What are unfilled impressions and how to reduce them?

When an ad is being requested, it is counted as an impression for a Publisher. This clearly means that if there is an unfilled impression, it is a loss of revenue for Publishers. If an ad is not sent back for the ad request made, it will record impression as an unfilled impression. It is essential to increase the impressions on a site, in order to monetize the impressions. Thus it is vital to keep a track on any unfilled impressions, as they represent the loss of revenue opportunity that can gain through paid campaigns. There are numerous causes for unfilled impressions and sadly these reasons are unavoidable.

But first, we need to understand how one can check if there are any unfilled impressions before moving on to know the ways to reduce unfilled impressions.

Checking the unfilled impressions

If you are in ad serving space, it can happen that you lose revenue because of the ad impressions. Thus, in order to keep pace with the proper functioning of impressions, you need to check for unfilled impressions. Since unfilled impressions cost a lot for Publishers revenue, they frequently try to find ways to address the issue. Here is the step by step guide to look for unfilled impressions-

1) The best and easiest ways to reduce revenue loss is to keep an eye on unfilled impressions so that we can amend and modify the settings to maximize the fill.

2) When the software application look for an ad to serve in space allocated in inventory but could not find an ad, it returns the impression as unfilled.

3) You can also check the unfilled impressions data by logging on to your application (DFP) account.

– Once you log in, select the reports tab and opt for new report
– Select your required report type and choose historical.
– Select the dates (beginning and end date or the lifetime) from date range box and you can view the report for unfilled
impressions for the selected duration.
– If you choose the lifetime date criteria, it returns report for the entire campaign.
– It is also possible to check unfilled impressions by ad unit or ad request size criteria.

4) Pulling report for Ad Units criteria:

– Select ad unit dimension and drill down in order of rank
– The ad units along with paired child unit companions will be displayed

5)Pulling report for Ad request size criteria:

– Select ad request size dimension criteria (you can also select it in combination with ad unit or placement dimensions
criteria too)
– Unfilled impressions report for request from tags gets fetched.

6) Once the unfilled impressions report is fetched based on the above criteria such as date range, ad size, ad requests etc, you
can identify the tag that delivers the most unfilled impressions.

7) Another method to check unfilled impressions is by running a DFP yield report.

– Select the yield report tab on dashboard of your DFP account section and click the reports tab. Under the reports section
you can see the yield type and choose for unfilled impressions. This would help you to know which ad units get you the most
unfilled impressions. Once you know, you can work on the ad units and reduce the unfilled impression.

Causes of unfilled Impressions

Since we now know how to check if there are unfilled impressions, we must understand the reasons and ways to avoid the unfilled impressions.

1) When there is more number of ad slots determined in the header of GPT tag but the number of display calls is less, it
leads to unfilled impressions.
2) If the header slot has higher number but you use single request architecture.
3) No Adsense or Network setup is in place for your ad inventory
4) When inventory placed is more than the sold or scheduled inventory.
5) Non setup of House ads
6) Wrong setup of line items and orders.

Avoiding unfilled impressions and monetizing impressions

1) Avoid using single request architecture if there are more slots defined in header.
2) Dynamic Allocation is one of the best ways to yield maximum number of ads that you can sell. This allows DFP to choose the
best and valuable ad for impression.
3) Set the targeting condition for the ad impressions
4) For line items to serve efficiently, ensure that you select the proper targets such as devices, connections, key values,
geographic locations etc.
5) Look out for the inventory segments that have higher chance of filling by third party demand partners and have the
favoured filling rates.
6) As you have checked the unfilled impressions from reports in your account settings, adjust the frequency cap of line items
(by testing at multiple frequency caps such as 5 impressions for a user in a day) accordingly and you can maximize the
fill rate of third party partners. By testing and adjusting frequency cap, it is possible to find the higher fill rate.
7) Ensure accurate value CPM for each line item.
8) Substitute non-standard smaller ad units with the standard larger ad units.

The Next Step

As now you are well aware of the checks to know unfilled impressions and the reasons behind them, it is now convenient to monitor, record and improve the unfilled impressions. By working on methods to increase the fill rates, it is possible for publishers to increase their revenue.

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