Even though I had early preview access to Ad Manager I only got a chance to play with it properly yesterday, now that it’s public for all Adsense publishers.
My first impression: my old pals at OpenX don’t have as much to worry about as I first thought.
While Google has a fearsome reputation for building amazing apps with clean and simple UIs, Ad Manager is the first I’ve used (29 currently listed in my gAccount screen) which is somewhat impenetrable. While it’s true that ad serving in general has above average business logic complexity, this app lets the user potentially steer in too many wrong directions, and if one of the 10 or so parameters required for an ad to be served is slightly wrong, it’s not easy to find out where you went wrong. And this is a programmer point of view, I’m trying to imagine what it’s like for a non-techy.
The good news is there are decent debugging capabilities that ship with the app, although they’re a bit buried. What you need to do to find out where you went wrong is append a debug param to the URL, like
Another PITA which is not obvious at all is if you want to add a text link creative, you need to select the type Rich Media then paste the link in the textarea which subsequently appears. Rich media, text link: not two concepts you find linked that often ..
And while we’re in gripe mode, this is one of the slowest Google apps I’ve used, ie a lot slower than AdWords. I think it’s early days still for Ad Manager.
UPDATE: This article is a good starting point for setting up your first campaign.