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DFP Glossary: An Easier Explanation for All the Jargon

DFP is essentially an additional layer over AdSense or any other ad network you work with that allows you a lot more control over the delivery of ads.

In our previous post in this series, we covered some of the most common questions new users have about DFP. In this post, we’ve going to explain, in as simple words as possible, some basic and advanced terms related to DFP.

Basic DFP Terminology

Inventory: This is the total ad space that you have available for sale on your website for advertisers to display their ads on. A simple way to think of it is Number of Ad Units per Page * Total Number of Pages.

Ad unit: Any individual slot where ads can do. Ad units come in multiple sizes and can be placed in many locations across the websites. All the ad units combined make up for your ad inventory.

IAB ad sizes: The International Advertising Bureau is an industry body that defines universal ad sizes to maintain uniformity in ads displayed across the web. A list of the most common IAB ad sizes can be found here.

Order: Alternatively known as a “campaign”, an order is an ad request placed by an advertiser on a publisher’s website. It can be an ongoing or time-bound activity and include multiple ad sizes.

Line item: Every order as described above must include at least one line item, which defines the ad to run, which unit it will run in, which creative to use, and details about any custom targeting.

Creative: The actual ad that will run in a line item. This can be an image or Flash file, or a pointer to an ad code from an ad network connected to DFP.

Targeting: Targeting involves the intentional limiting of the audience an ad is displayed to, for instance, you may want to display your ads only to English speaking users on a broadband connection in a specific geographical location. Each line item can be targeted with these options and more.

Placement: Any intelligent grouping of ad units can be thought of as placements, for instance, all Skyscraper units on a particular website or all ads on a particular content category or tag — placements are useful if you’re hoping to get ads from Google’s AdWords network, not too relevant for direct sold ads.

Forecast: DFP continously monitors your site’s traffic and impressions already reserved by exiting line items to predict the future availability of your ad inventory. This is helpful in two ways: During the sales process to display the inventory available for sale; and when an ad is booked to verify the availability of enough inventory for the ad.

Releasing inventory: Frees up inventory that has been reserved by a line item. For instance, let’s say that a line item was guaranteed to serve 20,000 impressions but you need to stop the order after 10,000, releasing inventory will signal to system that the remaining 10,000 impressions are now free to be assigned 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: Each line item also has a sale type, which defines how the impressions or clicks will be accounted for: CPD (cost per day), CPM (cost per thousand), or CPC (cost per click).

Advanced DFP Terminology

Asynchronous Code: Using an asynchronous code helps you decrease the load time of web page content by loading the ad code in discrete chunks in between instead of before the content. Synchronous code can be used for troubleshooting ads that don’t render properly into frames.

Dynamic Allocation: A feature for DFP users with AdX or AdSense accounts that enables guaranteed (reserved) line items to compete with AdX, AdSense or remnant line items without interfering with the ultimate goal of those guaranteed line items.

Daisychaining: Process whereby a creative is required to call to multiple third-party ad servers one after the other. DFP does not recommend the practice of Daisychaining due to performance and cost reasons.

Dayparting: The process of dividing a day into different parts to define which ads should be run during which parts of the day. DFP gives targeting options to schedule delivery of ads within predefined windows of time.

Fallback: Fallback is a backup creative that is displayed in case the user’s browser’s lacks the technology to display the primary creative (for instance, a Flash-based creative). This prevents or minimizes reveue loss that may have been caused by the primary ad not being served.

Frequency Capping: This feature is used to set rules and define how often an ad from a line item can be served to the same user. Supported time ranges are minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months, and multiple capping rules may be applied. For instance, you can set a frequency cap limiting the same user to one impression per day and four impressions per month.

Guaranteed: Line items that are contractually obligated to deliver a set number of impressions, DFP reserves inventory for guaranteed line items in advance to make sure that the order is complete. Compare this with Non-guaranteed line items which are used to fill leftover inventory.

Exclusion label: Exclusion labels can be assigned to a line items to make sure that it’s not served along with other line items that have the same label. This can help a publisher avoid conflict of interest when running orders from competing brands.

Google Publisher Console: Provides troubleshooting tips and information about ad performance to DFP publishers, the display is overlaid directly on top of their app or website. The Chrome extension Google Publisher Toolbar also provides in-site ad overlays and details about the ad request, ad unit, order, line item, and creative. This tool is extremely useful for debugging ad delivery and tagging issues.

Please do note that this is not an extensive list of all DFP ad-related terminology — just an explanier of the most commonly used ones. If you’re looking for a more extensive list, you may want to look at DFP’s Glossary.