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Google Ad Manager – A Guide For Beginners

Google DFP
Google DFP enables the publishers to manage their ad inventory in a more effective way by offering an intuitive set of features. Let's dive deep into what they are.

If you are a Google AdSense Publisher who’s looking to ramp up your ad revenue, then you have probably heard the term ‘Google GAM’ (‘Google Ad Manager‘). In this guide, we’ll help you understand what is Google Ad Manager and the terminologies involved in the product. Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

What is Google Ad Manager?

Google Ad Manager is one of the many ad servers that organizes and simplifies the management of ads on your websites, mobile applications, etc. It enables the publishers to manage their ad inventory in a more effective way by defining, selling, optimizing and measuring performance. For managing your advertisements for multiscreen audiences, Ad Manager offers various features, such as

  • Organizing all your ad traffic from websites, apps, games, etc at a central place.
  • Advanced Forecasting to predict the estimated impressions and help you in setting up direct deals with the advertisers. 
  • Total Revenue Optimization to increase the ad revenue generated. The technology will make Google ad Exchange and Google AdSense to compete in real-time to get you the best price for every impression sold via DFP. 

Google Ad Manager Platforms

Google provides two variants of Ad Manager namely, Ad Manager for Small Business and Ad Manager Premium.

Google Ad Manager for Small Business

If your websites get more than 200,000 impressions but not more than 90 million impressions monthly, then you need to go for Ad Manager for Small Business.

This Google Ad Manager for Small Business is meant for smaller and growing publishers. It is a free ad server that allows you to manage your ad inventory with more targeting and optimizing features. You may also merge Google AdSense with Ad Manager if you have some unsold inventory. This way a second chance is granted to your unsold impressions. Ad Manager for Small Business algorithm selects the highest paying ads to increase your ad revenue. 

Google Ad Manager Premium

If your website crosses 90 million views per month, then automatically Google will move your Ad Manager account from Small Business to Premium.  

Thus, the GAM premium is a paid service that is provided to sites having higher traffic. It has some complex advertisement setups and a facility of Google support. Google assigns you a personal Account manager to help you with GAM queries and requests.

On using the Ad Manager Premium account, you are also granted the advantage of using the DoubleClick Ad Exchange. DoubleClick Ad Exchange is a programmatic bidding exchange in real-time for DFP’s Premium Publishers. It increases the competition for your impressions, by opening the ad inventory to multiple bidders. 

Google Ad Manager Network

By Signing in to the Google Ad Manager, you get connected to a network that manages the advertisements that show up on your website. Here you can find the amount of your ad space. After determining the ad space, you can easily create, manage, or report your inventory for an ad campaign.

How does Google Ad Manager serve ads

Every ad unit that you form in GAM gets a direct target from one or more advertisement campaigns. The “ad units” are the objects of inventory created in the Ad Manager.

Pieces of HTML or a JavaScript code, called ad tags are generated by the Google Ad Manager for every ad unit. These ad tags are to be placed on your web pages or mobile apps. Whenever there is a visitor on your web page, the tags spot the ad units and show ads through Ad Manager.

Google Ad Manager does the job of selecting the ad which has to be shown when the user visits the website. This is done by the feature of Ad Manager that selects the best ad among all the ads of your ad campaign. Google shows the selected creative (Ad) and makes a record of it. GAM also records if there were any clicks received on the ad and sends a customizable report to you that shows you that which ads were shown to which of the inventory, the number of clicks received by each ad, etc.

The process of delivering advertisements on mobile apps is a similar process like delivering ads to the website with the only difference that your mobile app communicates with Google’s ad server via Google Mobile Ads SDK.

Google Ad Manager Vs. Google AdSense

Google Ad Manager as an ad server is very different from Google AdSense which is an ad network. The major differences between the Ad Manager and AdSense are,

  • GAM enables you to traffic the ads that are directly sold and the ads from other ad networks, ad exchanges while Google AdSense does not allow you to do so.
  • By using GAM, you may make AdSense have a fair competition with other ad networks. This, in turn, maximizes the amount of ad revenue generated.
  • With Ad Manager, you can monitor the reports of all delivering activities while you cannot do so by Google AdSense.
  • Google AdSense facilitates you to just place the tags on your pages to start seeing the ads. You can use the same feature in Google Ad Manager that allows Google AdSense to show through Ad Manager.
  • You are paid by Google AdSense but Ad Manager doesn’t pay you. It rather gets your payment through AdSense or other ad networks/ad exchanges.

Basic terminologies involved in Google Ad Manager 

  • Inventory: The ad units available for you to sell is called as an inventory. These can be grouped into various categories.
  • Tags: Tags are the HTML and JavaScript codes that are placed on your website for the purpose of linking ad units to your inventory.
  • Placement: The pattern of various ad units.
  • Trafficking: Ad trafficking is the process of creating and managing ad campaigns. You can create inventory by targeting a specific audience.
  • Ad unit: Ad Units are the places on a web page where an ad or group of ads can appear.
  • Forecasting: Depending on the website impressions, Forecasting calculates the amount of ad inventory needed in the future. It prevents the overselling of inventories.
  • Reporting: The process of analyzing the ad data to see the performance of every ad is called Reporting. These reports are customizable and enable you to create a more effective ad campaign.

Organizing your Ad Partners in Google Ad Manager

Some best practices to Organize your Ad partners are as follows:

  1. Each advertiser should be created under a separate order number. This will simplify your reporting.
  2. Maintain a considerate hierarchy of orders and campaigns.
  3. Always use passbacks so that your unfilled inventories get filled by the house line items or any other passback network by GAM. Thus, there is no impression left unattended. (Hint: You can also use ‘Header Bidding‘ which increases your revenue and eliminates the need for any passbacks).


As you know, ads can generate a lot of revenue for your website, if you optimize the setup strategically. By using Google Ad Manager, you get to connect your website to the right ads. GAM is not very easy but learning it is worth a shot as it will help you maximize your ad revenue. Here’s how to set up Google GAM and get started with your first ad campaign. 

Automatad Team

At Automatad, we help publishers to monetize better without hampering the user experience. Our products are live across hundreds of publishers, earning them incremental ad revenue with every passing second. You can request a free audit to get an estimated revenue uplift today.

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