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You may also want to review the Impressions are Too Low troubleshooting guide.

 

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Symptoms

Contract campaigns (which  of impressions recorded in Revive Adserver are (much) lower than the number of page views for the website you're running ads on.which are configured with a daily target for impressions, clicks or conversions) are consistently delivering at a rate below the set target. 

Troubleshooting Process

Step 1:

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Prior to Revive Adserver 3.1.0, if no banner was shown, then no impression was logged. However, with the release of Revive Adserver 3.1.0, "blank" impressions are now recorded, so, you may find that upgrading to this version or later resolves the issue. If it does, though, you may want to consider adding Remnant Campaigns with unrestricted banners to ensure that users always see a banner, or setting default house banners.

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Check Expectations

Before you start to dig into the issue, it's worth double checking that your expectation on the number of impressions you're expecting to see recorded in Revive Adserver are correcttargets are valid.

  • Are you certain that the number of page views you're basing your expectations on are correct? Are you using a historical average number of page views per day, week or month, or are you basing your expectations on a the actual number of page views that correspond with the same time range you're looking at in Revive Adserver?
  • Are you certain that you've always got a consistent number of banners per page across your whole site?
    • If so, have you made a reasonable effort to check for possible sections of the site where banners are not showing up - possibly due to something simple like a cut and paste error putting zone tags in place? Or even a sub-site section that uses different code, and there's no zone tags there at all?
    • If not (that is, on some pages you have one banner, some pages you have two banners, some you have three banners, and so on), it may be worth using different zones in Revive Adserver for the different parts of your site, and then splitting the measurement of your page views in your site's analytics tool, if you can, to make sure that you're comparing equivalent measurements of page views to impressions by site section.
  • If you're using a tool that analyses your web server log file to calculate the number of page views for your site, have you correctly excluded log file entries for things that are not pages, such as images, CSS files, JavaScript files, and indeed, all calls to Revive Adserver itself?
  • that the location(s) you will be displaying the campaign's banners on has sufficient inventory to meet the target?

This may be more difficult to know for certain, if you are using click or conversion targets - you may need a few days of delivery information before you can estimate your click or conversion rate, to then decide if you have sufficient inventory linked to the campaign.

You will also need to think about competition for the linked inventory:

  • Are there any Override campaigns that will be taking inventory which will not be available to the under-delivering campaign?
  • Are there any other competing Contract campaigns that will be taking inventory which will not be available to the under-delivering campaign? (The information about the priority weight for Contract campaigns should assist you with this.)

Once you've double checked that the number of impressions you're expecting to see recorded in Revive Adserver is correct, then move on to the next step.

Step 3: Check for "Faulty" Zone(s)

Even if you're checked on your site for pages or site sections where banners may be obviously missing, check through the statistics in Revive Adserver by zone. Are there any zones that appear to be obviously low on impressions compared with what you'd expect?

If so, it would be worth investigating where those zones are supposed to be displayed on your site, and double check that they are where they should be, and that they are working.

Step 4: Check Requests vs. Impressions

If you are not logging requests as well as impressions, then turn on request logging, and compare the number of requests to the number of impressions. 

When requests are higher than impressions, this may indicate there is a performance issue with your site (or with the site which is providing the banner content).

You may need to consider upgrading your servers or hosting, or look to speak to your ad network provider about their load times.

Step 5: Consider Page Load Time from Analytics

Review the page load time recorded by your site's analytics tool. Taking more than a couple of seconds on average? Got any banners near the bottom of the page?

If so, there's a good chance that a significant number of your site's visitors are not waiting for pages to fully load before they click away (either to another page on your site, or they go somewhere else). Your site's analytics tool might have recorded this as a page view, but if the zone at the bottom of the page hasn't loaded up, and then gone and fully loaded it's content, and then called for the impression to be logged, then this may result in a difference in page views vs. impressions.

You may need to consider upgrading your servers or hosting.

Step 6: Review Top vs. Bottom Zone Impressions

If you're page analytics tool doesn't have page load times, then you could possibly review the number of impressions for zones that are located near the top of your pages vs. the impressions for zones that are located near the bottom of your pages. 

Seeing more impressions for zones at the top of a page vs. those at the bottom provides further evidence for site visitors clicking away from pages before they have completed loading, and may result in a difference in page views vs. impressions.

You may need to consider upgrading your servers or hosting.

Step 7: Check the Block Banner Logging Settings

Revive Adserver has a number of options to prevent the logging of banner statistics (including the logging of impressions), based on IP address and/or user-agent string.

Check to see if these have been enabled - if so, then they will naturally result in a lower number of impressions being recorded vs. page views.

Step 8: Check for Adblockers

Finally, Adblockers, depending on settings, may allow banners to be displayed, but block the logging of impressions.

There's really nothing Revive Adserver can do about this - if this is a major issue for you, though, you could consider completely preventing access to your site for users running Adblockersinventory the campaign is linked to should be sufficient, proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: Understand Delivery Options

Revive Adserver's delivery process calculates a "probability" for how frequently each banner should be delivered during the running of the maintenance script. This ensures that banners can be delivered quickly, without lengthy delays that slow down page load times.

However, when Delivery Options are in place for a banner, the banner selection mechanism will, when required, exclude banners from being able to be delivered, based on those Delivery Options - but the maintenance script process which calculates the "probability" for banner delivery has no ability to factor in how likely banners will be excluded - so this is simply ignored.

This means that, in the event that banner Delivery Options frequently exclude a banner from delivery, the banner will under-deliver, as the calculated "probability" for how often the banner should be delivered (when it is has not been excluded from delivery) will not be high enough to take the frequent exclusion from delivery into account.

If the under-delivering campaign has Delivery Options on its banners that may be frequently excluding the banners from delivery, you may need to consider:

  • Removing some of those Delivery Options, if possible, to allow the banner to be excluded from delivery less frequently;
  • Link the campaign to additional inventory which will allow the banner to be delivered more often; and/or
  • Consider if an Override campaign may be more appropriate to ensure that the restricted target audience defined by the Delivery Options always sees the campaign when possible - perhaps with appropriate Delivery Capping to restrict this to a defined number of times per day.

Step 3: Understand Delivery Capping

Delivery Capping can have exactly the same effect as Delivery Options - the Delivery Capping can exclude banners from delivery, resulting in the calculated "probability" for how often the banner should be delivered (when it is has not been excluded from delivery) to not be high enough to take the frequent exclusion from delivery into account.

If the under-delivering campaign has Delivery Capping at either the campaign and/or banner level, you may need to consider reviewing the cap levels to allow more frequent delivery.

Step 4: Consider Intentional Over-Delivery

Revive Adserver includes a global setting to intentionally over-deliver Contract Campaigns. This allows Contract Campaigns to be deliberately targeted for a given percentage of over-delivery, which may help in cases where a systemic under-delivery problem is seen.