About line items
Line items contain information about how specific ad creatives are intended to serve to your website or app along with pricing and other delivery details. Line items are added to orders and contain details like:
- The number of times your advertiser or buyer wants an ad creative to serve
- The cost you negotiated for the campaign
- Start and end times of the campaign
- Targeting that allows your advertiser or buyer to reach its intended audience or demographic
If you're already familiar with order and line item settings, you can go to Add line items for step-by-step instructions.
If you're still learning about line items, you can get familiar with their settings in this article. You might consider starting a new line item in Ad Manager to compare the product user interface with the descriptions below.
Good to know about line items
- Line items are also the place you later add the ad creative the advertiser wants to serve to your website or app.
- Line items always belong to an order and can only belong to one order. Orders can have multiple line items.
- Line items are created directly for traditional campaigns under the "Delivery" section of Ad Manager.
Line items could also have been automatically created based on a proposal line items negotiated under the Programmatic Direct feature. Proposal line items are created under the "Sales" section of Ad Manager.
These details result from a negotiation with the advertiser mentioned in the order or, for Programmatic Direct campaigns, the buyer in the proposal. If you're a trafficker at a larger organization, these details are often negotiated by someone else, and your job is to understand how to input or manage the details of the campaign.
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Ad type describes the kind of creative type you need to upload or associate with the line item later. Ad type ensures line item settings are aligned with the expected creative—either a display creative or a video or audio creative.
Work with the advertiser, or the ad creative agency representing the advertiser, to understand the ad creative requirements. You need to understand these requirements to:
- Select the right ad type
- Configure line item settings correctly
- Choose the appropriate creative type
The creative type is chosen when you later add new creatives.
Ad types are:
- Display (Standard)
- Display (Master/companion) Google Ad Manager 360 only
- Video or audio
You may notice that these ad types align with the structure of the creative library.
Display ad type
The "Display" ad type allows you to create a variety of ad experiences from standard image ads and Campaign Manager 360 URLs to built-in forms and custom solutions. Under "Display", Google Ad Manager 360 publishers can choose:
- Standard: for stand-alone creatives
- Master/companion: to add multiple creatives that serve together—often desired by advertisers to show more than one ad creative on a page at the same time Only available in Google Ad Manager 360.
Learn more about all the display creative types available in Types of display creatives.
Video and audio ad types
Video Solutions may not be activated for your network.
The "Video and audio" ad type supports a variety of ad experiences, including video ads that appear within a video player during streaming content, video ads appear are shown outside of a video player, rewarded ads, images that show over video content (overlays), and redirects to third‑party hosted ads. It also includes audio ads.
By default, video and audio creatives can include optional companion creatives to the main or "master" creative. If you don't need a companion, simply don't add one while working with the video or audio creative.
Learn more about all video and creative types available in Types of video and audio creatives.
The name of your line item should be something descriptive about the campaign and ad creative that's associated with the line item.
If you or your organization don't have a naming convention, it might be a good idea to develop one. A good naming convention allows you to see what the campaign is about quickly and may reference or follow some convention for the order name. Some naming conventions also include ad sizes, descriptor of the ad creatives associated, or the buyer or advertiser included in the master order.
A good naming convention later allows you to more easily filter for line items or use universal search to find line items and more.
Line item type and priority
Line item type and priority are a starting point to determine how a line item competes with other line items. Not all line items have the same importance. Some line items may be contractually guaranteed to serve or may promise more revenue than others. These can be prioritized higher than other line items.
Line item type and priority also determine how a line item competes with yield groups, a feature that allows you to specify what inventory you want to make available to Ad Exchange, Open Bidding, or mediation for mobile apps.
Learn more about Line item types and priorities.
Expected creatives represent the ad sizes of the ad creatives you plan to show. The actual creatives are associated with the line item later.
Size and ad type together determine which creative types (either display or video and audio) are available when you later add a creatives to line items. Work with your advertiser, or the creative agency developing the ad creative for your advertiser, to determine size and other requirements.
Later in the line item, you need to target ad units. Ad units represent the ad space on your website or app, and by targeting the ad units, you're indicating where the ad creative should display. The size indicated in "Expected creatives" should match sizes associated with the ad units you add to targeting later.
