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How to Use Google Ad Manager with AdSense and Ad Exchange

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Most publishers start their monetization journey with AdSense. It lets them create ad units, place them on their websites and see dollars roll in. As web traffic starts to grow, publishers get on board with Google Ad Manager opening a bigger pool of demand.

Publishers are provided with new ad customizations like creating line items and setting priorities to sell premium and remnant inventory. Not limited to that, GAM opens up new methods of dealings—direct deal, programmatic guaranteed, open auction.

Along with all this, publishers are also presented with the opportunity to integrate AdSense and Ad Exchange to GAM. In this post, we are discussing why and how publishers use this GAM feature.

Let’s start by understanding these Google products.

Google AdSense: AdSense is Google’s ad network majorly used by budding and small-scale publishers for website monetization. A publisher starts by placing a request to use AdSense, followed by Google scrutinizing whether the website meets minimum requirements. If yes, Google approves the publishers to use AdSense services. It asks publishers to generate a code and place it on their website. Upon successful implementation, publishers are allowed to create ad layouts and place them on their website. It allows monitoring ad units, tracking their performance, and updating as required. AdSense gets buyers from Google Ads (another Google service for advertisers).

Google Ad Exchange (formerly DoubleClick Ad Exchange): AdX is an upgrade to what AdSense does. It is a real-time marketplace that facilitates the selling and buying of inventory. Unlike AdSense, both sellers and buyers can sign up to use AdX. Using AdX, publishers can go for real-time biddings, private auctions, and preferred deals. When it comes to signing up, AdX has higher eligibility requirements than AdSense making it tricky for most publishers to access AdX services.

Google Ad Manager (formerly DoubleClick for Publishers): It serves as a server and SSP for publishers. After the rebranding of its product in 2018, Google merged DFP and AdX for better delivery and monetization. It lets publishers manage their display, video, and app inventory under a single dashboard, segregate and monetize it. GAM comes in two variations, Ad Manager for Small Publishers (free) and Ad Manager 360 (paid). 

Why Should You Use GAM with AdSense?

Selling your entire inventory using Google Ad Manager is not a good idea as some of your inventory might be left unsold, resulting in loss of potential earnings. Hence, most publishers partner up with other ad networks and try different auction types (like header bidding). Adding AdSense to Ad Manager offers a cushion to publishers to fall on when GAM is unable to fill an impression.

Google Ad Manager deals in line items that capture delivery details and creative details for advertisers. While setting up line items, publishers set types and priorities to them. While premium inventory has high priority and is sold as guaranteed inventory, the non-guaranteed line items (with low priority) might suffer from unfilled impressions.

In such a case, adding AdSense to the system should help in avoiding the case of unfilled impressions. AdSense works in real-time, shows contextual and unobtrusive ads while maintaining the floor price set by publishers.

Link AdSense and AdX to Google Ad Manager

As a first step to use AdSense and AdX with GAM, publishers must link these services. Here’s how to do that:

  • Launch Google Ad Manager dashboard, go to Admin >> Linked Account.
  • Click on New AdSense link and/or New Ad Exchange link button.
  • Add details of your AdSense / Ad Exchange account and Save.
Link AdSense to Google Ad Manager
Link AdSense to Google Ad Manager
Link Ad Exchange to Google Ad Manager
Link Ad Exchange to Google Ad Manager

If you are unable to see the above options on your Google Ad Manager account, then either contact a Google sales representative or get in touch with a Google Certified Publishing Partner (like AdPushup) to enable linking.

Set up AdSense in Google Ad Manager

In Google Ad Manager, AdSense can be set for network and ad unit level. If the setting is applied to the network level, AdSense works for all ad units as default, unless it is manually overridden while setting an individual ad unit. This means ad unit level settings take precedence over the network level settings.

Enable AdSense for Google Ad Manager network

  • On the GAM dashboard, click Inventory >> Network settings.
  • Enable Maximize revenue of unsold inventory with AdSense and Save it.
Adding AdSense to GAM on network level

Enable AdSense for a Specific Ad Unit

  • On the GAM dashboard, click Inventory >> Ad units.
  • Create a new ad unit.
  • Enable Maximize revenue of unsold inventory with AdSense and Save it.
Adding AdSense to a new ad unit

Compete AdSense and Ad Exchange with Google Ad Manager

In order to make AdSense or Ad Exchange compete with Google Ad Manager, publishers need to get started by creating line items. Also, make sure dynamic allocation is enabled.

Dynamic allocation makes sure that only the highest bidder wins each impression. With this setting, Google compares each bid coming in from AdSense or Ad Exchange with an existing GAM line item to choose the winning bid.

Here’s how you can do this:

Compete AdSense and Ad Exchange with Google Ad Manager
  • On the GAM dashboard, go to Delivery >> Order >> New Order.
  • Under Line item, click on Type and choose AdSense or Ad Exchange.
  • Complete other settings for this line item and Save.

Note: Publishers don’t need to add AdSense or Ad Exchange tag to their websites for AdSense line item or Ad Exchange line item to work. Once enabled via GAM, Google Publisher Tag will take care of delivery from AdSense or Ad Exchange network.

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