Actually this will be something of a tutorial on how a site using Affiliate Networks as the main source of revenue and other advertising sources to round things off can set up Google Ad Manager to insure the Affiliate ads are given the highest priority. I also have a few tips on how ads can be controlled on your site under this setup. Some of this information may be more valid for sites with less than 1000 visitors a day, when conventional ads networks are not going to generate much revenue, but it should be a good walkthrough for anyone getting ready to use Google Ad Manager.
I started using Google Ad Manager to keep track of the start and stop times for special offers and other time sensitive ads from the Affiliate Networks I use. It is a very powerful tool for that and many other options you might want to apply to your advertising campaigns, even better, it is free. However, what I found when I had Google Ad Manager setup the way it probably should be for high traffic sites is that my ‘House’ ads, the Affiliate Networks I wanted to be given the highest priority and had them set with higher CPM and vCPM values for that reason, were consistently losing the Ad Slot to AdSense ads (turned on in the Ad Slot settings). I also tried to setup AdSense ads to run as an ‘Ad Network’, but this gave similar results, so obviously ‘House’ orders are given a lower overall priority regardless of what CPM value is assigned. Here is what I came up with to deal with that, and it seems to work well.
First you will need to plan out the Ad Zones for your site, how this is done from a technical standpoint will vary depending on how your website is built, but in the end you will need to insert code into the header and where you want the ads to display, so prepare your website and plan where the ads will go – if this has not been done already.
For WordPress users a Google Ad Manager WordPress Plugin exists, but unless you simply are not comfortable editing your theme files, here is what I believe to be a better option… I use the Advertising Manager WordPress Plugin to give me some additional control of the Ad Zones from the WordPress Dashboard. This still required editing the proper theme files and some work in the sidebar to insert the plugin code, so it is an optional step really (I prefer to hand input the code into a text widget, but the Advertising Manager WordPress Plugin does provide sidebar widgets). More on this later, let’s get to setting up Google Ad Manager.
Now that you have defined Ad Zones for your site, login to Google Ad Manager and lets setup your Inventory, or Ad Slots and Placements (you can get real creative here, but in a simple setup each Ad Slot will need a Placement – the tutorials for Ad Manager cover this pretty well). If new to this it might work best to give the Ad Slots and Placements the same name, and have this also be the name of the Ad Zone on your website. Make sure when you setup the Ad Slots that you uncheck “Use network-specified defaults for AdSense settings” and “Maximize revenue of unsold and remnant inventory with AdSense” to disable AdSense settings, I will show you how to get AdSense (or any other ad source) working later. Another thing to note at this point is that once setup, you will not really interact with the Ad Slots, and your actual ads (called orders) will go into Placements. Go to Inventory >> Ad Slots >> New Ad Slot and setup your required Ad Slots.
With the Ad Slots defined, here is where we need to generate the code you must insert into your website for this whole thing to work. Go to Inventory >> Generate Sample HTML, now select (add) each Ad Slot for your site (all of them, unless you created Ad Slots for multiple sites) and click Generate Sample HTML. You will end up with 2 sections of code, one that must be inserted into the header and another that includes code for each Ad Slot. Insert this code into the appropriate spots in your website code now.
For WordPress users the header is almost always going to be a theme file called, oddly enough, header.php, which can be edited from the dashboard under Appearance >> Editor. Editing the various theme files to insert the ad code into the different types of pages is up to you, since it will depend on your specific configuration and theme. If you are not comfortable doing that, you might be better off simply inserting the Ad Slot code into sidebar widgets or using the Google Ad Manager WordPress Plugin, as discussed above. If you selected my option of using the Advertising Manager WordPress Plugin and have already inserted the required code into your theme files, then you can simply create ‘ads’ with the Advertising Manager WordPress Plugin to represent each Ad Zone on your site and insert the Ad Slot code into those ‘ads’. Doing this using the Advertising Manager WordPress Plugin allows you to easily turn on or off control of the ads by Google Ad Manager and provides other ad options locally. Regardless of which way you insert the Ad Slot code you will still need to edit the header file though, or nothing is going to work (I think the Google Ad Manager WordPress Plugin handles this, but I have also heard some people have problems with this plugin altering the code of AdSense ads, causing Google to suspend ads on the related AdSense account – I do not use the Google Ad Manager WordPress Plugin myself so I cannot say if that is true or if another situs slot gacor problem existed).
Now you must create Placements for your Ad Slots, as stated above it might be easiest to give the Placements the same name as the Ad Zone on your website because that is what they represent in this fairly simple setup. Go to Inventory >> Placements >> New Placement and setup your required Placements. Once the Placements are setup you must assign each Ad Slot to a Placement (or each Placement to an Ad Slot, whichever you prefer), you might have noticed the Ad Slot can be assigned as you setup each Placement as well. Again, you can deal with complex setups here, but in this simple setup each Ad Zone on your website is represented by an Ad Slot in Google Ad Manager, in turn, each Ad Slot is assigned to a Placement and the actual ads (orders) are assigned a Placement to determine which Ad Slot and ultimately, which Ad Zone the ads will appear in.
OK, up to this point this has been a standard setup for Google Ad Manager, but here is where we start to do things a little different. It is now time to setup your Companies, these are really going to be your Advertising Sources, such as Google AdSense or Commission Junction. Companies are setup under Admin, so go to Admin >> Companies >> New Company and setup a Company for each source of ads that you have (I guess you could also just make one Company and assign all your orders to that Company, whatever works for you). IMPORTANT! Setup each Company as an Advertiser, no matter what kind of ad source it actually is, this will make sense later, especially if you do it wrong now…
That was easy enough, now comes the next part, setting up the actual ads. Ads, actually called Orders, are setup in a 3 step process. The first of these steps is to create an Order, for simplicity this will also be given the same name as the ad source, since it will contain all the individual ads from this ad source as Line Items. Go to Orders >> New Order (do not use New Network Ad Order) and create an Order for each of your ad sources. Set the Billable Party to Advertiser and then select the Advertiser (actually this will be the Companies we setup earlier) from the drop down list (if you failed to set each Company as an Advertiser they will not show in this list). You will also probably want to set the end date to Unlimited unless you have a known date that you intend to stop using this ad source (individual ads will be entered later and can have independent start and stop times).