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Going from Adsense to Ad Manager

Want to move to higher level, but seems too complicated

     
4:05 pm on Jul 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hi everyone,

I have been using hardcoded Adsense to monetise my websties for a few years now. I can't say I did not try other alternatives (Criteo, Sovrn, etc.) or higher level of monetisation (AdX, DFP), but the complexity and results (worse) always pointed me back to "old good Adsense". Now it seems that some of my competitors (i.e. sites with the same content) are using something else than me. I am guessing this because of two reasons:

1) Not all ads appear everytime a page loads (that won't happen with Adsense)
2) Ads open in a new tab (also not possible with Adsense)

But I do not think they have more advertisers, I am seeing mostly (or only - can't tell now) Adsense ads. So can they be showing only Adsense ads through DFP (Ad Manager)? And does it work for them?

So I did a bit of a research on the topic and found a few forums here, but the result seem to be: "If you have just Adsense, it does not make sense to run it through DFP". Is this really (and still) true?

If yes, could the solution be running Adsense vs. AdX in DFP (Ad Manager)?

Thanks for any comment / help!
5:23 pm on July 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I am guessing this

There is no need to guess, look at the code on the page. If AdManager is being used the code will appear on the page, most likely in the head.


1) Not all ads appear every time a page loads (that won't happen with Adsense)
2) Ads open in a new tab (also not possible with Adsense)


Are you hoping to do this on your site? I would be very weary, specially the second point, I'm not sure what exactly your are describing but be aware that Google Chrome is blocking ads that do not meet the "Better Ads Standard". What you seem to be describing may not meet those standards.

If I read this points more broadly what you are likely describing is the effects of AdSense's Auto Ads feature. Auto Ads uses AI to find the optimal placement for ads, thus sometimes seeing ads and other times not. Point 2, can be interpreted as Vignette ads, also part of Auto-Ads. These are poststitial ads that appear as an overlay between page loads on-mobile.

Again, check the code on the page, if Auto-Ads are being used the ad-code must appear on the page (in the head).

As for using Ad-Manager to only serve AdSense. It can be done. I do it, but I don't recommend it as it screws up the reporting. I use it to refresh ads on page that use AJAX to load new content. Ad-Manager allows you to refresh ads after user interaction, which is not possible with AdSense alone. I certainly recommend against using it simply to show more aggressive and intrusive ad formats. This could get you in trouble with ads and cause all your ads to be blocked by Chrome by default.
6:35 pm on July 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Use ad manager by itself to serve pure adsense is a waste of time and effort. Yes it is still true. Ad manager is by itself an Ad server, that is designed to be mostly a ad server that deals with rotation, targetting, and ad assignment.

If anything, since adsense has recently removed the back up ads feature, it's almost required to use ad manager to optimize fills stemming from other ad sources. Especially if you have serious coverage issues. It is the easiest path.

Ad Manager (Or any kind of ads rotation /server implementations) is necessary to advance to the next level, given that the traffic volume is worthwhile of the effort. "Next level" is typically achieved by amount of traffic, not about ad implementation. Neverthless, Ad Manager is definitely a good skill / infrastructure to have experience with.

When I first learned it years back, my network was not big enough. Then I grew into the size that made sense. I am not highly proficient like @NickMNS, but I get it to work as needed.

Only bother to do it if you wish to add other advertising channels like in house adds or affiliates, or even other networks. With that in mind, it's a necessary skill base to go into header bidding. So eventually you will have to learn it if your sites grow bigger.

Aggressive ads could always be issues, with or without ad manager / adsense. Many ad networks tout crazy things that destroy UX.

ADX and adsense appears to have slightly different ad coverage. I have not digged / tested too deep into this as I think it's unnecessary. If you do have ADX enabled, why not run both? It's an auction bidding system anyways. You should get at least 10% additional earning? I have personally stopped testing, and just run everything and instead focusing my effort on content (traffic) generation. Let the ad networks do their job.

