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.

To decide how to break out your inventory, try to analyze your inventory in terms of different properties or sites, content categories, and page locations (ATF, BTF) against how you want to price them on the exchange.

Watch related Publisher University training

Open Auction Pricing

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.

If you're accessing this feature from Ad Exchange instead of DFP, select Rules and then Open auction pricing and then New rule.

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.
We recommend that you enable both Branded and Anonymous with no minimum CPMs. Setting high minimum CPMs can hurt your fill rate and is not recommended upon initial setup. Also, you cannot be both Branded and Semitransparent at the same time. Any other branding combination is supported.

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.

Be mindful that blocking certain buyers might cause a decrease in revenue.

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: Open Auction Pricing Rules


DFP 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.

Set blocking rules

Under Inventory and then Ad Exchange rules, 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.

To access this feature from Ad Exchange instead of DFP, select Rules and then Blocking.

The blocking options include:

  • General categories
    • We recommend that you allow DFP 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.
  • 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 By entering a top-level domain such as, 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:
  • 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.
Some general guidelines and best practices for your blocking activity:
  • 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.

Any new ad technologies or sensitive categories are blocked by default. You need to manually opt-in any new technologies/categories if you want them to be allowed. 

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

  1. In DFP, click Inventory and then Ad Exchange rules and then Opt-In.
    If you're accessing this feature from Ad Exchange instead of DFP, click Rules and then Opt-In. You can also click the Opt-In link on the "Policies" page.
  2. On the opt-in list page, locate the “Everything” rule.
  3. To the far right of the rule, click Edit.
  4. Click on the categories or technologies tab.
  5. Locate the item you want to opt in.
  6. 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.
  7. Click Save.
Since prioritization does not apply to Opt in rules, when opt in rules overlap targeting the same inventory, all of the rules apply.

To learn more about opt-in rules, watch the following video:

DoubleClick Ad Exchange: Opt-in Rules

Ad style and backup ads

Within the Ad style and backup 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 
To increase the number of buyers eligible to bid on your inventory, you should include both text and display ads. Excluding one or the other may impact your revenue. 

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. 

If you use Ad Exchange in conjunction with DFP Premium or DFP Small Business, we recommend that you set this section to Show blank space. DFP’s logic ensures that if Ad Exchange returns a blank ad to DFP, DFP selects another line item to serve.

To set up your ad types, ad styles and backup ads,

  1. Sign in to DoubleClick for Publishers.
  2. Click Inventory and then Ad Exchange rules and then Ad styles & backup ads.
    If you're accessing this feature from Ad Exchange instead of DFP, select Rules and then Ad styles & backup ads.
  3. Click the appropriate syndication type sub-tab (for example, Display).
  4. Create a new rule or edit an existing one.
  5. Configure the targeting of your inventory.
  6. 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.
  7. (AdWords ads only) Select to use the default ad style, a predefined ad style, or create a custom ad style.
  8. 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
  9. 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?

  1. Go to your reporting module.
  2. Run the "Targeting type" report.
  3. Look at the amount of placement targeting you have received.
Next step: Review ads and decide whether or not to display them
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