Sizes specified in "Expected creatives" are sometimes placeholders for special creatives rather than actual sizes:
- Audio ads use the "Audio" creative size
- Native ads are appended with "(Native)"
In either case, the size indicated doesn't represent actual sizes but lets Ad Manager know you're serving special creative.
You may remove sizes even after you've added creatives of that size to the line item and the line items begins to show the ad creative to users.
Once you define a size, the relevant creative will continue to serve impressions even after removing the size from the line item. The line item stops serving impressions only when the ad creatives are deactivated.
Show creative details
The Show creative details option allows you to add more information for the ad creatives. These details help more accurately forecast delivery or allow you to include details that help ads serve in a particular way. Forecasting is a mechanism that allows Ad Manager to roughly predict how many impressions a line item could serve.
Creative targeting allows you to add targeting that only applies to the ad creative in a line item. Whereas line item targeting applies to all creatives in a line item, targeting at the creative level can be configured differently from (but be consistent with) line item targeting.
Creative targeting is a flexible tool and can be useful for a variety of purposes, including serving multiple creatives in a line item to different ad slots (or ad units) or helping your advertiser reach different audiences with different creatives. Learn more in Creative targeting.
Creative targeting and Programmatic Direct
Creative targeting is only available when more than one size is included in a Sponsorship or Standard proposal line item and the "Creative source" is set to Publisher managed. Click Show creative details in the proposal line item to configure additional sizes. While you must add additional sizes in the proposal line item, creative-level targeting itself is configured in the corresponding line item, not the originating proposal line item.
Some line items require more than one creative for the same size to help ads serve in a particular way. You can add a count for each creative size to meet this requirement. Adding count also improves the accuracy of forecasting since it accounts for multiple impressions from the same ad request.
Display creatives setting: When there are multiple creatives of the same size, Display creatives setting should be set to As many as possible or One or more.
The use of "roadblocks" is a common case in which multiple impressions occur from the same ad request. A roadblock allows more than one creatives to serve together on the same webpage. Entering a value for Count takes into consideration that there are multiple creatives for the same ad request and, therefore, provided more accurate forecasting.
Count and Programmatic Direct
Work with buyers to see if they need to serve multiple creatives of the same size. If so, specify Count in the proposal line item. Count ensures that Ad Manager requests the correct number of creatives of the same size from buyer's system. Learn more about best practices setting up roadblocks in proposal line items in Roadblocks.
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is an open-source code. The AMP Project is an initiative that aims to make webpages faster and more consistent across devices. Learn more in AMP pages and monetization.
The AMP-only setting can be found under Show creative details for line items with the "Display (Standard)" ad type. Line items with the "Display (Master/companion)" ad type or the "Video" ad type do not have the AMP-only option.
Selecting AMP-only helps only with forecasting and does not affect ad serving. Select this option only if the expected creative you upload later is:
- A custom OR third-party creative
- The creative is configured to contain only AMPHTML
As a trafficker managing a line item, if you're later adding a custom or third-party creative, ensure that this creative contains only AMPHTML code before you select AMP-only.
About custom and a third-party creatives
Custom creatives and a third-party creatives contain code or other assets to ensure an ad creative shows on a website or app as the advertiser desires. These creative types are often created and managed by someone with technical expertise. Learn more about the technical details of these creative types in Develop and manage custom creatives and Develop and manage third-party creatives.
As a trafficker, you likely don't need to understand the code or other details about how these creatives were developed. Instead, communicate with the developers of the creative and make sure that line item settings are aligned with the expected creative.
Ad unit frequency capping
Frequency caps limit the number of times a user is served an ad creative in a given span of time. Using frequency caps improves the experience of people visiting your website or app as they won't be served the same ad multiple times in a short period of time.
You can add a frequency cap label to a specific creative size in your line item. The creatives associated of that size later abide by the frequency caps settings for that label. Learn more about Labels and frequency caps.
Native media orientation
Sets the expected orientation of a native video creative: Landscape, Portrait, or Square. Ad Manager only serves native creatives with the specified orientation in native video ad requests.
