The Cxense Advertising Platform is built to provide a simple Advertising solution that can evolve with your business needs. As you add complexity to your Ad Products, utilize multiple targeting mechanisms and advanced ad rendering techniques, the possibility for configuration errors increase... Our support team follows these steps, for any 'weheres my ads' type issue. Understanding this process will help you quickly diagnose your own issues, and empower you to maintain your Platform more effectively.
7 top reasons why your ads are not showing
The quick fix checklist based on a history of Cxense Advertising Support tickets. Take a moment to check this list before deep diving into problem solving mode.
- DeDuplication - your ads are being deduplicated - and one almost always outperforms the others - read more,.
- Budgeting and/or Delivery Smoothing - Your ad delivery has been smoothed in order to meet your delivery objectives - Ads shows intermittently - read more about smoothing, Overage, and Delivery concepts
- Flights & Contracts - The interface says 'live', yet there is a process of indexing before the Ad is visible in a live environment - read more about flights and contracts, and keep an eye on our blog for updates on indexing times.
- Matching Criteria - not being passed to your Platform correctly , resulting in no matches - review your usage of targeting criteria
- AdSpace misconfiguration - Ads might not be showing due to Adspace/AdUnits are too small, and/or not being overwritten correctly. - read more about AdSpace configuration
- Render Templates - manually edited tags, incomplete tags, invalid tags, invalid render templates all could be contributing to your lack of, or abundance of ads - read more on Render templates
Indexing Latency - Syncing millions of creatives, Products, spaces can take time - expect avg 20 minutes indexing times (after you press the save button), keep an eye on our blog for updates on indexing times, and posts regarding our latest generation real-time upgrades for publishing.
Whilst all of the following steps might not relate to your setup, this process is very effective to isolate the configuration problems. Broadly speaking, you can isolate the issue quicker by starting from the beginning and individually test each element in the chain of components (if you have checked the quick fix options, and everything looked ok).
Do I have a valid Product?
- Ensure no Alerts at the top of page !
- Is there a valid Creative template?
- If there is a Creative template saved on your product, it can be considered valid. Without one, there is no specification of what constitutes an Ad Creative, so Advertisers cannot add the Creatives to their campaigns.
- If you are testing a product with Matching Criteria, you will need to refer to Step 5 below to ensure they are configured correctly. If you are adding a new matching type for the first time, it may be the source of your problem.. Use best judgement to either skip to step 5 to focus on the specific matching criteria configuration or continue on the next step.
Product configuration - Running Dates, Valid Dates, Assignable, role visibility effect the Ad Product. Ensure these are not the source of the issue by reading the Product pages. Generally speaking, using the defaults with a User in your own timezone, there will not be a problem.
Do I have a valid AdSpace?
- Ensure there are no Alerts at the top of page!
- The Ad Platform calculates the size of your Ads based on the size of the AdSpace divided by the amount of ads you choose. If you configure your adspace so the resultant ad units are smaller than the Ad Size for the Creatives, no ads will return (unless you have an advanced setup that overrides this - see step 7 below)
- The Platform usually takes around 15mins to index new AdSpaces. Very Infrequently, the platform may be under load, which can push this indexing time out to a few hours.
Revalidate the Calculated Ad Units are the exact (or larger) dimensions of the creatives set on the product(s) you have assigned to your AdSpace. To do this, simply view the Product(s) Creative Templates, noting the Ad Unit Dimensions.
Do I have live Campaigns?
- Ensure there are no Alerts on the top of the Campaign / Ad pages;
- Finance Account Alerts - you need a finance account to accumulate the cost of advertising
- Creative Alerts - you must have valid creatives - either simple text ads, or files that have been copied to the Cxense Content Delivery Network (CDN). They show as valid when ..valid :)
- Flight contracts Alerts - ensure there is a live flight with start / end dates either side of the time you are testing - note the UI uses the Timezone set in your preferences - generally speaking this will be you current location, however it may differ which can add confusion - to simplify issue debugging, ensure your timezone is appropriate for your tests.
- Budgets - Cxense Advertising provides the ability to set 'tiered budgets', whilst this is very powerful, it can be misconfigured and produce unforeseen errors if used wrongly. Ensure all budgets are not exhausted, and have sufficient amounts to ensure consistent delivery. (also on topic, budget smoothing, Impressions Capping )
- Make note of a Campaign or Ad that you expect to see. Make a note of the Ad ID (when viewing an Ad, simply copy the last string of numbers+letters of the URL to a text file, or write it down somewhere - it will look something like: 0000000abc123abc). This may help later in this process...
- A good option can be to setup a new campaign with no Targeting criteria to ensure this campaign will always show (for CPC Campaigns you must have a bidded Keyword - add one in and write it down for later reference).
If you are trying to debug a setup that includes one or more matching criteria, you will need to add them to the campaign, though try to use as few as possible to reduce the possible causes for mismatch
- Ensure there are no Alerts on the top of the Campaign / Ad pages;
Does my AdSpace diagnostics return expected Ads?
- Is the AdSpace dimensions large enough to fit at least one of the Creative Dimensions specified on the Ad Product you expect Ads to come from?
- If the AdSpace is too small to fit an Ad Creative, no Ads will be returned.
- If you are diagnosing multiple matching criteria, you must ensure you have valid configuration of the template & it's data, and are using valid references in your diagnostics fields
- Keywords must be spelt Identically, and entered using appropriate format (UTF-8)
- Category matching must use the relevant category IDs, not just the Category name
Locations - just the name of the location is fine (assuming the Geo locations are setup correctly - see next step for info on how to test this)
Are my Matching/Targeting Templates configured correctly?
