Special ad units

Require ad units to be explicitly targeted

Let's say that you have an ad unit that is expensive, sensitive, or strategic, and you don’t want traffickers to accidentally target them. For example, you may want to prevent a run-of-network remnant line item from appearing on your homepage. How do you make sure the ad unit is specially treated? You can mark it as special.

If you designate an ad unit as special, a trafficker must explicitly target it, even if it’s hierarchically below the inventory that’s been targeted. No line item will serve to a special ad unit unless that ad unit has been explicitly targeted.

When you check available inventory for a line item, DFP currently allocates impressions to special ad units in the forecast, even if the trafficker has not explicitly targeted them. In a future release, we’ll update the forecasting numbers to only include special ad units that have been explicitly targeted.

If you mark an ad unit that has line items delivering to it as special, any line items that aren’t explicitly targeting it will stop delivering to it. If you exclude an ad unit, everything within and beneath it will be excluded regardless of whether it's special.

Special ad units are marked with an asterisk (*) in DFP, and you can designate an ad unit as 'special' on the ad unit's settings page (learn more).

You can add special ad units to placements for reporting purposes only. If you add a special ad unit to one or more placements, line items targeted to that placement will not serve to the special ad unit unless it's explicitly targeted. Additionally, any child ad units of the special add unit need to be explicitly targeted as well, even if the child ad units aren't special ad units.

When you create child ad units under a special parent ad unit, the children aren't marked as special by default. If you want one or more of the children to be special, you must mark them as such. For example, let's assume the following hierarchy, where special ad units are marked with an asterisk (*):

Sports* > Football > Positions > Quarterback*

The Sports and Quarterback ad units were specifically marked as special, but Football and Positions were not.

What this means is:

  1. If you configure the line item to be run-of-network, Sports and its children won't be eligible to serve, since Sports is a special ad unit.
  2. If you target Sports, then Football and Positions are targeted but Quarterback is not.
  3. If you target Football, then Positions is targeted but Quarterback is not.