Today’s post is by Display Account Coordinator Kristin Kopp, a proud Iowa grad who took time out of her running schedule to share some insights.

Are you starting a test with a new publisher? There is a lot of prep work involved in getting a new publisher or partner off of the ground. Here are a few helpful steps to get you on your way to a successful display campaign.

1. First and foremost, it is important to discuss the goals and KPIs that define a successful partner.  These should be discussed first with your client and then passed on to the partner. It is a good idea to set up a pre-launch call with the publisher to ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal, whether it be direct response or general awareness.

2. Check that all pixels are placed properly and that success metrics can be captured.

Once you have decided upon your goals, you will then know where pixels need to be placed on the site to gather the data needed to measure your KPIs. It is important to check your ad server once all pixels have been placed to ensure that the expected urls are matching up.

If you are adding publisher pixels to your site, it is also critical to ensure that what they have given you is secure. (It should generally have (https:// ) included in the code. )

3. Check that all of the creative that you are using adhere to the publishers specs.

Publishers work a bit differently; especially if you’re working with a new publisher, you need to make sure all creatives you’re planning on using in your ad rotations match the publisher specs prior to launch. The publisher may require, for instance, that all banners have a distinct border around the edge.

A banner that doesn’t meet all publisher criteria can lead to the launch being pushed back by several days depending on your creative team’s bandwidth.

4. Take a good look at the IO (insertion order) sent over from the publisher to understand the best way to set up your placements and ad rotations in your ad server. Are the banners site-served or through a 3rd party?  If they are site-served and you still want to understand creative performance, you may want to consider setting up a 1×1 (impression tracker) placement for each creative and pairing that with a click tracker.

It is also important to understand the type of tag the publisher will accept. While most will work well of a traditional iframe tag, there have been a few known to only accept standard tags.

iframe tag

Does this kind of tag work with your publisher? You’ll need to double-check.

5. Once all of your placements and ad rotations are set up, click on all creative (or click trackers) in your ad server to ensure that they are leading to the correct landing page. This can help check a couple of things: one, that you have properly loaded the landing page url and are not getting a 404 error; and two, that you selected the landing page you want for each creative.

For instance, if you are referencing an upgrade in a banner, you want to make sure that it lands on the upgrade info page of your site. Landing on the “wrong” page can lead to a bad user experience.

6. Send the tags and/or creative off to the publisher and request screenshots to show an example to your client of the ad being served. Double-check after launch that all metrics are matching up for both you and the publisher.


Phew!  Now that the new initiative is up and running, you certainly can’t just sit back and see how it goes. Check in on campaigns daily to ensure proper delivery and work with the publisher on optimizations to ensure a successful partnership!

– Kristin Kopp, Account Coordinator – Display

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