As a publisher, once you reach a certain level of growth and size, you need to start thinking about taking greater control over your advertising. Google AdSense is great at delivering AdSense ads, however, if you want to serve your own ads from advertisers or access 3rd party demand, then you need to start using an Ad Server and Google Ad Manager is the most popular in use by global publishers.
What is Google Ad Manager?
In 2018, Google rebranded their services and merged both DoubleClick Ad Exchange and DoubleClick for Publishers into Google Ad Manager (GAM);
DoubleClick Ad Exchange (ADX) enabled publishers to use Google’s real-time marketplace to buy and sell display advertising space on their website
DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) enabled publishers to sell, schedule, deliver, and manage their own ad inventory as a free to use ad management tool
So the Google rebrand brings display advertising demand from the Google marketplace and managing your own inventory with the possibility of ad serving 3rd party demand into one Google Ad Manager platform.
Why do I need GAM?
First of all, let’s explain the two main parts of Google Ad Manager and how they relate to a publisher’s journey; AdX and DFP.
Traditionally, publishers tended to move from AdSense to AdX as they grow and hope to better monetize their inventory. This transition allowed publishers to sell impressions with AdX as opposed to selling clicks with AdSense. Another difference is the access to worldwide demand from other networks outside of just Google Ads advertisers.
With further growth as a publisher, comes greater levels of traffic, and that in turn is where DFP would usually come into play. DFP is an ad serving tool and so is a lot more complex than AdSense or any other plug-and-play ad solution. DFP enables a publisher to get involved with more complex auction-based advertising models such as header bidding or open bidding. DFP offers greater control to sell inventory directly to advertisers and manage multiple advertising, affiliate and recommendation networks, and technologies.
Google Ad Manager now incorporates both solutions enabling publishers to manage their advertising on their website as they grow their traffic and capabilities.
What do you need to enable GAM?
To enable Google Ad Manager, you will need a Google account and a Google AdSense account. If you have both accounts active, you need to visit admanager.google.com and answer a few questions. Once complete, you will be able to create your inventory structure and begin serving your ads!
What else do I need to know?
Two types of Google Ad Manager can be used;
Google Ad Manager for Small Business, which is free to use and built for the publisher who needs a self-managed ad server to better manage their inventory.
There is a monthly impression limit of 90m impressions if you are in the US, CA, AU, or NZ, 180m for everywhere else apart from Eastern Europe and LATAM, where the limit is 200m.
Key features include:
- The ability to manage your ads for a multi-screen audience
- Access to the API
- Access to limited number of reports
- Line item management
- Formats such as Native Ads, Responsive Ads, Video Ads
Google Ad Manager 360, which is a paid solution intended for use by large publishers with complex sales operations and dedicated sales teams who need advanced customization and consulting services.
To access this service, you need to have at least 90m impressions per month unless you use a third-party Google Certified Publisher Partner (GCPP) who can manage this whole process for you.
Key features include:
- Open Bidding
- Programmatic Guaranteed
- Advanced video options
- Audience segments
- More in-depth reporting
- Ads.txt. Management
- Creative wrapper management
- Direct access to Google Support
The costs for GAM 360 are negotiated with a Google representative otherwise a GCPP would manage this on a rev share basis.
What is Google AdX?
Google AdX (formerly DoubleClick Ad Exchange) is an ad exchange network. This indicates that it is a programmatic advertising platform, providing real-time bidding (RTB) on ad spaces to ad networks such as AdSense, agencies, and demand-side platforms.Publishers who use Google AdX have access to a greater inventory and can reach buyers from Google Ads and other marketplaces.
It also gives publishers far more control over their ad space and allows them to directly sell their ad inventory. Additionally, there is more competition for ad inventory, which results in higher income per ad unit sold.
Getting Started with AdX
If you wish to sell your ad inventory through AdX, you must first set it up. Because membership to the AdX ad exchange is typically reserved for large publications, your application must be manually approved by a Google employee.
If you are successful in joining this ad exchange, you will have access to an advanced ad ecosystem with advanced features. You will be able to set floor pricing for your ad units and will have access to a broader selection of customers and auction kinds.
You can even negotiate your own ad revenue share if you’re a large enough publisher with a dedicated account manager in Google AdX. Because of the enormous volume of a high-traffic site, small percentage adjustments might have a major impact on your bottom line.
Understanding where you are on your publisher journey and what tools you can use when you get to where you want to be will give you a great advantage in monetizing your website. Whether you have under 100k monthly impressions and are using AdSense or are now seeing over 1m monthly impressions and monetization is more meaningful, getting to that stage where you have tens of millions of monthly impressions can take time. Good content, well-thought-out user experience, and respectful and relevant advertising will get you there and Google Ad Manager can be part of that journey.