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Non-delivery causes in DFP

Find out why your line item didn't deliver
This article is specific to DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP)
Some of the content might not apply to ad delivery for other Google products.

The "Non-delivery causes" tool explains why a line item that was eligible for an ad request didn’t deliver. Understanding why a line item hasn’t been delivering can help you troubleshoot unexpected behavior, and assure you that you line items are behaving as intended. Some reasons for non-delivery are valid and don’t require action, while others may require changes.

For example:

  • Line items with higher priority correctly took priority and delivered.
  • Line item is on or ahead of schedule, which is perhaps positive news.
  • Roadblock settings prevented delivery, which require you update delivery settings to improve delivery.

Help me troubleshoot delivery

See why your line item didn’t deliver

You can also see non-delivery causes when you export the line item data. Make sure to filter to a small number of line items, or the export may time out.
  1. Sign in to DoubleClick for Publishers.
  2. Click Delivery and then Line items.
  3. Use filters to find and select the line item that isn't delivering.
  4. Select the line item's Troubleshoot tab.
    • Reasons for non-delivery are displayed in a pie chart. See below to learn about non-delivery causes.
    • Click See delivered line items for details about winning line items (not available for every non-delivery cause).
    • Above the pie chart is an estimate of the number of ad requests where this line item was eligible but not selected to serve, rounded to two significant digits.
    • Above the ad requests estimate, click Launch ad slot troubleshooting to learn why certain ads delivered and not others, which line items would deliver if you were to request the ad slot again, and more.

Details about non-delivery causes

Click the links below for more detail about each cause, along with a possible action to take.

Backfill lost in dynamic allocation to a DFP line item

DFP can increase your revenue with dynamic allocation — by selectively giving buyers access to valuable inventory when it won’t impact the likelihood of a campaign completing. This non-delivery cause means that an Ad Exchange, AdSense, or AdMob ad lost to a DFP line item. This could be because an ad was not returned, or because the DFP line item had a higher CPM.

Action: Likely none; this is expected behavior.

Buyer did respond with a publisher-blocked creative (Creative review)

The creative was blocked by the publisher in Creative review.

Action: Please check Creative review if you believe the creative was blocked in error.

Content monetized with programmatic deals must be compliant with site content policies

The content must adhere to these program guidelines before it can serve.

Action: Please remove all content violating these guidelines from this deal.

Delivery rate reduced to better match expected pacing

For networks with traffic shaping enabled, the line item may not have delivered as part of the process to deliver impressions smoothly relative to the natural traffic fluctuations on your site.

Action: Likely none; traffic shaping is working as expected.

DFP programmatic requires video ad calls to use an SDK

DFP programmatic does not currently support SDK-less video requests.

Action: Make sure all video requests are using the IMA SDK. Learn more.

Did not serve due to exclusion labels or same creative exclusion

Non-delivery can be a result of a few things:

  1. It’s often due to a correctly functioning competitive exclusion.
  2. It can also indicate an error in relative priority between two line items.
  3. It might mean that your webpage calls two line items on the same page in an unintended order, causing the delivery of a lower priority line item before the higher priority line item can compete.

Action: These actions align with the numbers above:

  1. If the competitive exclusion is too strict and you want the line item to deliver more, consider relaxing the competitive exclusion settings.
  2. Review the priority of the two line items.
  3. Change the order of requests on your webpage, or use Google Publisher Tags with a single-request architecture callout.
Due to optimization, lost in competition to another line item

DFP optimizes delivery for several factors. For example, using click-through rate (CTR) optimization, DFP may select a lower-priority line item over a higher-priority line item because of projected click performance. These optimizations are performed within the context of your campaign completion objectives.

Action: Likely none; optimization is working as intended.

External buyer did not respond

This non-delivery cause is typically associated with DFP programmatic deals. There are several reasons this can appear, including:

  • The buyer is not interested in this inventory.
  • The buyer has paused the creative.
  • The creative is currently pending approval.

Action: In most cases, no action is required. In cases where a deal is underdelivering, please reach out the programmatic buyer to understand their low response rate.

Frequency cap reached, or user missing identifiers needed for frequency capping

User-level frequency caps are a common reason for a line item to be correctly excluded from competing for a request. This non-delivery cause means that a frequency cap on the number of times the creative can be used has been reached.

Action: Please check the frequency caps set for this line item and make sure that they’re not overly restrictive.

