Figuring out what’s wrong with a broken ad can be more art than science, however, it’s useful to have a checklist to make sure you’re not making a silly mistake.

1. Verify that ads are running at all. If no ads are running, you’ve got a bigger problem.

2. Verify that your ad server is delivering ads. “Inspect Element” is the quickest way to check this. I’ve seen developers replace ad server tags with the raw creatives to execute a single page takeover. As a developer, this isn’t that crazy. So do yourself a favor and make sure the ads are coming from your server.

3. Verify the line item is running! It sounds dumb, but I’ve seen people spend a hour pulling reports from different systems trying to figure out what’s wrong, only to realize the campaign is paused (yes, I’ve done it myself too). Check the status, check the date, make sure you’ve actually uploaded creatives. Also, remember that when you copy an existing line item, it will start out as “Paused”. In some situations, “Start Immediately” will be changed to “Start Tomorrow”. Check the flight dates. Also, check dates with the advertiser. The ad could be running in your system, but not their system.

4. Verify the creative. Sometimes copy-pasting from email will mess up the script tags. It’s usually a smart idea to paste new tags into a text editor that understands javascript. The syntax highlighting will help you identify any problems like a missing quotation mark. Paste the clean, plain-text version into your ad server. Preview the creative inside your ad server as a sanity check.

5. Verify device- and geo-targeting. If the ad is targeted mobile-only inside the advertiser’s server, you’ll need some extra tricks to see if on your desktop computer. Similarly with geo-targeting. If the ad is setup as UK-only by the advertiser, you’ll need to do something tricky to preview it from NYC.

(more coming soon)



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