The Google Publisher Console is an excellent tool, used by publishers serving ads on their website through Google Ad Manager (GAM), which enables you to check the implementation of ad units and diagnose delivery issues. In order to access the Google Publisher Console, you must enable it in Google’s Chrome browser. If you haven’t already, we would recommend that you begin by reading the first part of our guide, as we shared step-by-step instructions on how to enable and access the Google Publisher Console. In the second part of the guide, we will be discussing how you can use the functions of the Google Publisher Console to diagnose ad delivery issues in the ad server.
How to use the Google Publisher Console
Now that you know how to enable publisher console, it is time to put that tool into action. The functions that you can use in the Google Publisher Console can be divided into two categories: public functions and private functions.
Public functions are the tools that you can use on any site that uses the Google Publisher Tag to serve ads.
Private functions are the tools that you can use if you are logged into the Google Ad Manager account that is utilized on a web page.
The Google Publisher Console can be used on any web page that uses the Google Publisher Tag to obtain information, however, the level of information you can obtain is limited. To get further insight into the auction and delivery of ad units, you must be an authorized user of the Google Ad Manager account associated with the web page.
The Public View
When you initially open the Google Publisher Console, you are given information about the ad setup on page within the Google Publisher Tag. There are two main tabs in publisher console that display page information, and also a ‘Settings’ page in the top right hand corner. In settings, you can change the language of publisher console and choose whether you’d like to see the overlays or not.
The ‘Ad Slots’ tab
The first tab is labelled ‘ad slots’ and this tab lists the ad slots present on page within GAM. Each ad slot is numbered and color coded and contains the following information regarding each ad unit:
- Publisher ID
- Overlay status
- Ad creative size
- Time taken to fetch and render the ad
- Ad fetch count which is useful for auto-refreshing ads.
- iFrame type
- Query ID assigned by Google that enables publishers to find the line item details associated with the ad slot.
- Warnings tell us whether there has been any unexpected behavior within one of the ad slots.
The ad slots tab also enables you to open a creative in a new window. With regards to overlays, the publisher console will attempt to put an overlay over every GAM ad displayed on page. If the ad does not render, the overlay will not be shown. The overlay tells us the following information about the ad slot:
- Line item type
- Publisher Network ID followed by the path down to the name of the ad unit.
- Creative link (which you can only access if you are an authorized user of the GAM account associated with the web page).
- Line item link (which you can only access if you are an authorized user of the GAM account associated with the web page).
The ‘Page Request’ tab
The second tab is labelled ‘page request’ and this tab enables us to diagnose and troubleshoot certain issues. For example, why a page is taking so long to load. The page request tab includes a summary of information about the page request that has been made. This includes:
- Page URL
- Browser and version
- Browser viewport size
- Property code
- List of warnings about any unexpected behavior
- Time taken to fetch and render ads
The page request tab also gives us the option to reload the page either normally, without ads or without rendering. Without rendering means that ads will be called but not loaded onto the page. In this tab, you can also display a timeline of events in the ad fetching and rendering process within the Google Publisher Tag. This shows each step the page has taken to load and how long each step has taken, which enables us to diagnose page delays and to see how key values are being set within a page.
The Private View
If we are able to view privately as an authorized user with access to the GAM account associated with the web page, we can infer even more information related to delivery. The overlay will let us click on the links for the creatives and line items. The link will then take you straight into Ad Manager with the creative/line item open and from there, we can view or edit the settings. When looking at the ad slots, the information is similar to public view, however we are also able to select additional links. Firstly, we can click “Open the Ad Unit in Ad Manager” to go straight to the ad unit definition. Alternatively, we can open the ad request simulator through the ‘Delivery Diagnostics’ link and check or edit the settings.
We also have two additional buttons when logged in: “Audit this Page” and “Open in Delivery Tools.” The first function is fairly new and when clicked, it will take us to the Publisher Ads Audits for Lighthouse feature with the page URL already loaded. From there, you can then generate a report which will allow you to evaluate the speed and quality of the ads on page. Opening in delivery tools will enable you to inspect the delivery for all ad slots on the page.
The Google Publisher Console is an essential tool for any publisher using Ad Manager. In the next part, we’ll be sharing some practical examples of how our team uses the tool to solve real issues.
Part 3 – How to test new implementations, fix errors and block creatives using the Google Publisher Console