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Apply and implement labels

Use labels to prevent competing ads on a page

You can use labels to exclude competitors' line items from showing on the same page at the same time. For example, you could categorize line items as "auto" and prevent two different car companies from showing line items together.

About competitive exclusions

Sometimes advertisers ask publishers to prevent their line items from being served on the same page in a single session along with the line items of their competitors. For example, an airline advertiser might request that you not serve their line items together with other airline advertisers.

You can prevent the line items of competitors from serving together by applying competitive exclusion labels to advertisers, orders, or line items. Labels applied to advertisers and orders are automatically applied to their line items. The labels categorize the advertisers, orders, and line items.


One of your advertisers, Comfort Airlines, doesn’t want its ads to be delivered with ads of other airlines on the same web page at the same time. So in DoubleClick for Publishers, you create the label ‘Airlines’ and apply it to all of your airline advertisers. When a user loads your web page and a line item from Comfort Airlines delivers to an ad tag on that page, the ad server, knowing that it can’t serve another line item labeled "Airlines" during that same page load, will skip all other line items labeled "Airlines" and instead will only consider other eligible line items that aren’t labeled ‘Airlines’. These other line items could have a different label (for instance, ‘Autos’) or no label at all.


You can only apply labels to advertisers, house advertisers, and ad networks. You can’t apply labels to agencies or house agencies.

Competitive exclusion labels don't apply to AdSense or Ad Exchange line items.
When you apply a label to an advertiser, by default you're preventing multiple line items from the same advertiser from appearing on the page. You can make an exception and allow multiple line items from the same advertiser to deliver to the same page and to the same user. See the step-by-step procedure below to learn how.


  • Competitive exclusion labels depend on DoubleClick cookies. If a user's DoubleClick cookie changes within a page load, the label doesn't apply. Further, in the rare event that two ad requests on a page are sent to different data centers, competitive exclusion labels may not be respected. Consequently, a small proportion of users may see ads that do not respect these labels. Such issues are more likely in the case of non-standard implementations of DFP, such as server-side implementations.
  • You don't need to use competitive ad exclusion labels for all of your advertisers, just those who have expressed concern about showing up next to their competitors.
  • Since you're telling the ad server not to serve more than one line item from a given label to a page, competitive ad exclusion labels may limit the number of impressions that are available for a given line item. Forecasting takes this into consideration, so while the amount of impressions will be limited, forecasts will still be accurate. You can increase the amount of available inventory by targeting the line items to a wider audience, for example.
  • Using labels will not stop roadblocks from serving as expected. If you apply a label to an advertiser, order, or line item, and if you have set up that line item as a roadblock, multiple creatives will still serve together on the same page. Learn more about roadblocking

Create and apply labels to exclude competing ads

To prevent labeled line items from delivering together:

  1. Create a label.
    1. On the Admin tab, click Labels.
    2. Click New label.
    3. Enter a name for the label. The name can have up to 127 characters.
    4. (Optional) Add a description of the label.
    5. Click Save.
  2. Apply the label to companies, orders, or line items.

    1. In the Admin tab, click Companies.
    2. Select a company. You can apply labels to advertisers, house advertisers, and ad networks, but not to agencies or house agencies
    3. Click the Labels box and select a label. Repeat to add more labels.
    4. Click Save.
    1. On the Order page, click edit in the Labels field.
    2. Click the Labels box.
    3. Select a label. Repeat to add more labels.
    4. Click Save.
    Line items
    1. In the line item's Settings tab, click the Labels box.
    2. Select a label. Repeat to add more labels.
    3. Click Save.
    Labels are inherited. This means that if you apply a label to an advertiser, it will be applied to the advertiser's orders and line items automatically. If you apply a label to an order, it will be applied to the order's line items automatically. Inherited labels are marked with a special icon (shared label icon). You can remove them from an object just as you would any other label. When you remove an inherited label, it's shown as crossed out, and you'll be given the option to restore it. Inheritance works from companies to orders to line items.
  3. (Optional) If you want to allow line items from the same advertiser to serve, then on the "Settings" tab of every line item for which you want to make the exception, select Allow same advertiser exception.

Disable labels to stop competitive exclusions

If you want to stop a label from working, there's no need to remove it from all line items, orders, or advertisers. Instead, you can disable it.

  1. In the Admin tab, navigate to All labels in the "Inventory" section of the side menu.
  2. Click the name of the label you want to disable.
  3. Click the pencil icon Edit next to "Status" and choose Inactive.

Re-enable the label by clicking into it again and choosing Active.

Remove labels from specific items

To remove a label, go to the advertiser, order, or line item and click the X on the label.

Removing inherited labels

If a label that was inherited from an advertiser doesn't apply to a particular order or line item, you can remove the label. When you remove a label from an advertiser, it will also be removed from all of the advertiser's orders and line items. Likewise, when you remove a label from an order, it will also be removed from all of the order's line items.

You can ensure that a label will always be assigned to an order or line item by adding the label specifically to that order or line item instead of relying on the label being automatically inherited.

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