Thursday, September 04, 2008

Google Ad Manager Review

What is Google Ad Manager?
“Google Ad Manager is a hosted ad management solution that can help you sell, schedule, deliver, and measure all of your directly-sold and network-based inventory.”

The sentence try to tell so much that it confuses me what Ad Manager actually do. Basically it is an Advertising Solution, allow you to deliver Ad from various sources on your website. You could serve Ads which you gotten directly from your client, or serve Ads from 3rd party Ads Provider; when your Ads Space is Idle (no client), you could serve Google AdSense Ads in between.

It's quite similar to OpenX, except OpenX is not hosted.

What It Is Not

I don’t think it actually help you sell Ad Space literally, where you have to find your own clients who wanted to advertise on your website. It doesn’t provide a mechanism for your clients to register online and start advertising (like Google AdWord), but it does support a Salesperson role (you hire someone) which could create the advertisement on your behalf pending your approval.

What does it Offer?

  • Inventory – This represent the Ad Space in your website. The smallest unit is Ad Slots (like Ads Unit in AdSense, specifying its location and size). One or more Ad Slots can be grouped into Placements (like Channel in AdSense). One or more Placements can be group into Ad Products, it’s like the Final Ad Product to be sold to the customer with price and cost type (CPC or CPM) specified.
  • Orders – We would place an order for the Ad Space on behalf on our client. We have normal order (directly-sold) or network order (from 3rd part ad provider). Each order (lets say the client wanted CPC ads, willing to pay RM 0.10 per click with a budget of RM 100 for September 2008) will be delivered through Line Items, where we specified how to deliver the Ads (which Ad Slot and Placements to use, time, frequency, etc). If it’s directly-sold ads, then we have to create the Creative (which is the actual Ad in the form of Flash, Image or Html).
  • Reports – It had reports for Delivery Report, Sales Report and Inventory Report. How do we prove to the client that their advertisement had work well, or achieved the targeted CPM or CPC? The Delivery can show the Impressions and Clicks by Date, Hour, Line Item, Ad Slot, but does not show which IP address and actual time of each click. The reports is only exportable to CSV and not PDF at the moment, so it might not served to be a very useful report for paying customers.
  • Admin – Allow user creations based on role such as Administrator, Salesperson, Sales Manager, Trafficker and Executive. It tracks all the Change History as well.
Relationship with AdSense
You need an AdSense account to use Ad Manager, but it’s not mandatory to serve AdSense Ads (though very convenient). Ad Slots created in Ad Manager is not shown as Ad Unit in AdSense, but Placement is shown as Channel in AdSense. If you Ad Space are unoccupied, you can automatically serve up AdSense ads. I think this is part of Google Strategy to capture publisher who had yet to serve AdSense Ads (making it extremely convenient), while still giving them the power to choose their preferred Ads source.

Why use Ad Manager?
  • If you plan to serve up other Ads besides Google AdSense, or sell your Ads Space by yourself.
  • Google provided a reliable server and free software.
  • All Ads Serving is done through JavaScript (like AdSense), so you don’t have to temper with your code too much.
Beta Warning
Ad Manager is still not very stable with some very obvious bugs at this stage; probably it’s worth waiting for a while longer.


Ad Slots, Placement, Ad Products Relationship

User Roles

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