As a publisher, it is difficult to track down unwanted ad creatives and block ads when running many ad networks simultaneously. It is essential to have a strategy to efficiently track down these ad creatives, the advertiser and the ad network it originates from.
There are several tools at your disposal. If you’re using Google Chrome you can simply right click on the ad and inspect the element. If you use Firefox, you can download an extension called Firebug and right click the ad and inspect the element. When you inspect the element it will show a pop-up of the pages generated code. It will highlight the specific generated code that has come from that ad unit. You will need to search through the code for a recognizable ad server URL. It will look like a base URL in the middle of a mess of generic code. If you’re not able to attribute the URL with any of your current ad networks, copy & paste that URL into Google Search and see what results you get. The results should show one of your ad networks. You will want to print screen the image with the generated code and a view of the ad like so:
Another piece of evidence in the generated code is the line item name within the code. You will usually find this towards the top of the code.
It is easy to tell if the ad is coming from AdSense or Google Ad Exchange. Those ads are signified by the blue triangle at the top corner. Chitika also has this as well, however, the Chitika ads also have a specific look that is completely different from Google. If the undesired ad is coming from Google AdSense or Ad Exchange, it is important to hover your mouse over the ad and view the bottom left corner of your screen. You should be able to see the destination URL from doing this. You can take this destination URL and put it in the list of blocked URLs in the AdSense or Ad Exchange bank of blocked URLs.
If the undesired ad comes from a different ad network you will most likely have to notify your ad rep. Some ad networks have a manual URL or advertiser block list within their reporting interface. If so, you can simply block the advertiser or creative yourself. If not, send an email with the above pic of the generated code and ad creative to your ad rep requesting him/her to block the ad creative or advertiser ASAP.
It is also important to proactively block ads if you have an idea of a specific category or vertical that you don’t want to be on your site. You can do this on Google AdSense and Ad Exchange proactively on your own. Ad networks like ValueClick, Tribal Fusion, 247 and Casale allow you to block advertisers proactively on your own. For other ad networks, we recommend sending a list of blocked URLs to them when you start the relationship. It’s important to continue to compile a master list of blocked URLs. If you prefer to block categories, you should discuss this with your ad rep and they should be able to accommodate your needs.
You can be proactive when blocking ad creatives, advertisers and categories of ads when dealing with your ad networks. It is also important to have a reactive strategy for advertisements that slip through the cracks. No matter how proactive you are, you will not catch them all from the start. If you would like to discuss how we could help you bolster your advertiser quality assurance strategy.