Programmatic Monetization: The [R]Evolution of Yield Management-Part 3

What are some of the best practices publishers should embrace when deploying and maintaining AdX?

Now that we’ve gone through the benefits of monetization and AdX in particular, we’re going to review some best practices to consider when deploying AdX.

Below is a guide for putting AdX to work for your organization. We’ll be discussing the stages of Planning, Implementation, and Post-Launch along with providing tips and suggestions along the way.


Step 1:  Before doing anything make sure you look over the program guidelines to ensure your website or online property complies with Google’s policies. As previously indicated, AdX is smart but it’s also one of the strictest demand sources on the market. It has a detailed list of policies which publishers are required to follow. Google has developed custom technology that constantly checks for policy violations and there are significant repercussions for publishers who violate the rules (intentionally or unintentionally), including deactivation and possibly refunded earnings. You can find Google’s AdX policies here.

It’s also important to review and speak with any traffic-sourcing partners your company works with to make sure they also comply with Google’s policies. Bots and incentivized traffic sources are two of the most common and serious offenses, which typically result in Google shutting down your AdX account. Other policy infractions include encouraging users to support your site through ad interaction, deceptive or accidental click generation, and manipulation of the targeting or presentation of AdX ads.

Step 2:  If you plan to run AdX ads in “sticky” ad slots or on pages that use a time-based refresh of ad tags, you’ll want to check with your Google rep to clarify whether or not your specific use case is acceptable before moving forward with implementation.  It is possible to run AdX ads in sticky ad slots, but there are many restrictions with regard to the size and design of these slots.  You can find a help center article on AdX policies here.

Step 3:  If you use DFP as your ad server, AdX will begin competing with your DFP line items as soon as you enable AdX in your DFP network. Enhanced Dynamic Allocation (“EDA”) is a backend feature that is turned on by default for all DFP networks. All DFP line items are eligible for competition except Sponsorships line items and those that use the “As Many As Possible” creative display setting. Make sure you have impression goals and rates booked correctly in all your DFP line items before implementing AdX. It is particularly important to ensure that the rates booked in DFP are up to date for all other 3rd party Price Priority line items.

Step 4:  If you are looking to monetize apps and/or video, contact your AdX rep to ensure that those options are enabled in your AdX UI.

Step 5:  Consider your overall programmatic goals and the goals for AdX, specifically.  Do you have any concerns?  What does success mean for you?  Setting yourself up for success may sound like an obvious point, but many publishers misunderstand the role of programmatic (i.e. it’s not just for your lowest tier of inventory and it should be actively managed; see programmatic is not automatic), or don’t understand how to use system’s features to their fullest extent.  As a result, they wind up not maximizing their potential revenue.


Step 1:  Now that you’re ready to enable AdX, the first thing you’ll need to do is to consider your inventory structure before adding tags into the platform.  Take your time with this and think it through in detail.  You’ll want to create and document a clear and scalable tagging architecture and utilize consistent naming conventions. These are key factors that will contribute to your success.

Step 2:  Decide on which ad sizes you’d like to deploy.  The AdX UI gives you the option to generate code snippets for a long list of IAB standard sizes.  The greatest demand is usually for 728x90s and 300x250s.

Step 3:  In the AdX “Rules” section you’ll want to set your price floors, targeting, and block lists.  Rules can be set to target multiple ad tags, geographic locations and ad sizes.  Here are a few things to consider when setting up your rules:

  1. AdX will look at your open auction and ad style rules in the order in which they are listed – so put the most important rules at the top of the list.
  2. Block lists need to be entered for each rule individually.
  3. Combine inventory that requires the same pricing or blocking requirements within the same rules to streamline your workflow.
  4. Certain ad technologies are blocked by default – make sure to review the list and remove blocks accordingly.
  5. When considering price floors, start with the minimum you are willing to accept.  That will allow auction pressure to function as intended.  You can always raise the floors after you have established a performance benchmark for your inventory.
  6. In general, you will maximize your revenue, performance, and fill rate by limiting your blocks as much as possible, by keeping your price floors reasonably low, and by opting to be transparent to buyers on the exchange.
  7. As mentioned in part 2 of this post, remember to include “flexible ad sizes” (for all AdX publishers) and “multi-size pricing” (for AdX publishers who use DFP) when designing how you’ll be working with the system.  If you have slots that can accept multiple sizes — for example, a leaderboard slot that can display a 970×250, 970×90 or 728×90 — using these rules is a great way to optimize monetization for those slots.

Step 4:  There has been a significant amount of growth in private
marketplace deals in recent years (and even more in recent months).  Here are some tips for optimizing performance for these deal types:

  1. Make sure your publisher profile is complete and as detailed as possible to enable buyers to easily locate your inventory.
  2. Identify high value inventory – both channels and users – and create deal offers to highlight this inventory.
  3. If you use DFP as your ad server, your AdX deals will compete by default with your direct-sold standard priority campaigns booked in DFP.  Remember, because AdX deals can give buyers a true first look, it is important that you set your pricing accordingly.  This is a great negotiation point with potential clients, so make sure it is listed clearly in your deal offer description.


Step 1:   Once you’re up and running, check your account settings for crawler errors and rejected ad requests since these can impact fill rate.

Step 2:   Use the Query Tool to schedule daily performance and trend reports.

Step 3:   To ensure that AdX is competing with the most current bids, be sure to adjust the rates in DFP for your 3rd party Price Priority line items.

Step 4:   One major advantage of using AdX is the Creative Review tool.  It really simplifies the process of finding and blocking unwanted ads, which helps to streamline the entire process to a few simple clicks.

  1. Search for the offending ad using destination URL, ad type, ad network, or even ad text (example: if the ad had the word “mortgage” in it, simply type in “mortgage” to locate the ad).  If you took a screenshot of the ad when you saw it served, simply upload your screenshot and AdX will show you the ad.
  2. If you find that a certain buyer is consistently serving problematic ads, you can block that specific buyer.
  3. Click “Block” and you’re done!

Step 5:   One issue publishers deal with is limited insight into how the programmatic market is performing and, as a result, they don’t know how to accurately gauge their own performance in relation to their peers.  AdX recently released a new report called “Publisher Benchmarks” which provides visibility into a host of different metrics – including categories such as Sports, Arts & Entertainment, News, etc, viewability, impression growth, eCPM averages and more – that allow publishers to compare themselves to industry averages.

Step 6:   The ‘Google Publisher Toolbar’ is a great browser feature that can only be used with AdX and the Chrome browser.  The toolbar can display core details for an AdX ad such as the buyer’s name, revenue per thousand impressions (“RPM”), and estimated revenue.  You can also use it to block unsuitable AdX creatives.

We hope this overview of monetization, along with information and best practices about AdX, will help guide your programmatic strategy and provide you with better insight for maximizing your revenue potential.  If you have questions or would like to inquire about our services, please feel free to contact us here.