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Why aren't my ads showing?

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.

OK, so I have ticks in all the above, and am now officially a Quick Fix Guru, yet still my Ads are not showing as I expect.

1) Don't Panic

2) Proceed to the more elaborate, slower consistent method below

 


 

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).

  1. Do I have a valid Product?

    1. Ensure no Alerts at the top of page ! 
    2. Is there a valid Creative template?
      1. 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.
      2. 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. 
    3. 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.

      Proceed to the next step if you have ensured a valid Ad Product for your platform




  2. Do I have a valid AdSpace?

    1. Ensure there are no Alerts at the top of page!
    2. 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)
    3. 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.
    4. 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.

      Proceed to the next step if you have ensured a valid AdSpace to render Advertisements



       

  3. Do I have live Campaigns?

    1. Ensure there are no Alerts on the top of the Campaign / Ad pages;
      1. Finance Account Alerts - you need a finance account to accumulate the cost of advertising
      2. 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 :)
      3. 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.
      4. 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 smoothingImpressions Capping )
    2. 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...
    3. 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).
    4. 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 

      Proceed to the next step if you have ensured a Live Campaign is available to serve.




  4. Does my AdSpace diagnostics return expected Ads?

    1. 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? 
    2. If the AdSpace is too small to fit an Ad Creative, no Ads will be returned.
    3. 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 
    4. Keywords must be spelt Identically, and entered using appropriate format (UTF-8)
    5. Category matching must use the relevant category IDs, not just the Category name
    6. 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)

      Proceed to the next step if you have ensured Advertisements are returning. If you are using Matching criteria, and have not solved your issue at this stage, proceed to the next step. You can retest this step once ensuring the Matching Templates of your platform have been inspected for errors.




  5. Are my Matching/Targeting Templates configured correctly?

    1. Now we are getting a little more technical, probably best to refresh your understanding of the Audience Targeting APIs
    2. Geographic Matching
      1. Cxense Advertising uses Netacuity database.  
      2. Are you using Geo IP lookup and sending the User's location ? 
      3. Are you sending Hard Coded Geolocation information as a query/params (e.g. "pizza, Melbourne")
      4. 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 :))
    3. Category Matching
      1. Are you sending a valid Category ID (not just the Category Name) on the request ?
      2. 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.)
    4. Keyword Matching
      1. Have you blocked any keywords (ensure the KW you are testing for are not blocked)
      2. Is the KW language correct? (ensure the valid KW's language is the same as that which you are testing for in AdSpace Diagnostics)
      3. Does the KW have a sufficient bid ? (if min floorprice is larger than the bid, the Ad may not be returned)
    5. Site Targeting
      1. 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
    6. Device Targeting
      1. 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/
    7. ReTargeting
      1. Firstly, itemise which type of ReTargeting you use;
        1. 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.
        2. Broker Defined - Navigate to the PRoduct with the Retargeting taxonomy, and find he ReTargeting key you will test with. 
          1. 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.
      2. 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.
    8. Backfill Options
      1. 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.

        Proceed to the next step if you can confirm correct configuration of your Matching Templates.



  1. Are there any System configuration issues?

    1. 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.)
    2. 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.
    3. 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. 

        
  2. Can I return ads external to the Ad Platform interface?

    1. Copy and Paste the Ad Tag from the AdSpace, and paste it into a text editor, saving it as 'test.html'
    2. 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;
      1. Utilise a Developer toolbar in Chrome or Firefox (f12 is usually the shortcut for this)
      2. select 'network' from the dev toolbar tabs - you may need to refresh the page to interrogate the network requests. 
      3. Find the request to the AdServer. It will look something like 'search?media=html&asId=000000015f...' 
      4. in the Right hand column, select 'Response', this is the response from the AdServer for the Ad Request you made. 
      5. If the response 'No response from server', there is an issue communicating to the Adserver. 
      6. 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.)

        Proceed to the next step if you can render one or more ads in a local or development enrvironment - external to your Ad Platform.




  3. Does the Render Template (RT) render my Ads correctly ?

    1. Is your Ad Tag Valid ? Try Dev Tools in Chrome/Firefox, and ensure there are no errors or alerts pertaining to your code. If you have a text editor with Javascript syntax highlighting &/or compiling use this to test the code. If the code is valid, proceed
    2. Are you setting the parameters correctly? (check the Client-side template-based ad rendering pages to compare your settings). 
    3. 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
    4. 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)
    5. 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)

      If you have followed the steps above, and are still experiencing issues with Ad Delivery, you may be experiencing a bug. Whilst very unlikey, this can happen.. Best to contact support@cxense.com, assuming you have read theLive Online Support guidelines of course !

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