Best Practices in Creating Google Ad Manager Ad Units

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Last updated: August 10, 2023 | by aleesha

This post was most recently updated on August 10th, 2023

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Our main goal is to help you form habits that conform to GAM best practices when creating Google Ad Manager (GAM) ad units.  Let’s begin!

1. Go to Inventory

2. Click on Ad Units

3. Click New Ad Unit

4. Fill in Code: GAM will notify in case of duplicates as this field should always be unique. This identifies the ad unit in the associated ad tag. Ad unit codes can be up to 100 characters in length. Only letters, numbers, underscores, hyphens, periods, asterisks, forward slashes, backslashes, exclamations, left angle brackets, colons, and parentheses are allowed.


  • Always use lower case so you won’t even think of it for a second. It becomes a standard/default.
  • Use this format: <page>_<placement>_<position>_<size>

Example: sports_side_atf_300x600

(Feel free to use whichever is applicable to your inventory)

5. Fill in Name: Automatically copies the Code

6. Write Description– This is optional but it exists so you can easily identify ad unit contents, placements or however you like it.

Tip: This is useful, especially for large inventories. When trafficking line items, you are able to see the description you input.

7. Go to Size and pick the appropriate option:

Fixed-size: This is used to specify the ad size/s intended to fill the unit. This is displayed as width x height.

Tip: You may add as many ad sizes as you want. This is to serve more than one ad size for a given ad spot (e.g. 728×90/970×90).

Smart banner: This is for mobile apps only. If you choose this option, GAM will choose the largest available ad to fill the space available for a given ad request.

For Video (VAST) sizes: This applies if you’re creating a video ad unit, specify size on this field. (further, discuss in another video)

8. Select Target window

_top: Choose this if you want the ad’s landing page to open in the current window.

_blank: This is if you want the ad to open in a new window, thus keeping your site open even when a user clicks or interacts with the ads.

9. Plug-in Placements

If you created the placement/s in the Placements section of the inventory, you may choose to add the ad unit/s here. This is to group certain ad units which advertisers can target at once if needed. If no placement was created, this box will be empty.

Tip: Click ‘include’ to add the ad unit you’re creating. Selected ad unit will appear under ‘Selected Items’ which you may exclude again by clicking ‘x’ icon or reset.

10. Scroll down to click ‘override’ in the AdSense Inventory Settings.

11. Uncheck “Maximize revenue of unsold and remnant inventory with AdSense”. This is the recommended setting especially if you run Google Ad Exchange in dynamic allocation instead of AdSense. You wouldn’t also want to fill every unsold ad unit to AdSense, but have good performing ad networks compete on price priority instead to fill every remnant impression.

12. Go to Ad unit frequency caps. This can be used when labels are applied for frequency capping rules. Labels are created in the admin page. When you click on ‘Add a labeling rule’, you can set up to how many times a creative can show up for a unique user, assign a label, and choose the time range. Labels could be Competitive exclusion, Ad exclusion, or Ad unit frequency cap (can demo in a separate vid). Remember this option is optional.

13. Another optional step is the Refresh rate and this is ONLY for mobile apps. This is useful

for apps where users tend to stay on one screen for long periods of time. Ad units may be refreshed at specific intervals. Be careful with your preference as some ad networks have a strict policy in place regarding ad refresh rates.

14. Click Save.

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