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Google Publisher Console – A Beginner’s Guide

Google Publisher Console
Let's see what is Google Publisher Console and how you can use it to troubleshoot ad delivery and optimize your campaigns.

Being a publisher, you may have used the Google Ad Manager (Google DFP) to serve and manage ads. But, you may haven’t realized that Ad Manager has a lot more to offer, and especially in the direction to improve the quality and performance of the ads.

Although Google Reporting feature will give you an idea of how various networks, SSPs, etc. are performing, it won’t help in solving various issues related to ad delivery. In this article, we’ll introduce one of the features of Google Ad Manager known as Google Publisher Console that you can take advantage of, to troubleshoot DFP ad delivery. 

So, let’s start from the basics and understand what is Google Publisher Console, and how you can use this to troubleshoot ad del.

What is Google Publisher Console?

Google Publisher Console is a Google Ad Manager (DFP) feature that enables publishers or developers access to special features that help analyze and diagnose the ad delivery issues in the ad server. Being a debugging tool, Publisher Console helps publishers to find if the line items are returning ads properly or are there any javascript related tagging errors. 

However, to get access to the Console, a publisher should have added Google Publisher Tags (GPT) to the web pages where ads are going to be displayed. So, if you haven’t generated and added GPT to your webpages, take a look at this article.

How to enable Google Publisher Console in Google Ad Manager?

Now that you’ve added GPT to your webpages, it’s time to enable Google Publisher Console. To enable Google Publisher Console, you can follow one of the three methods described below. 

Method #1

Bookmark Method – By creating a bookmark in your browser, you can enable Publisher Console. Below are the steps you can follow to create and enable the Google Publisher Console for troubleshooting.

  1. Open the browser (Chrome or Mozilla). Click the More icon present on the top right side of the browser.
  2. Go to Bookmarks > Bookmark Manager. Click the More icon present on the top. And then add a new bookmark.
  3. Enter a name for the bookmark e.g. Publisher console, and write “javascript: googletag.openConsole()” in the URL field. And Save.
  4. Now, go to your website and click on the newly created bookmark. This will open the Google Publisher Console at the bottom of the webpage.

Add A Bookmark in Chrome

Method #2

Console Method 

This method requires you to use browser console and enter “javascript: googletag.openConsole()”. Since every browser has a different method to access the console, you have to check how to enter the javascript code for your browser. Follow the below steps to open the console in Chrome and enter the JavaScript code.

  1. Click on the More icon present on the top of the right side of the browser.
  2. Then, go to More tools > Developer tools. This will open Console by default.

Note: Make sure that the page (where ads are getting displayed) is already opened in the present tab before enabling the Chrome Console.

Method #3

URL Method

  1. Go to the website where ads are displayed using Google Publisher Tags. 
  2. Add string “?google_console” or “?googlefc” to the website’s URL. And click Enter.

Once you execute the above-mentioned steps, Google Publisher Console will open at the bottom of the page.

Using Google Publisher Console to Troubleshoot Ad delivery

Google Publisher Console has two primary tabs – the first tab displays page information i.e. “Ad Slots” and “Page Requests”, and the second tab (i.e., setting icon) shows GPT and Console versions (pictured below). 

GPT Version in Google Publisher Console

Also, there is an option “Open in Delivery Tools” that opens the Ad Manager account in a new tab to analyze and troubleshoot ad delivery issues. So, let’s discuss some of the important specifics of the Console.

Ad Slots:

Ad Slots represents the number of ad slots present on a web page and various information related to them i.e.

  1. Publisher ID, 
  2. Ad unit size,
  3. Time to fetch and render the ad creative and Ad fetch count,
  4. Iframe type e.g. SafeFrame, FriendlyIframe, etc. These Iframe types embed the ads within the frame so that the ad doesn’t interfere with the surrounding. 
  5. Query ID generated by Google.  Google assigns the Query ID to each ad slot that helps publishers to find line item details associated with the respective slot.
  6. Links to diagnose and debug line items in Google Ad Manager – Open Ad Unit in Ad Manager, Delivery Diagnostics, and Open Creative in New Window.