Additional settings are optional—you can save, approve, and run your line item without setting them. However, work with your advertiser to understand its requirements and whether some of these should be set.
Labels are used to group objects for a variety of purposes. Often, labels are used for competitive exclusions, which prevents ads of similar products from showing on the same page—helpful if you have multiple advertisers who sell similar products. Learn more in About labels.
Competitive exclusion settings allow you to control if ads from different brands or advertisers, who compete with similar products or services, should serve at the same time on the same page or within same app. Learn more in Competitive exclusion settings and more about Competitive exclusion labels.
For example, if you have two car manufacturers advertising across your network, showing ads for both of their cars at the same time may not result in a good experience for users of your website or app. Doing so may reflect poorly on the brands of both manufacturers, and both advertisers may want to avoid this from happening.
Comments are free-form text and can be purposed for any notes shared by people who are working on the same line item.
Custom fields are created by an Ad Manager administrator or other user with similar permissions. Administrator can add fields things like orders, line items, creatives, proposals, and proposal line items. They capture information that isn't available in Ad Manager by default.
As someone who creates or works with line items, you may need to work with a custom field. For example, your organization might want you, as a trafficker, to indicate a custom identifier for campaigns that shows which sales team worked on a line item. You or someone at your organization can then later report against the value indicated.
Learn more about how administrator create custom fields in Custom fields.
Start and end times
Start and end times indicate how long the campaign should run.
The time and date shown typically reflect the network time zone—that is, the time zone set for the entire network as configured by when setting up your Ad Manager network.
However, Ad Manager administrators can activate a feature that lets you change your trafficking time zones. If activated, you can edit your user settings to update your time zone to match your location. Updating your time zone might be useful if you work for a large network where there are users spread across multiple time zones.
Blackouts allow you to set time periods when ad requests aren't sent to line items or shared with assignment partners. Blackouts can be used instead of creating multiple line items that must deliver from during different time ranges but are otherwise the same.
Multiple blackout periods within the same line item are allowed but must fall within the overall start and end times. Time entries are rounded to the nearest hour. Blackout periods more than half of the overall time range may lead to inconsistent pacing.
Quantity, Goal, Limit (volume)
The volume entered may appear as "Quantity", "Goal", or "Limit" depending on the line item type selected.
- Goal applies to the Sponsorships, Network, House line item types. The value describes a percentage of impressions a line item is intended to serve, based on a prediction. Goal doesn't promise a particular number of impressions, and the number delivered often depends on the priority of the line item.
- Quantity applies to the Standard and Bulk line item types. Quantity could be entered as either impressions or clicks, depending on the line item type, and indicates a specific number that the the line item is intended to achieve. The number delivered depends on the priority of the line item. Bulk, being lower priority, may underdeliver as other, higher-priority line items use impressions to fulfil their goal or quantity.
- Limit applies to the Price Priority line item type. The value entered describes either a daily or lifetime caps of impressions or clicks. Price Priority line items can be used to fill your site's unsold inventory with the highest paying line item available.
The price negotiated with your advertiser or buyer, which is applied to the number of impressions, clicks, or the goal entered.
- CPM: cost-per-thousand impressions
- CPC: cost-per-click
- CPD: cost-per-day
- CPA: cost per action—an action is a conversion, which is an action a user takes on an advertiser's website after viewing or clicking on an ad
- vCPM: viewable cost-per-thousand impressions. Only applies when "Viewable impressions" are activated for the line item.
For some line item types, you can also set a value CPM, which sets the value at which non-guaranteed campaigns competes.
Increasing CPM won't impact existing numbers in reporting, only future impressions will record at the new CPM.
(Only appears for line items with a Sponsorship line item type and CPM rate) The total number of impressions that can be served for the lifetime of the line item. The limit can prevent the line item from using too much inventory after achieving its goals if there is more traffic than expected. The line item will stop serving once the limit or end date is reached, whichever comes first.
Amount by which the total value of the line item is to be reduced, either as an absolute value or a percentage of the total value. A discount can serve as an additional negotiating point with an advertiser or buyer, a reflection of an ongoing or new relationship with the negotiating party, or representing quid pro quo for services or products traded with the advertiser or buyer.
The value entered is for reference only and doesn't impact revenue reports or affect delivery.
