DFP Optimization Tips for Publishers

Sovrn Publisher Advocate // April 11, 2016

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Optimizing and troubleshooting DFP can be tricky, so we wanted to provide several tried-and-true DFP optimization tips.

Before we get started, please note that this DFP optimization guide assumes that the issue or challenge with DFP is NOT due to an outright incorrect set-up (i.e. Sovrn ad tags are not set up with corresponding, unique DFP line items).

Optimization Tips for Dynamic Allocation

Dynamic Allocation (DA) is an algorithm-driven mechanism designed to maximize remnant (DFP priority 12, i.e. Bulk, Price Priority and Network line items) and Google Ad Exchange revenue without compromising reserved line item performance.

With Dynamic Allocation, both remnant and Ad Exchange line items are given a chance to serve if Ad Exchange/AdSense is eligible for the impression request. DA via Adsense/AdX can be configured in DFP to control which inventory is eligible to compete, and how. The most common configuration in DFP is to have DA work at the network level.

Once your DFP is linked to Adsense/Adsense, and DA is enabled, AdSense/AdX ads are able to compete for DFP priority 12 line items with or without having specific Adsense/AdX line items set up in DFP.

What this means for “guaranteed”, reserved inventory in DFP – Adsense/AdX will not be called by DA to compete for guaranteed (DFP Priority 8 and lower) line items until those line items have met their impression goals or for perhaps if they have a problem with filling inventory.

What this means for Sovrn line items in DFP – Dynamic Allocation allows Adsense and/or AdX to compete with Sovrn line items. By “compete” we mean that when a user goes to a page, along with sovrn’s ad, Adsense/AdX will have an opportunity to try to win the same impressions if they can obtain a higher CPM value for a given impression than Sovrn or any other DFP priority 12 line item.

Sovrn CPM floor vs. DFP CPM vs. DFP “Value CPM”

sovrn’s CPM Floors are just that; a floor by which any impression valued below the value (i.e. $0.75) will be passed back to DFP or another priority 12 partner. DFP CPM are revenue targets, which for priority 12 line items, Dynamic Allocation will try to optimize (meet or exceed) around.

DFP “Value CPM” is an additional, optional CPM value that can be entered to help DFP prioritize line item inventory. This might come in handy in situations,where we really don’t know where Sovrn should begin with regular CPM value in DFP For example,. if the Sovrn DFP line item is set to ‘Network’, Priority 12 with DFP CPM at $0.25, the“Value CPM” could be $0.75 or $1.00.

The DFP “Value CPM” can also be to help Sovrn line items to compete against AdX or other priority 12 line items by establishing the value of sovrn’s ad, vs. leaving that up to DFP to determine on its own.

What does this means for a publisher’s waterfall CPM management?

Here’s an example of a simple DFP waterfall set-up:

Tier 1: The guaranteed, “Direct” partner is receiving the highest CPM, $4.00, at Priority 8. AdSense/AdX can’t compete for the inventory unless they exceed $4.00.

Tier 2:  The middle tier partner, in this example sovrn, is at Priority 12 and getting a $0.75 CPM. Adsense/AdX will try to compete with a higher CPM.

Tier 3:  The lowest tier partner is Adsense/AdX (which also can include house-ad line items at 0.00 CPM in DFP) The lowest CPM would be between $0.00 – $0.75.

Ideally, at a lower to $0.00 CPM, Sovrn would be able to see as much inventory as possible (requested imppressions), as it would effectively act as backfill. However, even if Sovrn sees requests, the won impressions total is very, very low. Barring incorrect DFP Sovrn line item set up, a general reason, for this could be that Adsense/AdX are consistently providing a more competitive CPM to win those impressions.

Per this example, if the Sovrn CPM floor is $0.75, with DA enabled, AdSense/AdX can compete for impressions going to the Sovrn line item in DFP by targeting a $0.76+ CPM value. While sovrn’s ads can do this, it’s probably safe to assume that AdSense/AdX are being given some type of “favorable look” at those impressions.

Other mitigation strategies to try/test (if DFP set-up of Sovrn tags is correct)

              a.) Raise Sovrn CPM floors on a few of your Sovrn tags in Meridian to be more competitive to the corresponding Sovrn line item value CPM. This means having Sovrn price floor CPM in Meridian matching or slightly above DFP CPM line item.

              b. Temporarily disable DA in DFP and test Sovrn as a full-on remnant, backfill partner using passbacks to either specific AdSense/AdX line items set up in DFP to target those ad units at $0.00 (*instead of a default network coverage), other remnant partner or house-ads line items. (Note – This may work better for small to mid-size publishers.)

              c.)   Add a DFP “Value CPM” in addition to regular CPM in DFP that 50% higher than the DFP CPM.

What other DFP optimization tips have you used successfully in the past?

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