1 0 6000 0 600 120 30 https://headerbidding.co 960 0

How to Set Up Google Ad Manager (DFP) – A Step-by-step Guide

Set Up Google DFP
Want to set up Google Ad Manager (or Google DFP)? Then, you're in the right place.

Google Ad Manager (formerly known as Google DoubleClick for Publishers) is an ad server that can take your ad monetization one level up. If you’re a publisher with more than a million page views and use AdSense to run ads, then it’s time for you to sign up for Google Ad Manager (Google DFP). Don’t believe us? We helped a U.S-based lifestyle publisher to set up Ad Manager (w/ header bidding) and revenue jumped by 7x in the first three months

Alright, now let’s get back to your question — how to set up an Ad Manager account? So, Google offers an ad server in two variants – Google Ad Manager for Small Business (completely free) and Google Ad Manager 360. Here’s a detailed guide to set up Google Ad Manager for Small Businesses.

Sidenote: If you need to know the basics and terminologies involved in GAM, you can refer to our ultimate Google Ad Manager Guide. Also, we’ll be using Google DFP and Google Ad Manager interchangeably throughout the post.

How to Set up Google DFP for Small Business?

If you already have an account with AdSense, you can directly create an account in the Google DFP account. However, if you don’t have one, then create an AdSense account. You cannot sign in to Google DFP without having an AdSense account. Once you’re done with AdSense, you can sign in and set up Google DFP.

Step 1 – Create Ad Units

First and foremost, you need to create ad units. To create and set up ad units, follow the steps:

  • Go to Inventory > New ad unit > One level below “Network”. An ad unit can be created at a parent-level or lower level (under parent-level). If you click one level below “Network”, it’s a child unit – created under an ad unit. If you want to create a parent unit, you can go with “current level

Create ad unit in Google Ad Manager

  • Then, enter a Code E.g. adserver_tech. This code is used to identify the ad unit in the associated ad tag (present in the source code of the site) and cannot be changed once saved. While you debug/troubleshoot, you rely on the code to recognize the ad unit. 
  • Enter a name (E.g. sitename_adsize_placement) and add a few lines about the ad unit in the description. Apparently, this will help you identify the unit on the Google Ad Manager interface.
  • Select the size of the ad unit from the drop-down menu (Size). You can select more than one size (for example, 300×250, 728×90, and 336×280). Need help to pick up the sizes, then take a look at the best ad unit sizes guide
  • From the Target window drop-down menu and choose one of the options i.e. Top or Blank. If you select Top, the landing page associated with the ad will be opened in the current tab when a visitor clicks the ad. If you want to open the landing page in a new tab, then select Blank (suggested).
  • The placement option is optional and can be skipped for now (If you’ve already created placements, you can add this ad unit to any of those placements. What are placements? If you want to group a number of ad units for targeting, you can create placements). 
  • Then, there is the Frequency caps feature that limits the number of times a user is served certain ads
  • Then, click Save.

Ad Units in DFP - Details

Just like this, you can create as many ad units as you want. 

Step 2 – Create New Order

Then, the next step is to set up an ad campaign. This is how it’s done:

  • Click Order > New order. Enter the name of the advertiser, for example, Amazon Adv.
  • In the Company block, click Add a new company. Enter the name the same as that you filled in the name of the advertiser. And select one option out of three – Advertiser, Ad Network, and House Advertiser.
  • Then, click Save.
  • Fill your email address in the Trafficker space. 

Create New Order in GAM

Step 3 – Create New Line Item

Follow the below steps to create a new Line Item:

  • Click Order > New line item. Enter the Name of the line item, for example, Amazon Alexa.
  • In the Inventory sizes, add the sizes of line items i.e. 336×280, 728×90, 468×90, and so on. You can add more than one size here.
  • Now, it’s time to configure Settings and Adjust Delivery.

Create line item in Google Ad Manager

Before making any changes in the Settings, it’s important to understand the terms involved in this section because these two sections define the delivery of ads on the website.

Google DFP enables publishers to prioritize the order of delivery of Line Items. Line Items are divided into three types based on their priority of delivery. 

These three are further sub-divided into the following categories:

Line Item in GAm by Types

  • Sponsorship – Used for direct-sold campaigns where % of impressions and a start and end date are pre-defined. Select this when a buyer wants to “takeover” your webpage or the complete website. Line items of the Sponsorship type usually have the highest priority over other items.
  • Standard – Used for direct-sold campaigns where impression goal and a start and end date are pre-defined. Unlike Sponsorship priority, select this when a buyer wants a specific number of impressions.
  • AdSense – If you want to place ads and give preference to AdSense inventories, then select this option. Here, AdSense ads will be served first and then others.
  • Ad Exchange – Similar to that of AdSense priority, this gives preference to Google Ad Exchange ads.
  • Network – Select this when you have an ad network with no impression goals. It is suggested to use Network priority when you want to display several line items evenly.
  • Bulk – Select this when you’re selling inventories in bulk and your buying partners aren’t sure of delivery timelines.
  • Price priority – Use this when you want to fill your remnant inventories with the highest-paying Line Item.
  • House – House priority is the one with the lowest priority. Use this when no ad-buyer (ad network, ad exchange, etc.) is able to serve an ad. This can be typically used to promote your products or services. When no ad network or ad exchange delivers an ad, then this enables the server to return an in-house ad of the publisher.

