Publishers now have a means of checking ad delivery problems without inducing invalid ad impressions in Google DFP with the Publisher Console as an on-screen debugging tool to enable you to:
- Check all ad units and creatives on a page, and to;
- Guide you in visualizing the ad request behavior of a web page.
This is available only when your network uses the Google Publisher Tag (GPT). What’s good about this is that DFP won’t count the impressions you generate when you check ads via the console.
Update for 2019: Google Publisher Toolbar has been deprecated and is unreliable. Download our PubGuru Ad Inspector, the best reviewed alternative! Download the Chrome Extension today!
How does Google Publisher Console work?
Step 1: Add ?google_console to your page’s URL. For example, if your page is located at www.google.com/gpt, you’d modify the URL to www.google.com/gpt?google_console.
Step 2: Use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+F10 (on a Mac, use Function+Ctrl+F10) to open the console.
Step 3: Alternately, you can append ?google_force_console or ?googfc to your page’s URL to quickly display the console without doing step 2.
Example: www.google.com/gpt?google_force_console or www.google.com/gpt?googfc.
Step 4: For mobile devices, adding ?google_force_console or ?googfc will display a button to the bottom of the page (“Show Console”) which will open the publisher console in a separate window on the mobile device. To return to the page, just tap “Hide Console”.
Step 5: There are two main information tabs in the console: the “Ad Slots” and “Page Request”
The Ad Slots tab shows the following information:
- Publisher’s DFP ID
- Creative size
- Time to fetch and render this ad
- Links to helpful debugging information
To help you find the most important information quickly in your Ad Slots tab, check out the following:
Open Ad Unit in DFP: Opens the ad unit in the “Inventory” tab in their network.
Delivery diagnostics: Opens a new window with information about which line item is serving and the other line items eligible to serve to that ad slot.
Open Creative in a New Window: Opens the creative in a new window.
Note: To use the “Open Ad Unit in DFP” and “Delivery Diagnostics” links, you must be logged into a DFP network. Although the use of the Google Console is not restricted to the site owner, private network information through these links are not accessible to the public.
Step 6: The Page Request tab shows the following information:
- Tag checker will show a green check mark with the message “Page tagged correctly!” if there are no tagging errors
- Time to fetch and render ads
- HTTP user agent information
- Timeline of events in rendering ads, like the sequential view in a web proxy tool console
This tab can help troubleshoot why a page is loading slowly by showing the sequence of events that occurs during a page load.
Step 7: There is also a settings page which can be found when you click on the cog icon in the top-right corner of the console:
Note: There is a limit for the number of ad units on a page determined by the length of the ad request URL. If there are too many ad units on a page and the ad request URL limit exceeds 2,000 characters and gets truncated, you will get an error in the console: “Ad unit failed to fetch.”
Update for 2019: Google Publisher Toolbar has been deprecated and is unreliable to debug your ad setup. Download PubGuru Ad Inspector, the best reviewed alternative! Download the Chrome Extension today!