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What to do when your website is showing a wrong ad or is not showing an expected ad?

audit under review As a publisher, encountering the wrong ad showing on your site or finding a missing ad can be a frustrating and worrisome experience. Publishers must take proactive measures to prevent and address these issues promptly to protect their reputation, maintain user trust, and ensure the long-term success of their online businesses. To effectively address this issue, follow these steps to identify and resolve the underlying cause:

Check the ad status

Before delving into the specifics of the ad content, it's crucial to verify the ad's overall status. It is a very quick and simple check yet it can be easily overlooked from time to time. You might assume an ad is active when in fact it is inactive. Familiarize yourself with the ad server's interface and determine whether the ad is Active or Pending. An active ad is currently running and displaying to users, while a pending ad is still under review and not yet visible to the public.

If you expected an ad to show on your site and yet its status is pending or it’s not even shown in the ad server then you have found your problem. The simple solution is to create or activate it so that it is active and can begin showing on your site. On the other hand, if an old ad is showing when you thought it was previously deactivated, double-check its status again. The goal is to rule out one of the most obvious reasons before moving on to other possible causes.

Inspect ad targeting criteria

Ad targeting criteria define the specific audience and context in which an ad should appear. Ad restrictions are limitations placed on where and when an ad can be shown. Your advertisers might want to restrict ad serving from certain audiences or geographical locations. When the expected ad is missing or the wrong ad is showing, it is very important to review the targeting criteria associated with the ad to ensure they match the advertiser’s requirements and align with your intended audience and content. Examine the ad restrictions to ensure that they are not preventing the ad from appearing on the desired pages or platforms. This may involve checking factors such as geo-targeting locations, demographics, interests, device type, content categories, sensitive placements, and competitor exclusions.

For example, if the ad has a restriction to viewers from California and you are not in California then not seeing the ad is normal and expected. However, if you are in California and you are not seeing the ad then there are other possible reasons you need to rule out. Also, the result of a single restriction might be different from the result of combining multiple restrictions and targeting criteria. For example, the ad targets California viewers but only on Saturdays and Sundays. You are testing the site on a Monday then you should not expect to see it.

Part 2 - Test and preview ads

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