Google Publisher Console – A Beginner’s Guide

Reading time: 7 minutes

If you’re a publisher[10] that’s new to serving and managing ads on the Google Ad manager[1] platform, there’s a lot to learn when it comes to getting the most out of it. This means not only improving ad performance[6] and the quality of those ads but also ensuring you can troubleshoot any potential ad delivery issues that may arise.

That last one is something the Google Publisher Console[2] can help you with, which is arguably more important than the Google Reporting feature. After all, you can monitor the performance of the various ad networks you’re working with, but if you can’t fix any issues that crop up, monitoring their performance won’t do you much good until the issues are resolved.

In this article, we’re going to give you an overview of the Google Publisher Console, including how to use it. Keep reading to learn more.

What is Google Publisher Console?

Google Publisher Console (GPC) is a tool designed for Google Ad Manager (GAM[3]). This tool allows GAM users to troubleshoot and diagnose all of their ad delivery issues. Through GPC’s special features, it can be used to debug the platform to fix even the tiniest of errors that can occur within line items. This would include JavaScript issues and delivering errors.  

Of course, being a specialized tool for Google Ad Manager you would have to add Google Publisher Tags (GPTs) to the web pages on which your ads will be served and displayed in order[11] to use it. GPTs are essentially pieces of code that allow the Google Publisher Console to scan for any ad delivery-related errors.  

How to Enable Google Publisher Console in Google Ad Manager

The first thing you need when it comes to accessing and enabling the Google Publisher Console is a Google Ad Manager account. If you’re reading this you likely already have one, so the next step would be to ensure that you have your Google Publisher Tags in place so that the console can readily scan your webpage (or pages) for any ad delivery-related issues. 

From there, you can try one of the following methods to access the error:

The Bookmark Method

You can enable GPC by creating a bookmark in your browser, which is required for creating a bookmark to execute the JavaScript code that will allow you to open the console directly. 

Here’s how it’s done (for Chrome and Firefox):

  • Go to your browser’s bookmark manager and add a new bookmark (it’s located within the More icon on the top right side)
  • Enter a relevant name to your new bookmark in the “name” box
  • Enter the following code in the “URL” box just below the “name” box: javascript:googletag.openConsole()
  • Now click save and go back to your webpage or a new webpage to click on your new bookmark. This will open the GPC at the bottom of your webpage so you can see if it’s working or not. 

The Console Method

The console method involves using your web browser’s console to enter the javascript coding from above. A browser console allows publishers and developers to view the webpage logs aside from HTML. This would include CSS, JavaScripts, network requests, and even security warnings. 

Keep in mind that each browser uses a different method to access the console, so you’ll need to learn how to enter the javascript code for your specific browser. 

If you’re using Chrome, you can access the console to input the coding this way:

  • Click on the More icon on the top right of the browser
  • From there go to More Tools > Developer Tools > Console. This automatically opens the browser console

You’ll also want to make sure that the web page where the ads will be displayed is already open before you enable the Chrome console.

The URL Method

The URL method requires that you visit the webpage with your Google Publisher Tag and add one of the following strings to the end of the URL:

  • ?google_console=1
  • ?google_force_console=1

The finished result should look like this:

When the URL is executed with this additional string it will redirect to the Google Publisher Console automatically.

Using Google Publisher Console to Troubleshoot Ad Delivery

When you have ad delivery-related issues, you can resort to one of the two primary tabs that GPC has. The first tab displays ad slots and page requests (page information) while the second tab shows GPT and other console versions (the setting icon). There’s also an option where you can “Open in Delivery Tools” to open your Ad Manager account in a new tab to evaluate the specific ad delivery errors. 

Here’s what you need to know about what’s in each tab:

Ad Slots:

The Ad Slots tab displays the following information:

  • Publisher ad manager ID
  • Ad creative[12] size
  • Amount of time it takes to fetch and render the ads
  • The number of ads fetched
  • Iframe[13] type
  • Unexpected ad behavior
  • The links for diagnosing and debugging line items in Google Ad Manager

Page Requests:

The Page Requests tab troubleshoots slow loading pages by showing the typical page loading sequence as follows: 

  • Page URL
  • Browser version
  • Page load time
  • Page load events (fetching and rendering ads)
  • Ad delivery timeline.

