How To Set Up Google Ad Manager On Your Site or Blog

Last Updated: 03/25/2008

It has been about two weeks since Google launched Ad Manager. Most people do not even have access to the new beta ad management software, but for some reason, I always had access. In any event, I spent a few days playing with Ad Manager and decided to give everyone a step-by-step walk through on how to server your ads using Google Ad Manager.

In the example below, I will be configuring the ads to run like they would on most medium sized blogs or sites. Most the sites or blogs I know, run ads on monthly or quarterly contracts, not specific to CPM but pretty much to have the ad live on the site for a month. Google Ad Manager allows you to sell ads on a CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions), CPC (cost-per-click) or CPD (cost-per-day) model, so for me, I am going to go with the CPD model.

I am currently using OpenAds to serve my ads on this site. I am actually eager to move off OpenAds and give Google Ad Manager a chance. Why? Mostly because I would love to move the ad serving technology off my servers and onto an external server I don't have to manage and pay for. OpenAds, although an outstanding piece of software, does use a lot of server resources and is open source, so it has the potential to be hacked into (if I don't patch it frequently).

Let's get started with the walk through. Note, I am not sure if my demo is the best way to set it up. All I know is that it works. If you have tips and suggestions, please comment and I will review and hopefully add them to the walk through.

Step one is to gain access to Google Ad Manager, which is in a beta release right now. I cannot help you with this, if you have an AdWords or AdSense representative, I would suggest asking them to get you into the beta. Once you gain access, you need to login to https://www.google.com/admanager/.

My mission is now to replace the OpenAds code with Google Ad Manager code. Let me start first with my forum at forums.seroundtable.com and test it for a week. Here is a picture of the current four ads I have on this site:

Search Engine Roundtable Ads

When I am done replacing the Open Ads code with the Google Ad Manager code, I want to see the same four ads. The ads will hopefully rotate between each other, but the same four ads should be visible, when I am done.

Go to Google Ad Manager and click on the "Inventory", and you should be taken to the "Ad Slots" section. The page should be blank, if this is your first time, so it should look like this:

Google Ad Manager Ad Slots View

The next step is to add a "new ad slot" for each ad position. In my case, I need four ad slots, but you may need one, two, four, six, or more. So in my case, I need to create four ad slots. Click on the "New Ad Slot" link at the top. I will create four new ad slots, I will name them SERF-125Ad1, SERF-125Ad2, SERF-125Ad3, and SERF-125Ad4, respectively. I select the size 125x125 from the drop down menu and I change the "Target window" from "_top" to "_blank", just because that is my preference. If you do not want AdSense to compete for your ad space and I don't, uncheck the box near the AdSense. Feel free to add a more detailed description of the ad slot, to jog your memory. Here is a screen capture of SERF-125Ad1, as I fill it out:

Google Ad Manager Add New Ad Slot

Repeat this process for all your ad slots. Here is a screen shot of my Ad Slots page after adding the four new ad slots:

Google Ad Manager Ad Slot View

Now that your ad slots are set up, you need to create an Ad Placement. Ad placements let you group ad slots together, so that you can rotate your ad slots evenly in the same location. For example, I want all my advertisers to see the ad slot 1 position, they all should get a fair shot to be at that top position.

Go to the Ad Placements section by clicking on "Placements" under the "Inventory" tab. You should see a screen like this:

Google Ad Manager Placements View

Now click on "New Placement" and give it a name. I am going to name my Ad Placement, "SER Forums 125 Left Top Zone." I also added a bit more detail to the internal description box, "The ads on the left bar on Search Engine Roundtable Forums." Then, you need to assigned those ad slots to this placement. Click "add" next to the ad slots you want associated with this ad placement. In my case, I selected all four ad slots. Here is a screen capture of my New Placement page, as I fill it out:

Google Ad Manager New Placement

Then click "save" and you should be taken back to the Placement list view. Here is what my placement page now looks like:

Google Ad Manager Placements

Recap: So far we created four ad slots and then associated those four ad slots to a single ad placement.

Now it is time to get your banner ads up, the actual creatives. To do so, you need to create "Orders."

Go to your "Orders" section by clicking on the Orders tab on the left of "Inventory." You should see a screen that looks somewhat like this:

Google Ad Manager Orders View

I then clicked on "New Order" and I need to fill out the order information here. Let's start with Text Link Ads, my long time devoted advertiser. I named the Order, "Text Link Ads Forum Ad Run", give it an external ID, and set the "flight dates." Flight dates are very important, make sure you set the dates to begin when you want to see them (note, Google's default start date is always one day ahead, so if you want to see them now, set them to today). With my site, some advertisers keep going and going. So I am setting the end date for TLA to April 1, 2011. The billable party in this case is the advertiser. Here is a screen capture of what I have set up so far:

Google Ad Manager Add Order Settings

I am then skipping over the "user assignments," I am a small blog and I manage the ads myself. But here is a screen capture of that section (fyi, I rarely check that email address):

Google Ad Manager Add Order User Assignments

I then need to add the "Advertisers", by clicking on add new. This contextual pop up opens and asks you to enter the Company name, in my case, "Text Link Ads." I then selected "advertiser" from the type drop down, in some cases, it may be an agency.

Picture Google Ad Manager Add Order Add Company

Then I clicked "save" and it added Text Link Ads to the advertiser box:

Google Ad Manager Add Order Advertiser Select

The next step is option, Add Agency, but I skipped it:

Google Ad Manager Add Order Agency Select

You can then add contacts to the order. The contacts include billing contacts, media contacts or other contacts. Click on the text field and then click on the "New Contact" link:

Google Ad Manager Add Order Contacts

You should then see this form, that you can fill out. This will give the user access to see the statistics from the ad:

Google Ad Manager Add Order Add Contacts

The final field on the add order page is the "notes," which is also optional.

