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Create an ad unit

Introduction to ad units (1:57)

Create an ad unit (5:58)

In DFP, the ad unit is the basic unit of inventory. This article covers how to:

Inventory forecasts for new ad units
New ad units must received traffic on your site for at least 28 days before inventory forecasts are optimized.

Create a single ad unit

  1. In the "Ad units" section of the Inventory tab, click New ad unit.
  2. Enter a Code, which is used to identify the ad unit in the associated ad tag. Once created, the ad unit code cannot be edited so define a code that is easy to identify. For example, News_International_BoxATF or Leaderboard_BTF.

    Ad unit codes can be up to 100 characters in length and are not case-sensitive.

    Only letters, numbers, underscores, hyphens, periods, asterisks, forward slashes, backslashes, exclamations, left angle brackets, right angle brackets, colons and parentheses are allowed.

    For a given ad unit level, each code must be unique; you can't reuse codes you've used before on the same ad unit level. You can reuse codes if they occur on a different ad unit hierarchy. For example, you can reuse home if it occurs in a different path of the hierarchy, such as mysite/economy/home and mysite/weather/home

  3. Enter a Name for the ad unit, used in targeting and reports. You can change the name at any time. As with the code, publishers typically use naming conventions that give information about the ad unit's location.
  4. Enter a description for the ad unit, if needed, up to 4,000 characters in length.
  5. Set the Sizes to be associated with this ad unit to help DFP filter the list of ad units for traffickers. This list is optional and will not affect ad serving.
    • Select Fixed size to define a list of sizes for creatives you expect this ad unit to serve. Include the Out-of-page size for creatives that don’t fit in a traditional banner space or browser window, including pop-ups, floating line items, and interstitials.
    • Select Smart Banner if the ad unit is for a mobile app and you want the ad unit to have a fixed height but fill the width of the screen. Learn more
    To add a new ad unit size to your network, simply create a new ad unit and give it the new size, or set the new size for an existing ad unit.
  6. Define a target window, which sets the target attribute of the ad's click-through link to tell the browser where to open the ad's landing page.
    • _top: The landing page will load in the full body of the window, breaking out of any framesets.
    • _blank: The landing page will open in a new, unnamed window.
    This selection follows the default target window set in the "Network settings" section of the Inventory tab. If the ad unit is in an app, the target window is ignored. For Android and iOS apps, ads load in a new, unnamed browser window.
  7. Add optional features and settings to the ad unit as needed.
    • Placements: Click include next to one or more placement names to associate your new ad unit.

    • Special ad unit: Requires traffickers to explicitly target the ad unit in order for line items to serve. Learn more

    • Ad unit frequency caps: Click Add a labeling rule to limit the number of impressions displayed to users for creatives that share the defined labels. Learn more

    • Refresh rate: For mobile app inventory, set a refresh rate to determine how often a new ad impression is generated. If you select Refresh rate in seconds, DFP will auto-populate a value of 60, which you can change to 30 - 120 seconds. Learn more

    • Labels: Add labels to the ad unit so that creative wrappers can be applied when creatives are served to the ad unit. Learn more 

    • Teams: If your network uses Teams, associate this ad unit to restrict access.
  8. Click Save.

Use ad units suggested from your tags

This feature is not intended to be the primary method by which ad units are created.

If you wish to regularly create new ad units from what is defined in your tags, we recommend using the DFP API to create ad units with the standard InventoryService methods.

Suggested ad units (3:49)

If the ad server receives at least 10 requests for an undefined ad unit within a seven-day period, DoubleClick for Publishers will suggest that you define it on the Inventory tab.

To approve a suggested ad unit:

  1. In the Inventory tab, click Suggested ad units in the "Ad units" section of the side menu.
  2. Filter the list of suggested ad units by number of requests or by name, using the search box. Only the 1,000 most requested suggested ad units are available in the user interface.​
  3. Click the checkbox next to one or more suggested ad units you want to create in DFP.
  4. Click Approve.

About suggested ad units

You might want to add a new ad unit to an ad tag before defining it in DoubleClick for Publishers if you want to accrue seven day's worth of impressions and run forecasts for it before traffickers can start targeting line items to it.

The list of suggested ad units is updated once a day, so when you include an ad unit in an ad tag, it will show up on the list of suggested ad units no more than 24 hours later. Suggested ad units will remain on the list as long as there have been more than 10 impressions in the past seven days. The number of impression requests in the past seven days is shown in the "Requests" column of the "Suggested ad units" page.