Limited by max number of ads allowed per page

Restrictions on the number of times a creative can serve to a page imposed by “Display creatives” settings will cause the same creative to not win subsequent requests.

Action: Relax restrictions as needed to improve line item delivery.

Line item is on or ahead of schedule

To get as many of your campaigns as possible to complete, DFP spreads impressions to other campaigns when the line item is on or ahead of the schedule to meet its target.

Action: Likely none; the ad server considers this campaign to be on track to reach its targets.

Lost in competition to line items of higher priority

A higher priority line item won in competition.

Action: Likely none; this is expected behavior.

Lost in competition to line items of similar priority

When two line items are of similar priority, selection is based on likelihood of completion. This non-delivery cause typically means that the line item is operating as expected. You may find that a line item loses more often to line items of the same priority than to line items of a higher priority. This does not necessarily indicate a problem. It likely means that you have many line items of the same priority competing for an ad unit and few line items of a higher priority.

Action: Use DFP forecasting to check the available inventory and, depending on the numbers, consider updating the line item settings. You might want to expand the targeting, relax frequency caps, prolong the line item’s runtime, etc.

Lost in direct competition to remnant line item with higher CPM

Remnant line items competing based on CPM are expected to lose to line items of higher CPM. Behavior is as expected.

Action: If the result is unexpected, review the CPMs you have set for your remnant inventory.

Lost in dynamic allocation to a remnant line item

DFP can increase your revenue with dynamic allocation — by selectively giving buyers access to valuable inventory when it won’t impact the likelihood of a campaign completing. This non-delivery cause means that the line item was selected as the winner among reservation line item candidates, but ultimately lost to a remnant line item with a higher CPM.

Action: Likely none; this is expected behavior.

Lost in dynamic allocation to backfill

DFP can increase your revenue with dynamic allocation — by selectively giving buyers access to valuable inventory when it won’t impact the likelihood of a campaign completing. This non-delivery cause means that the line item was selected as the winner among reservation line item candidates, but ultimately lost to an Ad Exchange, AdSense, or AdMob ad with a higher CPM.

Action: Likely none; this is expected behavior.

Lost to DFP First Look

Line item lost because DFP First Look opened up inventory to selected buyers in Ad Exchange.

Action: Change First Look pricing rules as needed.

Next creative in rotation not available

Sequential rotation stops working correctly if any creative set to rotate can’t serve to the impression. When the next creative in the sequence is unable to fill an ad slot, the line item stops serving until the next time period begins.

Action: See some of the more common issues related to creative rotation.

No creative returned

DFP called out to another ad server to fetch the creative and didn’t get a response. The ad server could be DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM) or a third-party network.

Action: Check that the creative information in DFP and the ad server is correct and consistent.

Other

Includes all ad requests filled by demand sources that are not among the top five. This can include ad requests from other line items, Ad Exchange, etc.

Action: Likely none; a large "Other" section is expected when you have a big network with many competing line items. You can use the Ad request simulator (for desktop, mobile web, app, or video) to see all the line items competing for an ad request.

Roadblocking prevented delivery

Roadblocks are a common reason for non-delivery but are difficult to diagnose. Your property calls two line items in an unintended order, causing a lower-priority line item to be selected before the roadblock can compete. Without access to both ad units, the roadblock line item can’t bid on one ad unit.

Action: Consider changing the order of requests on your page, or using Google Publisher Tags with a single-request architecture callout.

URL is not allowed to transact with DFP programmatic

You haven’t classified the domains used in this line item in your Network Partner Management (NPM) settings, or Google’s content policies don’t allow the URLs this line item is sending.

Action:

Video ads must be skippable after 5 seconds

Video ads must be skippable after 5 seconds, or the creative will be rejected. In this case, the creative was not skippable after the first 5 seconds of play. Learn more.

Action: Please contact your buyer to update their video creative to be skippable after 5 seconds.

Why the non-delivery chart is empty

There might be no data in the "Non-delivery causes" chart because:

  • Line item always delivers, so there aren’t any non-deliveries to troubleshoot.
    This could mean a few things, including:
    • The line item is delivering and on track to meet its goal.
    • It’s a standard line item with very narrow targeting criteria.
  • Line item did not deliver at all in the last 7 days.
    The tool looks at the last 7 days of data. Check the line item status to ensure that it’s delivering. A line item may have a pre-delivery status or be paused or complete.
  • There’s not enough data.
    The “Non-delivery causes” tool samples queries and requires a sufficient number of queries over the past 7 days to show non-delivery causes.
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