I personally run Adsense, ADX, Header Bidding, and small amount of affiliates.
5:47 am on July 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for your answer, NickMNS

There is no need to guess, look at the code on the page. If AdManager is being used the code will appear on the page, most likely in the head.

I can't see AdManage code, but they're both using Tag Manager, so I assume the individual codes cannot be seen, correct? How could they open ads in new tab if not by using AdManager? The option is not available in Adsense (is prohibited by Adsense policies).

I would be very weary, specially the second point, I'm not sure what exactly your are describing but be aware that Google Chrome is blocking ads that do not meet the "Better Ads Standard". What you seem to be describing may not meet those standards.

I am describing the situation where the target site of the ad opens in a new tab (window) not in the same, i.e. the result of the option "_blank" selected in AdManager instead of "_top". I do not think Chrome would be blocking something that is possible in AdManager settings.

Again, check the code on the page, if Auto-Ads are being used the ad-code must appear on the page (in the head)

The one who is not displaying all ads has AutoAds code in source, but can it be only because of the mobile formats (interstitial/sticky)? A I wrote above, I am only guessing that he is using AdManager, but only AutoAds could not permit him using the option to open ads in new tab.
5:58 am on July 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for your comments, frankleeceo!

If you do have ADX enabled, why not run both? It's an auction bidding system anyways. You should get at least 10% additional earning? I have personally stopped testing, and just run everything and instead focusing my effort on content (traffic) generation. Let the ad networks do their job.

What do you mean by "why not run both"? You mean having them compete in AdManager, i.e. having line items for AdX and let AdManager maximize the revenue by serving Adsense unit? Or you mean something else or a different AdManager setup?

Neverthless, Ad Manager is definitely a good skill / infrastructure to have experience with.

That for sure is, but seems quite complicated to me and starting learning it from scratch will require quite a lot of time. But I will probably have to do it. I am now trying Yieldbird with part of my traffic in one of our countries and after a month the numbers are the same as we had with Adsense. I also contected few freelancers who do AdManager setup, but who knows how good they will be. There needs to be a way to improve the revenue, because one of my competitors is very likely achieving higher revenues from a very similar ad setup. If I only knew how he does it...
7:09 am on July 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Set ADX connection as a line item.
Set default adsense connection as a line item.
Target both line items towards the same ad unit.

Traffic other line items (in house ads, affiliate, whatever) at certain bid value to whatever is left. If ADX or Adsense beats that, ADX / Adsense gets served. If it doesn't, the other line items get served.

----
If you do not want or use default adsense connection. Then add adsense items with a CPM value like you would with "other".

The key is to both have them (or whatever in the stack) compete, and in some cases increase coverage via reasonable frequency capping when they have non overlapping demands. Coverage is a big issue for certain niche.

Lots of levers to be turned on and off during testing phase. But the key is to find a general infrastructure that works.
---
Again, you can't really improve revenue if you only have adsense (or purely other networks by themselves). The optimal setup in my personal view will rely on a bit of testing and mixture of all (unique) demands. I believe revenue can only be increased when you are able to tap into non-overlapping demand sources, and that changes all the time. It's about mixing them up at the right place at the right time.

My guess is that we would be increasingly fighting AI and programmatic effort, so the market does get more efficient over time with more demands being universal / overlapping.

The advertisers are seeking ROI too.

The big players know it. And the ads.txt being pushed have things to do with that. We as publishers could guess if a given network has unique demands by looking at the ads.txt required (supposedly).

What I realized a few years back is that I could spend hours tweaking and changing frequency / countries etc. And that'll probably increase revenue by 10~20% for a given period. But all of that to be wasted when ad networks experience shifting demands as month / quarter ends. Maybe it's worthwhile for mega networks to have someone dedicated to ad server effort. But for my size it's purely a waste of time.