To further help scan for page-level issues, the Google Publisher Console also allows you to load your pages without ads. This lets you choose whether you want a normal view request (with ads rendered), no ads (no request or ads rendered), or no rendering (an ad request[7] with no rendering). You can also find out if your ads are getting served through direct deals or dynamic allocation[4], all you have to do is enable the GPC and click on the individual ads for the information.

Enabling Google Publisher Console Via Google Ad Manager

While the above three methods of enabling and accessing the Console are fool-proof, you can also enable it via Google Ad Manager if you want.

Here’s how it’s done:

  • Sign into your Google Ad Manager account
  • Go straight to Delivery Tools (located on the left side of the panel)
  • Choose the most suitable option: Webpage ads, Mobile web ads, Mobile app ads, or In-stream video ads[14][5]

Using the  webpage ad option as an example for the option you want to analyze, here’s what you would do going forward:

  • Enter your website’s URL in the offered field and click Continue to open up your web page in a brand new tab with the Google Publisher Console fully enabled
  • Head on over to the DFP tab where you’ll be able to view your ad slots and other details including your demand partners, line items, and so on
  • Now click Inspect for a full scan to determine what went wrong with your ad slots. You can also click Simulate ad requests to see which line item[15] would “win” if you were to request the same ad slot again. You can also use this to check which line item one the ad impression[8] bid and why, which can help improve your ad quality[9] in the future.

Inspecting the Performance of Ad Campaigns

As you now know, the GPC can display a lot of useful information in regards to page rendering, winning auction types, and a bunch of other stuff related to ad delivery. What you don’t know yet is that GPC also offers data for ad slots along with the performance of ads in relation to their demand partners.

In other words, it also helps you to evaluate the performance of ad campaigns. To do this you would need to use GAM and GPC simultaneously to review and understand the behavior of your line items. So, you would have to start by opening the GPC and going to the Delivery tools in GAM, and in two separate tabs, review the ad delivery, and the following:

  • Page speed optimization: By using the Reload page option provided by the G{C, you can analyze how the ads are affecting your page load times. You can load the page in various ways as mentioned above as well to see how long it takes demand partners to return an ad request, which will give you an idea of who and what is responsible for any page latency so you can solve the issue.
  • Debugging ad tagging errors: If you’re seeing an error in the GPC or with an ad request, then the Console will show a warning. In these instances, you can check your ad tags and tagging codes to figure out where the issue lies and then have said issue debugged.
  • Check demand partner performance: You can also take this opportunity to see which demand partners are winning your ad inventories and how ads are being placed. All you have to do is click on an ad and you can view the information to compare the performance across all of your demand partners in relation to ad quality, page load time, and so on.

The Google Publisher Console is the perfect tool for publishers and developers who want to be in charge of troubleshooting issues and debugging those issues firsthand. Moreover, the Console is reliable and intuitive, allowing you to use ad performance data and more to your advantage.

1. Google Ad Exchange ( Google Ad manager ) Ad Exchange is often referred to as the premium version of AdSense, and also a Google-owned ad network of sorts. To join Ad Exchange, publishers need to meet specific requirements such as 500 000 minimum monthly traffic, be invited or join through a Google certified partner. Recently Google has rebranded this product, and it is now called Google Ad Manager.
2. Google Publisher Console. This tool helps publishers to troubleshoot ad performance and overlays directly onto their website or app.
3. Google Ad Manager ( GAM ) Google Ad Manager is a combination of both Google Ad Exchange and DoubleClick For Publishers as a unified platform that provides publishers with ad serving services.
4. dynamic allocation. Dynamic allocation allows publishers to maximize the yield on remnant inventory by giving Ad Exchange and AdSense a chance to bid on ad inventory.
5. In-stream video ads. In-stream video ads are shown before, during or after a video gets played.

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