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6 Ways to Optimize Your Direct Campaigns

Google Ad Manager (formerly DFP) is a complicated beast. With so many moving parts, it’s easy to get lost in the details and make a mistake—or miss a fix. Sometimes, those consequences are disastrous. While Sovrn operates an exchange, our Sovrn Services team offers managed ad ops for direct campaigns as well. If your direct campaigns aren’t performing as well as you’d like, here are a few simple steps you can take to make sure that a small mistake isn’t holding back your campaign from delivering.

Check for reserved inventory from paused or draft line items

We recommend regular audits of all of your paused, draft, or otherwise inactive guaranteed type line items (Sponsorship, Standard). Whether created in Ad Manager or pushed to Ad Manager via a third-party Sales Management platform, they will reserve inventory until you specifically perform the release inventory action in the line item menu.

Review your delivery settings and adjust as needed

Reviewing and adjusting your delivery settings is another effective way to ensure that your direct campaign line items are reaching their pacing goals. Below is a quick reference to what each delivery setting means.

  • As fast as possible: A line item is never considered “on schedule,” and tries to make use of every impression it can get.
  • Frontloaded: A line item begins by briefly serving to a goal that is as much as 40% higher than a goal without frontloading, and then gradually declines to serving 5% ahead of schedule as the campaign draws to its end. The sum of impressions during the first half of the campaign can be as much as 25% higher than without frontloading.
  • Even delivery: The ad server delivers 5% more than the even goal, though the delivery indicator may be higher than 105% due to inventory forecast insights.
Ensure measured distribution of high-priority line items

It’s also important to make sure that you don’t have too many high priority line items targeting the same inventory, as that will not allow for effective optimization within your direct campaigns. For example, if you have four Sponsorship line items set to capture 100% of remaining impressions and targeting the same inventory the same way, each line item will receive 25% of the available remaining inventory as a result.

Use Check Inventory and forecasting reports

It may go without saying, but it’s crucial to use Ad Manager’s forecasting tools such as Check Inventory, or the Sell-Through system reports if your Ad Manager network has these, to provide accurate availability data.

Avoid too much targeting

As a general rule, just because you can add targeting to a line, doesn’t always mean you should. Targeting key-values, geography, devices, and other details can be great for a very specialized campaign, but the more targeting you add to each line item, the less inventory will be available. It’s best to use the broadest targeting available that still gets you to the readers you’re looking for.

Get help if you need it

It’s not always easy to catch every error, or to find the time to devote to proper optimization and strategy. Our Services team is always available to help with managed ad ops needs. If you need help with strategy, optimization, training, or management, please don’t hesitate to schedule a call with one of our ad ops professionals.

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