I don't want to go through the same stress of constantly checking CPM, toggle on / off networks, week after week, month after month. :). I have much more fun writing and creating stuff.
9:20 am on July 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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AdSense and AdX will NOT compete against one another in the way outlined above.

If you have an AdX line item competing against an AdSense line item for the same ad request Google will effectively "flip a coin" to determine which gets to bid. They will not compete against one another and create upwards auction pressure. In fact there is not guaratee that the one that would bid highest will even win. Net result is that you will usually earn less by having both compete in this way than by just having AdX compete.

If you really want to have AdSense and AdX "compete" then you have to have adsense at price priority with AdX on DA competing against it. This isn't a great set-up though - not one I would recommend. Just get someone to set-up and manage header or exchange bidding for you. You will earn more.
2:15 pm on July 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@mat

Does Adsense and AdX share the exact same ad coverage demand? I had always been under the impression that their ad pool is slightly different.

And what dose a great set-up look like, generally?

I am always looking to learn more. :)
2:40 pm on July 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Killer question and one that is misunderstood a lot. The official line is that the buyer pools are the same. However it is clear from buyer patterns across the two platforms that there is more to the answer than that.

Firstly you can enabled not GDN partners in AdX that are not available available in adsense. That definitely adds additional buyers and almost everyone using AdX will enable some or all of those. The second factor is that I believe Google channels demand differently through the two (and that this changes). If someone (or "some-ai") decides to change the mix between adsense/adx and google's own supply that happens. A third factor worth keeping in mind is that the two platforms behave differently anyway. Even if you had the exact same buyers making the same bids, I think that there are situations where one platform will outperform the other. Usually AdX will win, but there are situations where that is not the case.

In short, treat them as being different. Yes, they share lots of the same demand but for all practical purposes they are different.

And what dose a great set-up look like, generally?

I am always looking to learn more. :)


I'm literally running a free webinar on that topic next month! I'd share the link, but it's against the rules (and we haven't officially announced it yet). If anyone is interested msg me. We put it together for some clients we're working with, but happy for any WebmasterWorld people to come along.
9:05 pm on July 16, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I've a question, it's not easily to use Adx because you need a minimum of impressions a month or you need to connect to a partner that's connected to Adx or am I wrong?
8:26 am on July 17, 2019 (gmt 0)

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As things stand today: To get your own "full" AdX account you need to be invited by an AdSense Account Manager. There used to be a minimum of 90m impressions / month for this I believe, but I suspect that is more of a guideline than a hard bottom limit. The point though is that it isn't worth the overhead of running AdX directly unless you are putting some volume through.

The other way to access it is through a partner (I'd recommend a Google Certified Publishing Partner, but you can also do this through channel partners). These are companies with "Scaled partner manager accounts " that allows the creation of sub-accounts called "network partner accounts". (SPM = Master, network partner = child). You get access to the same demand, but the SPM manages it. Google pays the SPM and they pay you - usually after a revenue share.

What SPMs offer for that share varies greatly. At OKO,for instance, we do offer just straight access to AdX but mostly try to pair publishers with access to our Header and/or exchange partners (because AdX works a great deal harder when it has to compete against other premium demand like Rubicon and Index Exchange). We also offer unified reporting dashboard, lots of monitoring and lots of hands on support/coaching. Others pair it with machine learning systems and some just offer access and nothing else. It's definitely a case of finding the right partner for you and not judging all as equal. We frequently take on clients who are convinced that "AdX doesn't work" because of past experiences, and then absolutely nail it for them!

If you do look for an SPM think carefully: You are entrusting you earnings to another company. Check their trading history, see if people are moaning online about slow payments, be aware of their financial situation, talk to them in person as things get sticky if SPMs take on bad sites and end up getting their own accounts cancelled (this is one of the reasons I recommend GCPP - Google Vet us quarterly!) .

Mostly though, definitely speak to the ones that are most helpful on your favourite forum :D