Block competing advertisers from serving together

Competitive advertiser exclusions give you additional control over ad serving for Ad Exchange ads, competing advertisers mapped between Ad Exchange and DFP, and unknown advertisers. You can prevent certain advertisers from serving together on specific ad units or across your entire network.

Publishers sometimes want to block a specific advertiser from buying their inventory across DFP or Ad Exchange because of an agreement with a competing advertiser, or a direct deal. However, you can also use this feature to prevent ads from the same advertiser from serving together on the same page at the same time, or to block ads from unknown (unverified) advertisers from serving.

For competitive exclusions to work across display and video ads, at least one slot must use the CompanionAdsService. See Create companion tags for examples on how to use the CompanionAdsService with display tags.

How competitive advertiser exclusions work

Use competitive advertiser exclusions to create custom groupings of advertisers whose ads can or cannot serve together, and designate the portions of your inventory where they cannot serve. Ads from advertisers within the same group can serve at the same time on the same page; ads from advertisers that are in different groups are blocked from serving together.

For example, say you have an agreement with Advertiser A, and you don’t want to run any ads from its competing advertisers (Advertiser B and Advertiser C). You can create a competitive advertiser exclusion and assign Advertiser A to its own group, and Advertisers B and C to a separate group within the same exclusion. If an ad from Advertiser A serves to an ad unit you designated within the exclusion, ads from Advertisers B and C get blocked from serving at the same time.

DFP competitive advertiser exclusions are applied in Ad Exchange in real time. DFP sends inventory and exclusion information to Ad Exchange, then Ad Exchange chooses one or more ads that satisfy these requirements.


  • Competitive advertiser exclusions don't work with requests that contain GPT passback tags.
  • Forecasting simulations for internal redirects ignore competitive advertiser exclusions, but you can still forecast on other creative types.
  • If you're using DoubleClick tag creatives (internal redirects) to deliver ads from another DFP network, competitive advertiser exclusions are respected for the line item in the original request, but not for the line item in the redirect request.

Ad and advertiser exclusions

  • Competitive ad exclusions: 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. You can apply competitive exclusion labels at the advertiser, order, or line item level; labels are inherited by all of the line items that belong to the order or advertiser.
  • DFP ad exclusions: Use labels to categorize line items to prevent them from delivering in emergency situations. For example, you can use ad exclusion labels to prevent airline ads from being displayed next to news articles about a plane crash. You can apply ad exclusions at the advertiser, order, or line item level; labels are inherited by all of the line items that belong to the order or advertiser. Keep in mind that blocking an advertiser only blocks the advertiser's line items trafficked in DFP, not dynamically allocated impressions from Ad Exchange.
  • Unified advertiser exclusions: Block verified advertisers' ads from your network or from particular ad units, regardless of whether the advertisers have bought the inventory through a reservation buy on DFP, through an exchange buy on Ad Exchange, or through a DoubleClick tag creative that connects to DCM or another DFP network.
When multiple exclusions apply to the same set of inventory, DFP respects the most restrictive exclusion.

See an example

Let’s take a look at the following example with a competitive exclusion label, a competitive advertiser exclusion, and a unified advertiser exclusion.

Let’s say you do the following:

  • Apply a competitive exclusion label called "Drinks" on three beverage advertisers: FizzyPop, YumCola, and SportsFuel.
  • Create a competitive advertiser exclusion with FizzyPop in one group, and YumCola/SportsFuel in another group.
  • Create a unified advertiser exclusion to block FizzyPop.

If you traffic three orders, one for each advertiser, and target a line item within each order to the same inventory, the following would happen:

  • Since the unified advertiser exclusion blocked FizzyPop, you wouldn't see FizzyPop on the page.
  • Although the competitive advertiser exclusion grouped YumCola and SportsFuel together, the “Drinks” label was more restrictive.
  • Since the “Drinks” label restricted all three advertisers from serving together, YumCola and SportsFuel cannot serve together.
  • You would only see a YumCola or SportsFuel line item.

Competitive advertiser exclusions are just one more option for controlling your inventory, similar to competitive ad exclusions, but using the same technology as unified advertiser exclusions and compatible with Ad Exchange.

Use competitive advertiser exclusions if you want to block ads from specific advertisers from serving together, and labels or unified advertiser exclusions to block specific ads or advertisers from serving entirely.

Set up competitive advertiser exclusions

  1. Sign in to DoubleClick for Publishers.
  2. Click Inventory and then Competitive exclusions and then New competitive exclusion.
  3. Enter a name for the exclusion.
  4. (Optional) Change the status to Inactive if you want to save the exclusion for later use.

    If you activate or deactivate an exclusion, it can take about 30 minutes for the change to have an impact on ad serving.

  5. Select ad units and placements for the advertiser exclusion. Browse or search and click Include for the appropriate inventory.

    A competitive advertiser exclusion also applies to child ad units, even if you’ve explicitly targeted them.

  6. In the “Block list” section, begin selecting the advertisers you want to use in your competitive exclusion.

    Ads from advertisers within the same group can serve at the same time; ads from advertisers in different groups are blocked from serving together. Therefore, you must create at least two separate advertiser groups to take advantage of competitive advertiser exclusions.

    1. Start typing the name of an advertiser in the first “Add advertiser” box.
    2. As you type, pop-up text appears displaying the names of advertisers that match your query and a brief description of each. Click the advertiser’s name to add it to a group. You can also click the “X” next to an advertiser name to remove it from a group.
    3. (Optional) Click the Unknown advertisers check box to block ads from unknown advertisers from serving alongside those of advertisers that are part of this group. In DFP, "unknown advertisers" apply to all ads that have not been mapped to a verified advertiser. In Ad Exchange, this applies to advertisers that Ad Exchange cannot detect.
    4. Repeat the process to add other advertisers to the same group, or search for other advertisers and add them to the second group.
    5. (Optional) Click Add another group to create additional competing advertiser groups. You can add as many groups as you want.
    Blocking behavior takes precedence. For example, if you put Advertisers A and B in the same group but also added Advertiser B to a different group in the same exclusion, ads from Advertiser B are blocked from appearing together with Advertiser A for the specified inventory.
  7. Click Save.
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