Why would I do such a thing??!
Pretty straightforward really – I’m sorry to say this about OpenX because I really did like them for a number of years. Lately, they’re just shit. Yup, completely and utterly shit.
Ever since the name change to OpenX they’ve been going downhill, and I think nearly everyone in the community will agree with me – including some of their very own (former) developers.
Riddled with vulnerabilities, slow and non-required code and other problems we’ve probably all experienced with it. Not to mention no automatic optimization of your ad zones.
This past week, the final straw was picked. My OpenX installation was hacked, AFTER I had applied the latest security fix to it. Talking around to buddies, this happened to a number of people as well. I couldn’t believe it. Of course, I was venting my frustrations to one of my buddies and he told me he had recently switched from OpenX to Google DFP for the very same reasons.
I hadn’t even heard of Google DFP at the time. So, I went over to their site, logged in and got started creating my placements (websites), ad units (ad zones) and my orders (advertisers).
All I have to say is – WOW. It’s actually pretty cool. I remember the first times I was using OpenX it was quite complicated and difficult to understand how to setup the campaigns and the advertisers and ad units. Not so with DFP, just a few minutes of clicking and I figured it out.
Let’s take a look at the process for Google DFP versus OpenX shall we?
Google DFP Process:
- Login using your existing Google or Google Applications account.
- Click Inventory, Click Placements
- Create a placement (eg. Sitename.com-Sidebar)
- Click Ad Units
- Create Ad Unit (eg. Sitename.com-Sidebar-Left-125×125)
- Click Orders
- Click New Order and add your advertiser, save it, then upload your image or html for the ad.
- Click Inventory
- Click ‘Generate Tags’ and copy the code to your page.
- Wait 10-30 Minutes for Ads to Appear. You’re Done.
- Buy a Domain name for OpenX
- Buy Server Space for OpenX
- Create OpenX Database
- Install OpenX
- Setup and Configure OpenX (gfl if on windows hosting by the by)
- Secure OpenX on your server.
- Ensure Maintanance Mode is setup for OpenX so your ads will eventually display.
- Now you can start setting up your ads.
- First Click Inventory, Then click Websites & Zones
- Add your website to OpenX
- Add zones to your website
- Now click back to Advertisers & Campaigns
- Add an Advertiser
- Add a Campaign to your new advertiser
- Add some banners to your advertisers campaign
- Set the zones in which your ads will appear in banner configuration
- Go back to Websites and Zones
- Find your website and Zone
- Click on it, then go to the fourth tab ‘invocation code’
- Generate your invocation code
- Go and paste it into your site along with any other relevant code
- 10-60 minutes later your ads should start appearing.
As you can see OpenX requires a lot more clicks, typing and setup to get your ads and advertisers into the system. Nearly double in-fact. And it’s quite possible I’ve forgotten something here.
With Google DFP it’s actually much easier. Far fewer clicks are required and the added benefit that you can have it fall back to traditional Adsense ads if your network or in-house ads aren’t converting. As far as I understand their documentation the fallback will happen automatically if you select Adsense fallback when creating your ads.
There is one kind of major gotcha that I noticed thought. Due to Adsense terms and conditions, if you have more than 3 ad units on a page no ads will display, even if it’s just fallback to Adsense. Not too big of a deal but still something to note. I had to turn off Adsense fallback for all of my ads except one on the page and then all ads were displaying.
Bottom Line – Google DFP is quicker, easier, and probably far more secure than OpenX to use for your advertising delivery throughout your network. The only problems I’m having with it is the fact that it does sometimes crash Firefox or IE, but I haven’t had any problems with Chrome yet. I do wish they’d make a nice desktop application like they have for Adwords, but I’m sure that’s coming down the pipe. One other thing I noticed is stats seem to take a long time to show up. As of this writing I’ve had DFP setup for two weeks and I still have no data available to create a report. I’m sure they’re still working out the last bugs in the system so this should be fixed soon.
Anyone else using DFP? What are your thoughts? Have you also migrated from OpenX? Let me know in the comments, I’m interested what others think of Google DFP vs OpenX.