Page Request:

Page Request tab displays: 

  1. Publisher’s URL,
  2. Current Browser Version,
  3. Total time to fetch and render the ads,
  4. A timeline that shows the complete process of ad fetching and rendering on the page.

Here, you can see a drop-down menu i.e. “Reload Page”. With this menu, you can reload the page in three different ways: 

  1. Normally – It will request and render ads.
  2. Without ads – It is the opposite case of “Normally” page loading. Selecting this option won’t request and render ads.
  3. Without rendering ads – This will request ads but will not render ads on the page.

Google Publisher Console enables a publisher to infer information related to ad delivery. You can even find out if the ads are getting served via dynamic allocation or direct deals. All you have to do is to enable the Console and click on the ads. 

Note: If you see an error “Ad unit failed to fetch”, then it may be happening due to exceeding character limit in the ad request URL. Based on the ad tag type, ad request URLs have a fixed number of characters that shouldn’t be exceeded. If the count increases, the ad request gets truncated and the Google Publisher Console displays the error. Or sometimes, it may happen due to some other reasons e.g. unavailability of eligible line items to deliver ads, GPT not working properly, or due to malfunctioning of ad codes.

Enable Google Publisher Console via Google Ad Manager

Although the aforementioned methods to enable Publisher Console works, you can do it by Google Ad Manager as well. To do so, follow the steps given below:

  • Sign in to your Google Ad Manager account and go to Delivery tools in the left side panel. 
  • Here, you can choose one option according to your choice – Webpage adsMobile web ads, Mobile app ads, or In-stream video ads.

Ad Delivery in DFP

  • Let’s assume you want to inspect a webpage ad and selected the Webpage ads option.
  • Now, enter your website URL in the given field. And click Continue. This will open your web page in a new tab with Google Publisher Console enabled.
  • Go back to the DFP tab. Here, you can see your ad slots with various details such as demand partners, line items/yield group names, etc.

Inspect Ad Delivery

 

  • After executing the above steps, click on Inspect to check and know what went wrong with the ad slots. Also, you can Simulate ad requests to see which line item would win if you request the slot again or you also check which line item won the ad impression and why.

Using Google Publisher Console and Ad Manager to Inspect Performance of Ad Campaigns

As we discussed above, Google Publisher Console can display various information such as page rendering with ads or without ads, winning auction type, etc., and many more details related to ad delivery. However, it offers partial data for ad slots and the performance of ads with respect to their demand partners. So, you need to take the help of both i.e. Google Ad Manager and Publisher Console simultaneously to understand the behavior of line items.

So, open Publisher Console and go to the Delivery tools in the Ad Manager in two different tabs, review the ad delivery, and a list of other things listed below:

  • Optimize the page speed – You can use the “Reload Page” option provided by the Publisher Console, and analyze how ads are affecting your page load times. Load the page with ads, without ads, or without rendering ads, and check how much time demand partners take to return an ad request. This can help you to know about the channels responsible for page latency and find a solution to the issue.
  • Debug ad tagging errors – If there is an error in the GPT or ad request, then the Console displays a warning. In such cases, you can check your ad tags and tagging codes, and debug the issues with the help of developers.
  • Check the performance of demand partners – You can check which demand partners have won the inventories, by which method the ads are placed (dynamic allocation, direct-sold, etc.). By clicking on the ad, you can view the same, and compare their performance with other demand partners (ad quality, page loading time, etc.).

Conclusion

Google Publisher Console is a good option for publishers or developers who prefer to debug and troubleshoot the issues by themselves. The Console has multiple reasons to rely on – you can share the performance of various line items with the users who have access to your ad network, ask them for help to collaborate and troubleshoot line items, and many more. So, make use of the Google Publisher Console to discover and resolve the sources of unexpected ad delivery. 

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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