The end of the year is always the busiest time for advertisers, and competition for inventory in Ad Exchange is at it’s peak. Are you doing everything you can to ensure your campaigns are delivering on time and on budget?

To lighten the load this holiday season, optimize your ad serving with these simple steps:

Plan ahead for the busiest time of the year
Make a resolution to start planning your seasonal campaigns earlier. Submit your creatives for approval two days before going live and make sure you’re using only certified vendors and declaring them when necessary. The set of allowed vendors and whether they are declarable can be determined using the vendor declaration tool found in the help centre article Declaring 3rd- and 4th-party vendors in the Ad Exchange. Any vendor not on the list in the tool is prohibited As a proactive measure, buyers can use the creative REST API to submit an ad creative for review, to check its status and retrieve a list of all active ad creatives. Be sure your ads are approved before bidding to ensure your campaigns deliver.

This year, the REST API has been updated with a new method allowing creatives to be sent for re-review. Should any creatives get disapproved before the start of your seasonal campaign, it is not a requirement that the buyer creative ID change to get the creative re-reviewed. To make use of this feature, use version 1.3 of the REST API.

Make sure your ad creatives are eligible to serve
The last thing you want this time of the year is for your ad creatives to be disapproved. To make sure your campaigns aren’t delayed, make sure to avoid these common policy mistakes:

  • Declare the Correct URL/Multiple URLs: please make sure you have declared the URL that the ad leads to. If you have several URLs for the same ad, they all must be declared.
  • Creative Borders: On all .gif and .swf ads with partially black or white backgrounds, you must add a visible border of a contrasting color to the majority background color of the ad.
  • Content Violations: Remember that Ad Exchange is “family-safe” content only. Therefore, ads that are classified as “limited family safe”, “non-family safe”, and “adult” are not allowed (unless you are participating in the Restricted Category Beta for Alcohol).
  • Fourth Party Calls: if you use fourth-party vendors, please make sure they are certified by Google. You can check which vendors are certified and which need to be declared here.
  • Over-animation: Please make sure your total animation time does not exceed 30 seconds. For looping or repeating animations, the total combined interval time can not exceed 30 seconds. After an animation has stopped, it cannot restart. Read the full policy here.

Review the AdX Buyer Program Guidelines and Ad Exchange Policies and Enforcement Help Center page for additional details.

Ensure your bids make it to the auction (RTB buyers only)
Each bid response submitted to Ad Exchange undergoes a screening process before it can enter the live auction. During this process, your bid may be filtered out by Google, the publisher, or during the actual auction for many different reasons.

To ensure your bid is not filtered, remember to always review the following:

  1. Disapproved ads in the snippet status report
  2. Excluded dimensions in the publisher settings report
  3. Publisher’s min CPM requirement in the bid request

You can read more about post-filtered bids in our developer blog.

As part of your preparation for a smooth running seasonal campaign, make use of the new RTB Dashboard - a tool designed to bring greater transparency to you, as a buyer, and help you refine your bidder to produce more efficient bidding and better results for your campaigns. With RTB Dashboard, you have the ability to review the “RTB insights” section which helps you understand which bids are being filtered out and why.

Plan ahead to make the end of year a success
Nobody wants to start the new year with an unexpected surprise. So, after checking that your ad creatives are approved, make sure your campaigns continue into the new year by reviewing the items below:

  • Campaign End Date: Make sure you’ve set correct campaign end date set. You don’t want to come back from the holidays to find your campaigns switched off by mistake because the end date was set to the default date, 12/31/12.
  • Budgets: Take some time to review campaign budgets before heading out to that holiday party. CTRs remain high throughout these festive times and into the new year and it’s a good idea to plan ahead to ensure budgets don't run out early.

Need help over the holidays?
Hopefully everything goes as planned this holiday season, but if any emergencies like UI outages or major drops in RTB traffic come up, our U.S. support teams will be on hand to make sure you’re back up and running. Please note the U.S. Google offices will be closed on the following days:

  • Tuesday December 24th
  • Wednesday December 25th
  • Tuesday December 31st
  • Wednesday January 1st

If you follow these best practices, you can focus on other initiatives on your wishlist (e.g. mobile, video).