After hearing all the exciting news and new features of the new DFP ad tags (aka. Google Publisher Tags), how could a publisher not want to implement them immediately? Google’s new asynchronous tags are supposed to deliver better performance by loading faster than single request ad serving of the past. In addition, publishers should be able to serve ads in emails and newsletters while DFP has the ability to serve passback ads.
That all sounds great, right? Well, we fell for it too. We implemented the new tags for several clients and encountered a few problems:
Ad Exchange CPM’s Dropped: The exact day we implemented the Google publisher tags, we saw an immediate drop in CPM’s. The day after we saw close to 20% drops in CPM. Mind you, this was in Q4 when CPM’s are supposed to consistently climb approaching Christmas. Every year we’ve operated we’ve consistently seen rising CPM’s toward the end of the year, but not this year.
- Ad Fill Coverage Dropped: As soon as we implemented the Google publisher tags, we saw drops in ad impressions immediately. We compared this to the site’s Analytics and saw no consistency. The traffic remained constant but the ad impressions dropped by an average of 10%. Therefore, the new DFP ad tags served a lower percentage of functional ads versus the old tags.
- Non-existent Third Party Ad Network Passback Capability: Google claimed the new DFP ad tags enabled the capability to send passback ad tags to third-party ad networks of the publisher’s choosing. This is a feature that DFP Premium offers and is the optimal passback strategy for any publisher. However, this feature did not work for Google publisher tags. Many DFP reps that we’ve spoken to admitted to this and vowed to make this feature work in the future.
Overall, the new DFP ad tags have been a huge and expensive disappointment. We have reverted back to the old DFP ad tags for new clients and are in the process of doing so with established clients. We believe the drop in Ad Exchange CPM is attributable to the fact that DFP ad tags are iFrames. Expandable ads are not able to be served in iFrames without additional external code setup. Expandable ads go for high CPM’s and the new DFP ad tags aren’t able to serve them properly, negatively affecting Ad Exchange CPM’s.
The new iFrame ad tags are likely the reason why the fill of functional ads dropped by an average of 10%. Expandable ads and certain rich media ads in third-party ad networks weren’t able to serve properly. The lack of a third party ad network capability was due to Google’s inadequate cooperation and communication with third-party ad networks. It’s important to ask your Google rep about these specific features first before implementing the new GPT tags. If you don’t have a Google rep feel free to reach out to us and we can assist.
Keep in mind these tags are still in beta so we would recommend being patient and waiting on implementing the new tags once they’ve been tested further. In the meantime, stick with those old tags and proceed with caution before implementing Google’s new tags.