Setup line item priority

*If a publisher has multiple line items with different priorities, then Google DFP prioritize them in the following order –

Sponsorship > Standard > Network > Bulk > Price Priority > House

Google DFP Line item priority

So, coming back to Settings, select the priority you want from the drop-down menu Type. Enter the Start time and End time to deliver ads across a day. Then, specify the Goal % of remnant impressions which is usually meant to determine the number of impressions that line item should serve ideally.

Next to Settings is Adjust Delivery. This section is optional and used to modify ad delivery timelines.

After entering the ad delivery specifications, move to the Add Targeting (Below to the Settings option)

Note: If you’re creating a new Line Item, you’ll have to Approve it. Otherwise, ads will not be served. To do that, Go to Order > New Line Item > Approve. That’s it.

Step 4 – Add Targeting

This section is used to display ads based on certain targeting options. In Google DFP, follow the steps to add targeting to your line items:

  • Click Inventory. Include the ad inventories where you want to display targeted ads (This where you select the ad units and/or placements you created in the first step. If a user loads the page, the ad unit gets called and then the unit will trigger the associated line items). And then Save.
  • Then, click Geography and enter the locations where you want to display the ads.
  • Click the User Domains. It is used to target the users coming from specific websites. For example – when you want to target visitors coming to your website from another website abc.site, then you can add this referral website link in the User Domains.
  • Below to the User Domains, there is a Browsing option that is used to target visitors based on their browsing details i.e. browser they are using or their operating system, etc.

Add targeting in Line items | Setup google DFP

Note: With Custom Criteria, you can target specific attributes since this option enables additional targeting options e.g. tagging web pages to specific attributes and then targeting them. 

Advanced Reading: A Beginner’s Guide to Key-Value Targeting

Step 5 – Define Ad Creative

Now you have to add ad creatives. To do this, go to the Creative tab in the left side menu bar and select Add Creative. Then, 

  • Click on Add creative.
  • Select the advertiser by searching for the name. Go to the Image file and upload an image that is going to be displayed in the ad slot*.
  • Enter the name of the Line Item and the advertiser’s URL in the Click-through URL field.
  • Then, select the Target ad unit size from the drop-down menu. And Save.

*This applies when you are running direct deals with advertisers from whom you can get the ad creatives. If you’re running programmatic ads, you need to include a third-party ad creative in the place of the image file. So, instead of selecting the upload image option, you are required to go with a “third-party tag”. 

Once you’ve added creatives, you are required to associate it with line items. It can be done by navigating to the line item creation tab (refer to step 3). 

That’s it. Next to it is the last step – Generate ad tags. Let’s see how to do that.

Step 6 – Generate Ad Tags

After creating ad units, the next and final step is to generate ad tags and add those tags to your website’s code. This is how you can generate ad tags:

  • Click Inventory > Generate tags. Then, select the ad units for which you want to create ad tags. After selecting all the ad units, click Generate tags at the bottom.
  • Then, go to the Tag type drop-down menu and select one – Google Ad Manager Tag, Google Publisher Tag (Asynchronous), and Google Publisher Tag (Synchronous).
  • Tick the Enable Single Request. This is optional. You can skip it.
  • Then, copy the generated tag (in the Document header) for the header and paste it to the header code of your website. This tag contains Publisher ID and all ad units for that particular page. 
  • After doing this, copy the tags generated (in the Document body) and paste them below <body> tag in your website’s source code.


Generating Ad Tag | Set up google DFP

Once the aforementioned steps are done, the ad server is ready to serve ads on your website.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Google Ad Manager?

Google Ad Manager is an ad server. It is a technology that enables the publishers to define, manage, and monitor ad inventories on their web, mobile app, or video ad inventories in order to display various types of ads.

What’s the Eligibility Criteria to get a Google Ad Manager Account?

If you’re a publisher receiving 1 million+ page views per month, then you can signup for Google Ad Manager Account.

Can I get Google Ad Manager Account without Adsense Account?

No, In order to get a Google Ad Manager Account, you must have to signup for Google Adsense.

How to Set up Google DFP for Small Business?

Here’s how you can set up a Google DFP account for a small business.

  • Create Ad Units
  • Create New Order
  • Create New Line Item
  • Add Targeting
  • Define Ad Creative
  • Generate Ad Tags


In this post, we’ve seen how to set up Google DFP and run ads. But your job isn’t done here. Google Ad Manager setup is basic, you can utilize passback tags and advanced techniques like header bidding to take complete advantage of your ad server. Whatever we’ve followed applies to all the campaigns you’ll create in the near future – you just need to change the priority, targeting, etc. to ensure proper delivery.

Have more questions? Let us know in the comments. Need personalized recommendations or setup assistance, we’re a click away

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.

Previous Post
Backfill Remnant Ad Impressions
How to Setup Backfil...
Adtech weekly 105
Next Post
Weekly Roundup: Covi...
    Leave a Reply