Only ad units that you approve will be added to the Inventory tab. You can ignore a suggestion if, for example, the ad unit was included in the ad tag by mistake because of a typo. Once you approve the auto-suggested ad unit, traffickers will be able to target line items specifically to it.

You can only approve suggested ad units; you cannot delete or archive them.

Line item selection for suggested ad units

If you have already defined a first-level ad unit on the Inventory tab and you add a second-level ad unit to the tag before you approve it, line items targeted to the first-level ad unit and run-of-network line items will be served to the unapproved ad unit. If you add a brand new first-level ad unit to an ad tag, run-of-network ads will serve to it.

For the target window (for example, _blank, which opens in a new window or tab), suggested ad units use the same target as the parent ad unit. First-level ad units inherit the target window from the network settings on the Inventory tab.

To approve ad units suggested by DoubleClick for Publishers:

  1. Click the Inventory tab.
  2. Click Suggested ad units on the left-hand panel.
  3. Select the ad units you want to approve.
  4. Click Approve.
Please carefully review all suggested ad units in case the suggestions were created from misspellings or typos of existing ad units.

Report on suggested ad units

Suggested ad units don't show up in reports until you approve them. Instead, their impressions will be counted in with the ad unit above them. Impressions for top-level ad units are included in the network level and attributed to the default ad unit.

Create multiple ad units from a spreadsheet

You can create multiple ad units at one time by uploading a CSV file into DoubleClick for Publishers. If you need to update existing ad units or create more than 1,000 ad units at one time, use the DFP API.

  1. In the "Ad units" section of the Inventory tab, click Bulk upload new ad units.
  2. Click Download sample CSV file to download a file that you can use to define your ad units. Open the CSV file and make changes based on the examples and the descriptions in the tables below. When you're done, save the CSV file using your file editor.
    The sample CSV file contains fields and examples relevant to your network. Don't change the column order or the column headings. Any rows that begin with the pound (#) character are ignored when you upload the file.

    Remove semicolon (;) from your file editor's list of delimiter or separator characters to ensure the sample file renders columns and values correctly.

  3. Click Choose File to find the CSV file you saved in step 2.
  4. Click Upload and validate to verify that the ad unit settings are correct. If you identify an issue with any of the ad units defined in your CSV file, click Back to re-upload a corrected CSV file.
  5. Click Confirm upload to create all of the ad units from your CSV file.

Columns in the sample CSV file

As of April 2016, "Target platform" and "Mobile platform" are deprecated as inventory settings and no longer available as bulk upload criteria. Do not include these columns in your bulk upload files.

The values for each column must follow the same formatting rules as when you create a single ad unit. Refer to the Create an ad unit article the definitions of each ad unit setting.

Column Description

The ad unit code, used in the tags. Only letters, numbers, underscores, hyphens, periods, asterisks, forward slashes, backslashes, exclamations, left angle brackets, colons and parentheses are allowed. Maximum length: 100 characters.

Top-level ad unit: For a top-level ad unit, use the code name.
Example: News_International_BoxATF

Hierarchical ad unit: For ad units that are part of an inventory hierarchy, the full path of the ad unit is required.
Example: NewsApp/Sports/Cricket_320x50


Ad unit name.

Example: International News Section (Box Above the Fold)


List of ad unit sizes, in pixels, entered in WIDTHxHEIGHT format, separated by semicolon. For "Out-of-page," use out-of-page. Other acceptable values include fluid and custom rendering.

Use a standard AdSense ad unit size to enable an ad unit for AdSense. Otherwise, any size is acceptable.

Example: 728x90;300x250;out-of-page

Description Free-form ad unit description. Maximum length: 4,000 characters.

List of placement names to be associated with this an ad unit, separated by semicolon. If a placement name does not currently exist in your network, DFP will automatically create a new placement and associate your ad unit.

Example: My first placement;All news pages

Target window

The target window setting for an ad unit. Acceptable values include: _top or _blank. If not defined, the value defaults to your network's default AdSense inventory settings.

Example: _blank


List of label IDs to be associated with this an ad unit, separated by semicolon.

Example: 14225;54848;55658


If your network uses Teams, list Team IDs to be associated with this an ad unit, separated by semicolon.

Example: 45792;84645

Special ad unit
If the ad unit should be marked as a special ad unit, enter Yes; otherwise, No.

Download a list of all ad units

To download a list of your network's ad units, click Download ad units in the "Ad units" section of the Inventory tab.

The downloaded spreadsheet can contain up to 20,000 ad units. If your network's count of ad units exceeds this limit, the downloaded file will contain as many as possible, but not a full list of your network's ad units.
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