Total value is a factor of volume (quantity/goal/limit) times rate, minus discount:
(volume × rate) - discount = total value
The total values in line items sum to the total projected value in their order. Let's review an example. Take the following line item:
- Line item type: Standard
- Quantity: 1 million impressions
- CPM rate: $10
Total value would be calculated at $10,000 in this case. Total value of each line item belonging to an order sums to the "Total projected value" for that order.
Changes to volume or rate mid-flight
Total value is always a projected value of current line item settings. Previous delivery for a currently delivering line item is not taken into account. Total value is simply recalculated based on new values.
However, changes mid-flight (while delivery is in progress) to the volume (and volume only, not rate) of a line item do affect how "Total projected value" is calculated in orders. Learn more about total projected value.
"Adjust delivery" provides a variety of tools that allow you to fine tune delivery.
The "Deliver impressions" setting can control ad delivery pacing. The default setting (Evenly) allows Ad Manager to pace ads equally across the start and end dates of a line item. This option is typically the best unless your advertiser requests a different pacing option.
- Evenly (default): The line item delivers evenly until the end date
- As fast as possible: Never considered "on schedule" and tries to deliver ads as much as possible
- Frontloaded: Begins serving as much as 40% higher than a goal tapering off as the line item draws to its end
Learn more in Change the delivery speed of a line item.
When there are multiple active creatives in a single line item, you can use settings to control how creatives can be displayed on a single webpage.
- One or more: When possible, serve multiple creatives in the line item per ad request
- Only one: Only serve one creative in this line item per ad request
- As many as possible: Prioritizes creatives associated with this line item
- All: All creatives must serve to the ad request or not at all
Count: When there are multiple creatives of the same size, a count should be set and "Display creatives" should be set to As many as possible or One or more.
There are additional configuration details and best practices in Display creatives.
If your line item contains multiple creatives, you can define which creative displays as part of a rotation when the line item is delivered to user. Options include:
- Evenly: Each creative is displayed equally at random.
- Optimized: Creative with the highest CTR displays more often.
- Weighted: Creatives displayed at a frequency you define.
- Sequential: Creatives display to each user in the order you specify.
Learn more in Rotate multiple creatives for a line item.
Child directed ads
Allow line items to serve child-directed ads. This setting allows you to comply with COPPA. For YouTube Partner Sellers, please note that YouTube's content policies for kids are applicable.
Day and time
Sets line items to run only during specific hours or days, or as little as 15 minutes per week. Day and time settings are useful for advertisers that want to reach users at times optimal to their campaign. For instance, suppose your advertiser is a national restaurant chain that wants to promote happy hour specials. You can help your advertiser reach users at the optimal time—say, Monday through Friday from 4 pm to 6 pm.
If you need to user day and time settings, there are some best practice with geographic targeting you should review to ensure you're serving your advertisers' needs.
Settings ads to show only parts of a day can also be referred to as "dayparting".
Frequency caps limit the number of times that a given user can be shown a creative within a specified time period. Frequency caps improve the ad experience for users of your websites or apps. They also add value to the offerings you can provide to advertisers since users who see the same ad repeatedly are less likely to engage with an ad.
As a trafficker of line items, you can simply set frequency caps to the desired rate.
If you need to understand more about the technical details of how frequency caps work, review Set frequency caps for a line item. You can learn about the identifiers Ad Manager uses to apply frequency caps properly. You can also learn about how frequency caps are applied across various devices when first- or third-party cookies cookies are used. These details might help you explain to advertisers why frequency caps are behaving in an unexpected way.
Targeting allows you to limit where a line item shows ad creatives. Limiting where ads shows helps advertisers reach their intended users, demographic, or audience—which adds more value to a campaign.
Once common type of targeting, for instance, is geographic targeting, which can limit a line item to show its ad creatives in geographic areas you specify. For an advertiser trying to reach people in New York City, for example, geographic targeting of this kind is invaluable.
There are many targeting types, and each work a little differently. Work closely with your advertisers to understand their requirements. Carefully review About targeting types to ensure that you have a thorough understanding of how targeting works and that you're applying targeting in a way that reflects your advertiser's requirement.
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