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Troubleshoot blank ads on your webpage

There are several reasons why blank ads may be served to your webpage. These reasons include:

  • House line items are not booked for your site (See below.)

  • Flash or other types of custom creatives are booked to run on a given site and the site is using standard ad tags (See below.)

  • Tags incorrectly contain spaces or typos (See below.)

  • Line items targeting the ad unit aren't set up correctly (See below.)

  • In the case of third-party creatives, there could be a problem with the third-party code or with the DoubleClick ad server. (See Third-party creative isn't delivering for more information.)

House line items not booked

The most common mistake that results in line items not being served is when tags are correctly implemented on your webpage but there are no paying line items that meet the criteria of the user and a house line item has not been booked for the size of the ad unit. This oversight can occur when new sizes of ad units are created and there are no house line items of this size. When the paying line items targeted to these ad units have reached their intra day cap, a house line item will take the remnant inventory. If no house line items are booked, a gray gif system default ad (an “unfilled impression") will serve and the user will see a blank.

Users who have disabled JavaScript will not see custom creatives, so ensure that the house line item uses a standard gif or jpg creative.

To avoid this problem, you must:

  • Book a run-of-network house line item for every possible ad unit size, so that when any new ad units are created a house line item is targeted to run on them.

  • Make sure to book as many house line items as there are same-size tiled ad slots in a webpage. Because the tile=value key-value prevents the same line item from being served to a webpage, if there are, for example, two 728 x 90 ad tags in a webpage and only one 728 x 90 house line item that can be served to it, if that house line item is served to the first ad tag, there is nothing available to serve to the second ad tag, and a default (blank) line item is served instead.

Problems with the line items targeting the ad unit

Line item eligibility:

  1. Go to the "Inventory" tab, select the troublesome ad unit, click the "Line items" tab under the "Activate", "Deactivate", and "Archive" buttons, and see if at least one line item is delivering.

  2. Check inventory to see if there are enough impressions for the line items targeting the troublesome ad unit.

Line item targeting:

  • Line items have to be properly targeted to the ad tag in order to serve. Example: If a line item is targeting a key-value but the key-value isn't in the ad tag, the line item doesn't serve to that tag. To troubleshoot, review any line items you believe should be serving to this tag and check whether they match what’s on the page.

  • If the blank ad unit is designated as "special", traffickers must specifically target it even if it’s in a level below an ad unit that’s been targeted. No line item will serve to special ad units unless those ad units are specifically targeted. (Learn more about special ad units.)

Line item status: Line items have to be live (approved) and have creatives assigned to it. The creatives' flight dates must start past the line item start date and end before the line item ends. When troubleshooting, wait 20 minutes after approving the line item to see if the ad unit is still blank since information from DFP pushes to the ad server every 20 minutes.

Line item delivery settings:

  • "Only one" but there are multiple tags to which the line item can be delivered.

  • Existing ads may have hit their daily impression goals, or they may have other targeting (like geo, dayparting or freq. caps) that are preventing them from serving to you.

  • Check any frequency cap or advertiser exclusion labels assigned to the line item to see if they would prevent the line item from delivering.

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