel setups:
- Ad sizes and colors
- Location of ads on a page--left side versus right side, embedded in content or above the content
- Page topics--articles about sports versus entertainment
What can you learn from reporting?
- Go to your reporting module.
- Run the "Targeting type" report.
- Look at the amount of placement targeting you have received.
Review ads in Creative review
Creative review is a tool that allows you to review individual ads and choose whether to let them show on your pages. This feature provides:
- Transparency, flexibility, and greater control over the contextually targeted, interest-based and placement-targeted ads that appear on your sites.
- Ability to allow or block ads by ad group, individual ad, advertiser, type, or site.
- Quicker review of ads that have shown, ordered by impression volume.
- Search for similar image ads (offline search)(beta): a publisher can select an ad image from the Creative review user interface and find all other similar ad images.
- Search for a near match for a custom image/logo (online search)(beta): a publisher can upload a target image via the Creative review user interface, e.g., the logo of a competitor, and find all other ads that match the target.
- Ability to review RTB ads.
- Ability to review ads that belong to preferred deals.
- Predictions of ads a publisher may want to block based on blocking history.
Allow or block ads in Creative review
- Locate your ad. If you can’t find your ad, search for specific ads based on ad text, URL, ad type, or ad network.
- Hover over the ad.
- Click Block. The ad’s status changes to “Blocked.” If you want to block a group of ads, you can click and drag a selection box to highlight and block multiple ads.
Learn more about Creative review.
View account activity with Query Tool
The DFP Query tool helps you create robust, customized reports that display information based on filtered data (e.g., metrics and dimensions) and parameters (e.g., date range).
From the query tool, you can:
- View a full year in weekly, quarterly, or monthly breakouts.
- Create and edit queries as needed
- Generate reports from the query results
- Automate report generation (i.e., schedule reports to run on a regular basis)
Learn about the Query Tool.
Best Practices and Tips
- Once you’re up and running, check your account settings for Crawler errors and Rejected ad requests, which can impact fill rate.
- For billing purposes, make sure you’ve set up your direct deposit and tax information. Remember, if your monthly revenue is greater than $100, you are paid on the 22nd of each month.
- Before you get started on the Ad Exchange, please look over our program guidelines to make sure your implementation is within our policies. Information such as expandable ad sizes, Network Partner guidelines, and ad location requirements are listed.
- Prepare a holistic list of users that need access to the Ad Exchange and provide that list to your Google contact early in the process.
- Consider your inventory structure before you start adding tags, URLs, DFP ad units, DFP placements, and custom targeting. Having a clear vision on a sustainable structure will help you get the most of your account.
- When you define your inventory, tags are size agnostic. To avoid redundancy, you can pull ad code for whatever size you need from a single tag.
- Rules can target multiple tags, geos and sizes. Rule-level blocking can be as simple or complex as you define it. Combine inventory that requires the same pricing or blocking into the same rules to minimize your list of rules.
- All Ad technologies are blocked by default. Remember to review the list and allow as many ad technologies as possible. Be sure to review this section periodically to make sure you allow any new ad technologies on the exchange.
- The initial performance on your account can greatly fluctuate as buyer behavior adjusts to your impressions, so be wary of setting floor prices without analyzing the situation. Set low or $0 price floors initially to provide you with a good sense of how your inventory is valued on the Ad Exchange, then you can proceed with more strategized price floors.
- Limit the number of blocks you set on your inventory. When possible, set specific rule level blocks rather than an “Everyone” block to maximize fill rate.
- Both open auction pricing rules and ad style rules are processed in terms of rule priority. Keep your most important rules at the top of the list to ensure they are reviewed first.
- Before you choose to “hold ads for review”, keep in mind that doing so may have a negative revenue impact. Ads that are awaiting review do not compete in the auction on your site, and therefore do not drive up potential earnings on your site. We encourage you to consider the potential revenue impact before choosing to hold ads.
- Did you know that you can find related ads as well as search for ads by image?
- Ads are considered related if they have a similar destination page, or are connected by a similar subject (e.g., a brand, a person, or an object).
- You can find ads that are a visual match for your image, including Flash-based creatives. For example, you could upload a picture of a competitor’s logo and use it to search for image ads containing their logo.
- Book a unique line item and corresponding creative upload in your ad server for every piece of ad code snippet copied from the Ad Exchange user interface.
- Learn about methods to increase traffic.
- Promote your site in any manner that complies with our Ad Exchange policies.
- When you use Ad Exchange in DFP, follow these best practices.
Query Tool reporting
- If you plan to generate reports on a recurring basis, i.e., schedule recurring queries, choose relative dates rather than absolute dates. Absolute date ranges automatically default to allow the reports to run once.
- When you create additional filters in your query, keep in mind that each new filter is ADDED to the previous filter. For example, if Targeting type is selected, you can combine options to only include data that match specific values--e.g., keyword AND placement AND user list.
Congratulations, you've reached the end of our Get started with Ad Exchange checklist! We hope that you've found this helpful.
Remember that you can always revisit the Help center for all of your Ad Exchange questions. For additional assistance, please visit our Ad Exchange Fundamentals training.