building an ad platform with dfp
Before you can be productive in any ad system, you'll need to be comfortable with the jargon of the ad industry. Here's a crash course in the terms you'll see in the DFP interface.
Inventory: The collection of all ad space you have available to sell. You can generally think of your inventory as "The number of ad units on a page times the number of pages you serve."
Ad Unit: An individual slot where ads can go. Generally defined in terms of placement on the page, e.g. "Main leaderboard" or "Below article," but can be more granular if you start serving certain ads only on certain pages, e.g. "Top sidebar square on sports pages." Ad units should be named descriptively, with names that specify the site, the section of the page, and the ad size, e.g. "
IAB Ad Sizes: The Interactive Advertising Bureau is a working group that, among other things, defines ad sizes to be considered as a general convention across the web. This is important because advertisers don't want to create differently sized ads for every site they advertise on. A list of common IAB ad sizes is here.
Order: AKA "campaign" - a request for a run of ads from a given advertiser, generally focused on pitching a particular product. An order can span across multiple ad units on a site. For example "Joe's Pizza March Madness Promo" might include four different ad styles, meant to run through the month of March.
Line Item: As described in "Order" above, a campaign consists of one more requests for ads to run. Every order must have at least one line item, which defines the ad to run, the ad unit it will run in, the type of creative to run with it, and optionally any custom targeting.
Creative: The actual ad that will run in a line item. This can be an uploaded image or Flash file, or a pointer to ad code from another ad network.
Targeting: Limiting the scope of the audience to which an ad is displayed. For example, you might want to show an ad only to Spanish-speaking readers, or only to visitors from the local college campus, or only to users with broadband connections. Each line item can be targeted with these options and more.
Placement: Think of a placement as a "category bucket," using criteria such as "Ads on pages that include user-generated content" or "All skyscraper ads on the site." Placements are optional, but helpful if you hope to gain ads through Google's AdWords network, since advertisers will be able to sell their ads into your placements. If you intend to sell all of your ads directly, placements aren't particularly helpful.
Forecast: Google monitors your site traffic and, over time, builds up a prediction of how many pages you'll serve in a given time period. Forecasts are also aware of the sections of your site on which particular ads run. Forecasts are used for predicting the availability of inventory, which is in turn important when calculating ad rotations.
Releasing inventory: Frees up inventory that has been reserved by a line item. This lets the forecasting system know it can use these impressions for other reserved line items. In other words, if a line item has been guaranteed to serve, say, 10,000 impressions but you've only served 5,000 and now need to end the first campaign, inventory can be released back into the system to make it available to other orders.
Order types: When placing an order's line items, you'll be able to give each line item a sale type, which assists in the prioritization process as ads compete for attention.
- Sponsorship: Sell a percentage of all impressions.
- Standard: Sell a fixed quantity of impressions or clicks.
- Network: Allocate a percentage of remaining impressions.
- Bulk: Allocate a fixed quantity of remaining impressions.
- Price priority: Remaining impressions go to highest-paying ads.
- House: Serves when no other ads are booked.
Sale types: Within each order type, each line item has a sale type, which determines how the ad impressions or clicks will be accounted for:
- CPD = Cost Per Day
- CPM = Cost Per Thousand
- CPC = Cost Per Click