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Design and create inventory

Inventory in DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) refers to the spaces on your website or app within which you’ll be displaying ads. Ad units are the primary building blocks for your inventory, representing the main sections of your content. You can then use placements to group ad units together and key-values to provide more targeting granularity within an ad unit.

Define your networks' inventory in the Inventory tab of your DFP account. We'll walk you through how to do that in the following sections. 

Plan your inventory structure

We highly recommend planning your inventory structure before creating ad units, placements or key-values. The inventory you create will define all of the spaces available for ads across your site, so the structure should mirror the organization of your site’s content.

Keep it simple
If you manage more than one property — multiple websites, apps, mobile sites, etc. — you might use top-level ad units for each property. You should only create a unique ad unit for unique URLs or ad slots that you target frequently and that get a significant amount of traffic. For most unique pages, such as articles, use key-values. 

Example inventory structure

Let's say you have a news website with national and local sections. How should you plan your inventory?

  • If you plan on selling to advertisers who want to display on specific local news sections, but not on the national news section, then you might need to create separate ad units for each local section.
  • If you don't plan to sell the local section separately, then you can use one ad unit for both national and local news sections.
  • You might alternately create separate ad units for each local section and then use placements to group those local section ad units into national section placements.

Let's say you also have two 300x250 ad slots on your local news section, one at the top of the page and one at the bottom. How should this affect your inventory planning?

  • There is more than one way to structure your inventory, but you might use different ad units for each slot or you might use key-values to differentiate between the slots.

To summarize, here's an example of how your inventory structure may appear:

Placement: National news
      Ad unit: Local New York news
            Key-value: Position is Leaderboard (pos=leaderboard)
            Key-value: Position is Top Box (pos=atf-box)
            Key-value: Position is Bottom Box (pos=btf-box)

      Ad unit: Local Chicago news
            Key-value: Position is Leaderboard (pos=leaderboard)
            Key-value: Position is Top Box (pos=atf-box)
            Key-value: Position is Bottom Box (pos=btf-box)

      Ad unit: Local San Francisco news
            Key-value: Position is Leaderboard (pos=leaderboard)
            Key-value: Position is Top Box (pos=atf-box)
            Key-value: Position is Bottom Box (pos=btf-box)

In this example:

  • The local news section ad units are the basic building blocks.
  • A national news section placement groups together the local news sections for targeting.
  • Key-values define the individual ad slots within each local news section.

You could now deliver an ad to all of the local new sections by targeting the "National news" placement, to any individual local news section by targeting one or more of the ad units, or to a specific ad slot within any or all of the news sections by targeting the "Position" key-value.

When to use ad units, placements and key-values

Keep in mind that your inventory is a combination of ad units, placements and key-values that enables you to target horizontally across your content. The table below offers examples of how you might use ad units, key-values, and system-defined criteria to meet various requirements.
What you want to do What you should use
Target an ad to specific section of your content. Ad units are primarily used to target sections of your content.
Easily target an ad to all of your sports subsections. Ad units provide "flow-down" targeting which enables this.
Exclude your app inventory from run-of-network ads. You should mark your app inventory as a special ad unit.
Easily target all of your sports, finance, and weather landing pages. You should combine all of your landing pages in a placement.
Target an ad to a specific gender anywhere on your content. Key-values provide horizontal targeting that enables this (e.g., gender=female).
Target an ad to a specific sports team anywhere on your website. Key-values provide horizontal targeting that enables this (e.g. team=yankees).
Target an ad to your visitors that are based in Canada. Geography is a system-defined criterion, which is handled for you behind the scenes.
Target an ad to Android users only. Operating system, including mobile OSes, is a system-defined criterion, which is handled for you behind the scenes.

Create inventory in DFP

Now that you have thought about how to structure your inventory, let’s bring your plan to life.

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