- Now we are getting a little more technical, probably best to refresh your understanding of the Audience Targeting APIs
- Cxense Advertising uses Netacuity database.
- Are you using Geo IP lookup and sending the User's location ?
- Are you sending Hard Coded Geolocation information as a query/params (e.g. "pizza, Melbourne")
- Have you read the Geo APIs ?, and understand their usage ? (quick test, what is the difference between surrounds and includes ? don't know ? time for a refresher :))
- Are you sending a valid Category ID (not just the Category Name) on the request ?
- Can you return Ads using AdSpace diagnostics for valid Category IDs (if so,it seems the params being sent from the live environment are invalid, as the outcome is different between 'manual specification of categories' vs 'dynamically generated/mapped' categories.)
- Have you blocked any keywords (ensure the KW you are testing for are not blocked)
- Is the KW language correct? (ensure the valid KW's language is the same as that which you are testing for in AdSpace Diagnostics)
- Does the KW have a sufficient bid ? (if min floorprice is larger than the bid, the Ad may not be returned)
- Ensure the contextual URL is valid by going to the URL, then copy and paste the URL from your browser. This will remove any chance of typos / manual error
- Ensure the appropriate User Agent is being sent. You can find your own User Agent by using the Dev Tools in Chrome/Firefox, or to go http://www.whatsmyuseragent.com/
- Firstly, itemise which type of ReTargeting you use;
- Manual - You must identify the tag used on the Campaign/Ad that uses retargeting - a simple way to test for this is to add it to a page, and use a browser to browse that page, thereby adding that Retargeting key to your Cxense Cookie.
- Broker Defined - Navigate to the PRoduct with the Retargeting taxonomy, and find he ReTargeting key you will test with.
- Find a current Campaign that uses one a Retargeting tag, and either browse to the live environment (if you are sure the tag has been implemented correctly), or save the tag in a new html file locally, and open that tag - thereby adding that retargeting tag to your Cxenmse Cookie.
- Once you have a known Retargeting Cookie in your browser, you can proceed with AdSpace diagnostics to ensure Ads are returning correctly - you will see the ads have 'retargeting key: abc-123' where abc-123 is the value of the tag added to your profile. If no ads return, either there are no ads with that key, or the key is not in your profile, return to the previous steps to ensure a valid tag is added yto your profile.
- Firstly, itemise which type of ReTargeting you use;
- Backfill Options
Currently the only official backfill configuration uses the keyword 'cxbackfill'. This must be configured by our team in order to return this keyword in all cases required (per product basis). If you have not contacted support team to ensure this is the case, then your backfill will not work.
Are there any System configuration issues?
- System Blocked Keywords - Every platform has the ability to block certain keywords. This list is populated with keywords that are one or more of: Offensive, Overused (e.g. 'the', 'price', 'Dollars', 'Author' etc.)
- System Blocked URLs - Platform owners can block certain destination URLs if they believe them to be not appropriate for their platform (e.g. 'dodgy.com', 'adultcontent.com' etc.) Any Ads with these destination URLs will be not be served at all. There is currently no user alert on the Campaign/Ads in these cases, the intent is that any Advertiser cannot know the exact list of blocked URLs in order to reduce 'gaming' of the system ~workarounds etc.
- It is important to note, If an Advertiser has added any Keywords, or Destination URLs that are subsequently blocked by the system configuration, the UI will not alert the User - these items will continue to be present in the UI, though will not be used - the Keywords will not generate any impressions, and the Destination URLs will disable the Advertisements. Once a Keyword or URL has been added to the system blocked Items, the User will be alerted that the items has been blocked and is not appropriate for use, removing the ability to save or persist these items.
Can I return ads external to the Ad Platform interface?
- Copy and Paste the Ad Tag from the AdSpace, and paste it into a text editor, saving it as 'test.html'
- Open the test.html file, and test for expected Ads. If expected Ads show you can skip the following and proceed to the next step. If no Ads return;
- Utilise a Developer toolbar in Chrome or Firefox (f12 is usually the shortcut for this)
- select 'network' from the dev toolbar tabs - you may need to refresh the page to interrogate the network requests.
- Find the request to the AdServer. It will look something like 'search?media=html&asId=000000015f...'
- in the Right hand column, select 'Response', this is the response from the AdServer for the Ad Request you made.
- If the response 'No response from server', there is an issue communicating to the Adserver.
If the response is 'No Results', then you have contacted the Adserver, it has accepted the request as valid, and has no Ads (you need to go back to Step #4 and ensure there are valid ads to show.)
Does the Render Template (RT) render my Ads correctly ?
- Are you setting the parameters correctly? (check the Client-side template-based ad rendering pages to compare your settings).
- Is your RT externally accessible (either on our Cxense, or a 3rd party CDN) an example URL looks like: http://cdn.cxense.com/myRenderTemplate.html.
- Can you browse to it in a browser - you should be able to view page source and see the RT code. If you cannot view your RT on the CDN, then your RT URL Param is wrong, you need to get the valid URL of your RT Can you validate the browser does not produce errors from this live file (as opposed to a local copy)
If you remove the RT parameter from the AdSpace tag, do the Ads return? Is yes, then the RT is the issue, if not, then you maybe setting the params incorrectly - revisit 7b.
(note you can do this locally so as not to debug in a live environment - simple generate a 'test.html' file that includes the AdSpace and Cxense Tags - exactly as they are embedded in the live site)