How to setup Google DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP)

I was recently tasked with configuring and integrating Google Double Click For Publishers (DFP) into a content based website. Usually a...


I was recently tasked with configuring and integrating Google Double Click For Publishers (DFP) into a content based website. Usually as a web developer this type of thing is little more than cutting and pasting some code snippets into the master layout and forgetting about it. In this case, there was no prior configuration of the account so I needed to start from scratch to get the website to the point of serving test banner content. Having previously worked with Google AdSense, I was surprised by the complexity of DFP.

First off, what is Google Double-Click for publishers? 

Prior to this I understood double-click to be a banner ad network such as Google AdSense where you basically define your ad slots and the banner network takes care of which filling your site with adverts. That assumption was totally incorrect. DFP is in fact a much more sophisticated layer in between your website and the banner networks, but the key difference is that you can operate it entirely without a banner network which means managing the the actual advertisers and the banner content yourself.

Google DFP Terminology

If your not a professional marketer, DFP can appear quite overwhelming at first, this is largely to all the unfamiliar terminology used. I'm going to explain the core terminology and concepts of DFP. DFP is split into two key sections, inventory and orders;
Inventory – this relates to individual ad space locations which has been defined on the website(s) Orders – this relates to the actual advertising content which has been configured to display within your inventory.

Inventory

Ad Units
An ad unit represents a physical slot within the website. Every ad unit requires a unique code snippet to be pasted into the website. 
Placements
This allows you to group ad-units together, which allows ad content (orders) to be placed on a set placement. An example of this would be to group all ad units which are leader-boards and above the fold across your site.  

Custom Targeting

This section allows for an extra dimension to be added when placing orders.

Orders

Orders – This represents an advertiser’s order, it’s like the contract for the financial commitment. An order specifies the advertiser (this includes the option to mark it as a house/internal order). You specify the spend and the duration of the order. An order consists of one or more line items.

Line Items – One or more line items belong to an order. A line item can contain multiple creatives and multiple inventory (ad unit) sizes.  I consider a line item to relate to an advertiser's campaign. A campaign may consist of multiple ad types and sizes, with varying taglines, however they are all related. 

Creatives – These are the actual ad content – the images/video etc supplied by the advertiser, or in the case of a 3rd party banner network, its where you store their cut & paste banner code.

So where do I start Google DFP?

The approach with I took was to start by listing all the unique templates on the website's design, for example - Home page template, Product details template, Product listing template. For each template I identified each instance of an ad and the ad size (MRec, Leader-board etc) which appear in the design and wrote them down. If there is two ad slots of the same size in the one template you should list them both. I now have a list of multiple ad units per template.

Now I'm ready to define my inventory in DFP. I now create an ad unit for each of the items on my list naming them [template-name]_[adunitsize]. Each ad unit will require a unique block of HTML to be pasted into the website in the location where that ad unit is to be displayed.


At this point your inventory is now active, so you will notice empty white boxes being served to the page from DFP. From a development point of view, you've integrated DFP.
Now to get ad content displaying on your website by creating and order. Once you have created an order you can add multiple line items. A line item can be either be content which you upload and define yourself, or link to a 3rd party content network such as AdSense or AdMob.

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