Google Ad Manager Add Order Notes

After you set up an order, you need to add new "line items" so you can set up the advertiser's banner ads. Let's move on by adding an ad for Text Link Ads. You should see a screen like this, immediately after adding an order.

Google Ad Manager Order Detail View

Now, click "New Line Item" at the top left of the page. I am going to call this line item "TLA 125 Black Ad." The flight dates are important, and I am going to give them the same flight dates as when I set up the initial order. Remember to move the start date to today, if you want the ad live immediately. Then I am changing my "delivery priority" to exclusive, so that I can set the "cost type" to a "CPD" (cost per day). I set my cost per day to about $67 dollars for now, you can give a discount, if you like. I won't be using Ad Manager to bill, so what I plug in here is only for reporting but not for accounting, major difference. Here is a screen capture of what I filled out so far on this page:

Picture 1Google Ad Manager Line Item General

Next on the page is to associate the line item with an ad placement. Remember the ad placement I set up above, it is shown here and I have associated it to this line item:

Google Ad Manager Line Item Placement Association

If you want to apply special targeting options for this ad, you can. Targeting options include browser version, browser language, bandwidth, geography (country, region or state, metro or DMA, and city), operating system and user domain. There is custom and other forms of targeting, more details over here. I don't have any special targeting requirements, so I skipped it, but here is a screen shot of one of the available options:

Google Ad Manager Line Item Targeting Criteria

Finally, I filled out the delivery options. I checked off the "Display creatives" box, because I think, if this advertiser has more than one creative, it would rotate those ads and not show all the ads at once. For example, Google gave me three ad creatives to rotate, but I only want one of those three to be displayed at any time. Here is a screen capture:

Google Ad Manager Line Item Delivery Options

You are then taken back to the Order page, showing the line items for that order. Click on the line item you just set up and you will see that the line item requires a "creative." The creative is the banner ad. Here is a screen shot of the page, see next to the 125x125 on the bottom left, it says "needs creatives"?

Google Ad Manager Line Item View

I clicked on "Upload Creatives" at the top and it gives me a form to fill out. I enter the name of the creative, the ad slot size, and I select "Standard Image Redirect" from the creative type pull down. I use static image ads and I prefer to host the image on my side, so that is why I selected this option. Ad Manager supports .jpg, .gif, .png, .swf, and third-party rich-media tags. Ad Manager will host the creative files for you, or you can specify the URL where the creative resides. Here is a screen capture:

Google Ad Manager Upload Creative

Once you click save, Google will ask you to review and approve/activate the ad:

Google Ad Manager Approve Creative

Then, after you approve it, you are taken back to the list view:

Google Ad Manager Line Item View

Now that we set up the Text Link Ad Order, line item and creative, you need to do the same for all your advertisers. So I am going to go back to create "Orders" section above and do it all over again for each advertisers. I won't go through each one, because it is repetitive. I will now skip to adding the ads to your site or blog.

Here are all four orders set up:

Google Ad Manager Order View

Adding the ad to your blog is the next step. Go back to "Ad Slots" and at the right, you will see a link to "Generate Sample HTML," click it. Click "add" next to each of the ads you added, in my case, the four ads.

Google Ad Manager Generate HTML for Ad Slots

Then click "Generate HTML" at the bottom and it will give you the code. There are two pieces of code:

  1. The JavaScript code that goes in your Header file. Copy that code from the html box below into your header file, on the pages your ads will be displayed.
  2. The JavaScript code to place where you want the ads to display. Copy each piece of code in the place you want each ad slot. I already styled my ads in div tags, so I stuck them into my div tags, in the place I want the ads to show. Here is the code for my site:

<div class="floatleft" >
<script type="text/javascript">
GA_googleFillSlot("SERF-125Ad1");
</script>
</div>
<div class="floatright" >
<script type="text/javascript">
GA_googleFillSlot("SERF-125Ad2");
</script>
</div>
<div class="floatleft" >
<script type="text/javascript">
GA_googleFillSlot("SERF-125Ad3");
</script>
</div>
<div class="floatright" >
<script type="text/javascript">
GA_googleFillSlot("SERF-125Ad4");
</script>
</div>

I saved my templates and when I looked at my site, the ads were missing. I initially thought I did something wrong. But then I remembered, the ads won't be shown until the start date, which was set to 12pm (EST) today. So they should be visible soon. Here is a screen shot of them missing.

Ads on Search Engine Roundtable

After waiting ten minutes, the ads then appeared, as I expected. Here they are:

Ads Hosted by Google Ad Manager on Search Engine Roundtable

Here is the tracking URL I get when I mouse over one of the ads:

http://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/iclk?sa= l&ai=BmGTXuiHpR4eDFZKSngaonvCOB5HC5TsAAAAQASCH7_0BOABQqpDS4vj_____ AVihmqzEBGDJxqmLwKTYD6oBCjQ4NTE0MDQyNDeyARdmb3J1bXMuc2Vyb3VuZHRhYmxlLmNvbboBCWd mcF9pbWFnZcgBAtoBH2h0dHA6Ly9mb3J1bXMuc2Vyb3VuZHRhYmxlLmNvbS_gAQLAAgLgAgHqAgtTRVJGLTE yNUFkMvgC9NEegAMBiAMBkAPwUZgD8FGoAwE&num=0&adurl=http://www.acsseo.com/&client=ca-pub-0102 506597954630

So that is how you set up Google Ad Manager on a blog. You can see the ads live at Search Engine Roundtable Forums. I will move the main site's ads over eventually.

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