How Will DFP’s Downloaded Impressions Affect Publishers?

DoubleClick For Publishers / Google Ad Manager Policy, News & Updates
Last updated: October 7, 2019 | by Kean Graham

This post was most recently updated on October 7th, 2019

In October of last year, we wrote about the new standard in DFP impression count: Downloaded Impressions. The goal is to standardize impression counting, as recommended by IAB. This proves to be highly beneficial to both publishers and advertisers in a lot of ways. Particularly for publishers, it spells better campaigns and an increase in ad revenues – but there are adjustments to make, especially in terms of site and ad optimization.

Related: What is Downloaded Impressions?

For starters, here’s the timeline from Doubleclick as they roll out this new impression count mechanism:

  • Phase 1A [February 6th, 2017]: DFP reporting will add a metric called “Ad server downloaded impressions” to allow you to see the difference compared to currently served reporting metrics. For accuracy, this metric should only be queried for data post-February 1, 2017. To help you use this metric, we’ve created a new System Query called ‘Downloaded impressions’.
  • Phase 1B [early-March 2017]: DFP Active View Eligible impressions will use “Ad server downloaded impressions” instead of “ad server impressions”. This will likely increase Active View viewable % metrics in DFP reporting for most publishers.
  • Phase 2 [March 2017]: AdX backfill in DFP will be counted using downloaded impressions
  • Phase 3 [Early Q4 2017]: Downloaded impressions become the measurement of record for DFP. Publishers will be able to bill advertisers for downloaded impressions.

Note that counting of the Impressions metric in DFP will not change until Q4/2017 at the earliest. Until then, downloaded impressions will be provided as a separate metric alongside the existing impression metrics.

Here’s how Downloaded Impressions will affect publishers and how you can leverage this to your advantage:

1) Less impression discrepancies

Because the impression count is standardized, there’ll be less discrepancies in counting served versus viewed impressions. It will be the new measurement used in reporting across all platforms and devices.

2) Improves viewability rates

This new way of measuring impressions will have a positive effect on a publisher’s viewability rates. First, it will only count “downloaded” impressions and not just the served ones. By taking into account only the number of times the ad creatives were successfully downloaded or displayed, it closes the gap between impression count and viewability rates — or the measure of impressions that were actually viewed by users.

3) Builds confidence of advertisers in publishers

Data transparency is key for better data-driven marketing insights. The only way for advertisers to trust publishers, or to have confidence in digital marketing as a whole as if they are able to see an accurate measurement of their return on investment. Advertisers can draw more informed conclusions if there is less discrepancy in data. In effect, publishers benefit from this confidence boost by gaining more business.

4) Website and ad optimization is a must!

Now here comes the tricky part. Despite a better way of counting impressions, publishers are now tasked to move in the direction of improving user-experience, instead of user-deception. Gone are the days when you can trick users to click something to launch an ad. In this modern age of advertising, the user is king! That means if you want them to “download” or view your ads, then your site has to meet the following requirements:


Make sure your site displays perfectly on all devices. If users cannot see the content on a mobile device, they will most likely not see the ad

Faster page load time

If your page won’t load, do you expect your ads to be any different? So optimizing for shorter page load times is important. This is actually the door to monetization. Now that more people are browsing through mobile, rather than desktop, the attention span is shorter. Aim to load your pages in less than 3 seconds.

Increase speed of ad placements

One major advice: Implement lazy-loading. It’s a technique where ads only load once the user is active on a specific portion of your page. This, in turn, will lift off the pressure of loading all your ads all at once. In effect, it also increases your viewability rates because ads only display when the user is present on the area.

5 Steps to Increase the Speed of your Ad Placements

Also, take note that “downloaded impressions” means that impressions will be counted only until the following elements have been loaded: content surrounding the ad; DFP tag, and creatives that DFP serves. Ultimately, content and ad optimization are key factors in using this new measurement in counting impressions.

5) DFP Knowledge is a priority

Knowledge in managing the DFP ad server is more important than ever. With all the recent updates and tips for optimizing your ad inventory, it’s essential to have at least the basic know-how of utilizing the most popular and most integrated ad server in the world.

If you need a walkthrough or a refresher course on DFP, just follow our #Learn2MonetizeMore Video Tutorials

For more advanced strategies to improve viewability rates and increase CPMs, sign up as our Premium Publisher. We’ll do all the optimization work for you to meet your revenue targets.

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