How to use AdSense with Google Ad Manager and Ad Exchange

Last updated: September 15, 2021 | by Kean Graham
How to Use AdSense with Google Ad Manager and Ad Exchange

This post was most recently updated on September 15th, 2021

Website ad monetization and optimization are always evolving. Google continuously develops techniques and platforms to extend their dominance in the industry. If you are a publisher, you most likely started earning ad revenue from your website through Google AdSense.

As you expand your site and start generating more traffic, it makes sense to venture into more sophisticated and programmatic ad monetization methods.

Google Ad Exchange is typically the next step in this sequence. It offers premium demand and has several features that allow publishers to customize how they want ad spaces utilized. Publishers can also manage their ad inventory by using Google Ad Manager (previously known as DFP).

As you probably already know, Google revamped its platforms. DFP and Ad Exchange are now known as Google Ad Manager.

Google Ad Manager vs AdSense

For publishers that are new to ad optimization. Keep in mind the AdSense is a Google-owned ad network where Ad Manager is Google’s ad server.

Can I have access to both AdSense and Ad Exchange under Ad Manager?

Unlike Ad Exchange and DFP, AdSense remained unchanged when Google rebranded its products. It is still a separate ad network that is accessible to most publishers, especially those that are still building traffic.

Gaining access to Ad Exchange is not as simple as it is with AdSense. Most publishers partner with a Scaled Partner Manager (SPM) to tap into the Ad Exchange demand and benefits. In essence, if you meet the minimum requirements of these SPMs, you can utilize both of these ad networks for your sites.

Once you have access to both of these ad platforms, you can integrate them into Ad Manager. Through additional strategies and techniques, you can maximize ad revenue using the ad server.

Here are just some of the ways to use AdSense with Ad Exchange through Google Ad Manager:

AdSense Dynamic Allocation

Dynamic allocation allows publishers to earn the highest rate for each ad impression. It works by allowing Ad Exchange and AdSense to compete with other line items in Google Ad Manager. The process occurs while ensuring that it does not hamper the guaranteed delivery of each line item.

It’s essential to take note that AdSense and Ad Exchange will compete with other line item types, but they will not compete with each other. Google will randomly pick between Ad Exchange and AdSense for the winning impressions.

AdSense and Ad Exchange

With dynamic allocation, both AdX and AdSense line items will only deliver if their CPM is better than competing line items in Ad Manager.

Each line item type has a priority level. Below is a table for reference on the priority levels of different line item types. The larger the number, the lesser in priority it becomes.

Line Item Type Priority
Sponsorship 4
Standard (High) 6
Standard (Normal) 8
Standard (Low) 10
Ad Exchange 12
AdSense 12
Network 12
Bulk 12
Price Priority 12

AdSense – House Priority Line Item

A house priority line item has the lowest delivery priority. You can use AdSense tags as backfill, which will function as a catch-all. This will be essential as you will strategize with your AdX floors to further improve your earnings.

After creating your ad unit in AdSense, get the tags and create a new line item with “House” type.

house line item type

Upload the tags as a Third Party creative. You might need multiple tags per size, or you can also use a responsive tag, depending on how you’d like to set it up inside Ad Manager.

third party creative

Update: This will no longer be allowed by Google starting on the 1st of May 2020.

AdSense – Price Priority Line Item

Another method is to make AdSense compete with Ad Exchange for your ad inventories. Similar to using AdSense tags as a House type, you will need to create your Price Priority line item and upload your AdSense tags as a third-party creative.

upload your AdSense tags as a third party creative

This type of setup requires regular CPM optimization inside Ad Manager. You will need to set your Price Priority line item’s value CPM to the actual average CPM that the AdSense ad unit is giving.

It’s also essential that you optimize your Ad Exchange floors and look for that sweet spot with your floors and rates. Consistent optimization is key to increasing your earnings.


Although using these 3 Google products will work for many publishers, you don’t want to leave money on the table. You can even further maximize your yield by increasing the auction pressure through Header Bidding and using several ad network partners.

If you want a hassle-free Header Bidding setup with strong page RPM performance and ad optimization experts to manage your ad inventory for you, sign up for a Premium account at MonetizeMore today!

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