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The network setup process

Stages of setting up a new DFP network, from planning to going live

Below you'll find the steps in the process and an estimate of how long they'll take. Keep in mind that these are estimates only. The major phases are meant to be sequential, meaning that you finish each one before moving on to the next.

DFP Network setup process overview


This phase happens before your network is created.

  1. Review this article and the others in the "Set up a new network" guide.

  2. Plan out your milestones and timelines based on the estimates below and your own business needs.

  3. Make sure the right people have the time to do their parts. Typically, you'll want project management, ad operations, sales, and web development teams to participate. You might also want input from your finance, business intelligence, and inventory management teams. Each business is unique, and you know best who should be involved.

  4. Read through the testing recommendations and set up a testing environment if possible. That way, you can minimize risks to your production environment.

Network creation (0 to 1 days)

Who: Google

Google provides a new DoubleClick for Publisher network to a top-level administrator from your organization. Make sure to let your DoubleClick representative know who this person is.

Product education (1 to 4 days)

Who: Ad operations and technical leads

Once you have access to your new DoubleClick for Publishers network, you can access DFP product training. We recommend that your ad operations teams and technical leads use online training resources to develop a thorough understanding of DFP.

Requirements gathering (2 days to 3+ weeks)

In this phase, you'll gather both your business and your technical requirements and develop your network design. You may find that it's best to work on all three parts at the same time, letting the information from each part inform your work in the other areas.

Business requirements

Who: Technical leads and sales leads

This is your opportunity to decide what features and use cases your business needs from DFP.

  1. Review the network design guide, sent to you by your DoubleClick representative.

  2. Review your organization's targeting, trafficking, sales, forecasting, and reporting needs.

  3. Compile a list of both commonly sold ad products and edge cases. You'll use the list to validate your network design, develop functional requirements, and create a testing plan.

  4. Explore the DFP help center (you're doing that now!) to learn more about features and functions that are of interest, such as conversion tracking or troubleshooting tools. The help center is your primary source of product information and troubleshooting advice; you can access it directly at or by clicking Help from within DFP.

Technical requirements

Who: Technical leads, developers, and business intelligence

  1. Learn about the Google Publisher Tag and decide which GPT mode to use.

  2. Review SDK integrations and additional tagging considerations for mobile and video. You can use the Google Mobile Ads SDK (Android and iOS only) to deliver directly sold ads into applications. The Google IMA SDK is needed for some video formats.

  3. Review DoubleClick for Publishers API integrations with your order management system, billing integration, invoicing, or any custom APIs you use, based on any requirements you have that DFP can't handle through its user interface.

  4. Review any third-party applications that will connect with DFP.

  5. Learn about Data Transfer reports. If you plan to use them, review your technical requirements.

  6. Learn about creative templates to see whether the system-defined templates will meet your needs, or whether you'll need to create custom templates that use your specific code modifications.

Network design

Who: Technical leads, developers, and business intelligence

  1. Create a network design. The goal is to ensure that every sales scenario, targeting profile, and reporting requirement can be met through the structure you use for your ad units, ad unit hierarchy, key-values, and placements. A complete network design will include your ad unit hierarchy and key-values.

  2. Validate your network design by testing it against the targeting and reporting requirements you reviewed in your business requirements. Simulate the targeting for every sales scenario to verify that your design can handle your targeting and reporting needs and that your content management system can place the needed ad units and key-values on your content when they're needed.

Test and launch planning (2 days to 2+ weeks)

Who: Technical leads and project management

  1. Develop a thorough test plan to ensure that your technical and business requirements are met and validated. If necessary, build and configure a testing environment.

  2. Develop a launch plan to transition your site to DFP tags. Decide whether you'll switch to DFP's forecasting immediately, which means using DFP for 28 days before forecasting has a complete data set, or whether to pre-tag your site to build forecasts before you launch.

Configure and build your DFP network and API integrations (2 days to 2 weeks)

Who: Ad operations, developers

  1. Create the core elements of your DFP network:

    • Teams and roles

    • Users

    • Companies

    • Ad units and placements

  2. As necessary, create additional elements:

  3. Configure your content management system and your content to use Google Publisher Tags. You can use sample Google Publisher Tags to get started.

  4. If needed, develop and test API utilities or API-integrated third-party software.

Testing (2 to 4 weeks)

Who: All teams

Run tests based on the testing plan you developed.

Tag and ad delivery unit testing

  1. Test Google Publisher Tags on your sites with each layout and page template.

  2. Test the delivery of house ads or test campaigns for all page and app types, ad units, and line item types.

  3. Learn to use the Google Publisher Console to troubleshoot delivery problems and gain an understanding of ad delivery patterns.

Systems and user acceptance testing (UAT)

  1. Test your end-to-end workflow with campaigns, using your test environment if that makes the most sense. Make sure that creatives, including custom templates, render correctly, that your sales lifecycle works the way it should, and that reports are providing the data you expect.

  2. Validate API integrations.

User and operational training (1 week)

Who: Ad operations

  1. Train ad operations on DFP. You can use the product training resources and tailor your training efforts based on your specific trafficking usage patterns.

  2. Set up the standard query tool reports that you will need most often.

  3. Train your business teams on the new workflow.

Campaign setup and migration (2 days to 2 weeks)

Who: Ad operations

  1. Identify campaigns that bridge your DFP launch date. Adjust delivery goals as needed in your current ad delivery system.

  2. Create new campaigns in DFP. For campaigns that bridge the launch date, make sure that the new DFP replacement is adjusted for the partial run that will be handled by DFP.

Go live

Who: All teams

  1. Switch your live content to Google Publisher Tags. If you have a test environment, you can migrate your tags from there to your live environment.

  2. Test to ensure that everything is working correctly.

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