Troubleshooting Delivery Issues

In this section you will find recommendations to improve campaign performance as well as steps to troubleshoot for campaigns with restricted or no delivery.  

How to Troubleshoot a New Line with no Delivery
How to Improve Line Item Pacing
How to Troubleshoot a Sudden Decrease or Stop in Delivery

How to Troubleshoot Overspend with ‘Soft Cap’ Budgets

How to Troubleshoot a New Line with no Delivery

If you have set a Line Item live, but it has not delivered any impressions, review the following recommendations to troubleshoot.

  1. If you have just set the campaign live, remember that there is a 3-hour delay in the Pontiac platform for most metrics.
    If you have just launched the campaign and need to know if it has begun serving, you can open the Line Item to see Real Time Delivery below the Line Item Flight Metrics. This is the only Real Time information about your campaign. See more information on Real Time Delivery here: Real Time Delivery. For more information on the reporting delay see here: Reporting Lag.
  2. Is your account disabled for low funding?
    If you see a yellow triangle next to the ‘Amin’ tab, your account may be low on funds. Open the ‘Admin’ tab and check your current balance. The platform pauses the campaigns on the account and restricts access to certain features until either a budget is added that is more than the daily spend or the daily spend is lowered so it is less than the budget in your account. To reactivate your account, either increase your budget or adjust the Lines to spend less.
  3. Are the active boxes checked for both the Advertiser and the Line item?
    If you do not see the Advertiser that you are looking for, try toggling the ‘Active’ dropdown to display Advertisers that are inactive. If the Advertiser appears when you switch to view ‘Inactive’ click on the Advertiser’s name and open the Advertiser menu. Select ‘Edit’, check the ‘Active’ box and ‘Save’. In the ‘Advertiser’ tab next to the name of the specific Advertiser you should see a green box with a check mark, this indicates that the Advertiser is active. If you see a red box, the Advertiser is ‘inactive’.
    Then check the Line Item, where you should see a green check box next to the ID number for the Line to indicate that the Line Item is ‘active’. If you see a red box, the Line Item is ‘inactive’. Click on the Line Item’s name to open the Line Item menu and select ‘Edit’. Check the ‘Active’ box then select ‘Submit Changes’.
  4. Are the Line Item Flight Dates set correctly?
    In the Advertiser tab, expand the Advertiser by clicking the arrow at the left most part of the screen, allowing you to view the Line Items under the Advertiser. You will see a ‘Start Date’ and ‘End Date’ for the campaign. Verify that these dates correspond with the dates in which the campaign should be running. If these dates are incorrect or you would like to extend the end date, click the name of the Line Item to open the Line Item Settings. Select the ‘Edit’ button and change the start date or end date by clicking the calendar icon and then selecting the desired date. If the start date has already passed, you will not be able to change it. However, you can de-activate the Line Item until the date that you would like the Line to begin serving again.
  5. Have the associated Creatives passed the Creative Audit?
    Select the Advertiser or Line Item to open the associated menu and expand the ‘Creatives’ section. Next to the name and ID of each Creative you will see two symbols. The left-most symbol indicates the ‘active’ or ‘inactive’ status of the Creative. If this symbol is a red box, under the Advertiser menu, click on the Creative name to open the window to edit the Creative. Check the ‘Active’ box and ‘Save’. The second symbol under ‘Audit Status’, will display the results of the Creative Audit process. This process takes up to 24 hours, so if you have just uploaded your Creatives you will see a yellow triangle indicating ‘audit pending’. The Line will not be able to serve until at least one of the associated Creatives is approved. Upon approval the symbol will change to a green check box. If the Creative is marked as sensitive you will see a green triangle and rejected Creatives will have a red box. For more information on the Creative Audit process see here: Creative Audit.
  6. If the Creative Type is ‘Banner’ are you using common banner sizes?
    Using multiple Creative sizes on a Line Item can increase access to inventory. We recommend using several of the most common banner sizes for the inventory type. You can find a list of the most common sizes in our Banner specs here: Banner Specs
  7. Do all Audience segments associated have loads in them?
    If you are targeting a Remarketing Audience or Third-Party Audience segments, it is important to ensure that this Audience has active users. If there are no active users, the campaign cannot serve. To check the loads for a Remarketing segment open the Advertiser menu and expand the Audience section to view the Audience metrics. You should see ‘Total Loads’, ‘Avg Daily Uniques’, and ‘Avg Monthly Uniques’. If your Remarketing segment is showing 0 ‘Loads’, there may be an issue with the pixel placement. Email your Account Manager to check your pixel placement.
    If these are Third-Party segments, they will not show loads in the platform. Email your Account Manager to check the metrics for these Audiences. If the Audience does not contain an adequate number of users or the segment is expired, your Account Manager can recommend similar Audiences with a larger user pool.
  8. If you are targeting multiple Audiences, does the Boolean Logic make sense?
    If you are using several Audience segments, open the Line Item menu and look at the green box/boxes that contain the Audiences you are targeting. If there is an ‘And’ between the segments or groups of segments, this is restricting delivery to ONLY serve to individuals who belong to ALL of these segments or groups of segments. You can edit the logic by editing the Line and selecting ‘Associate Segments’. This will open the Audiences window where you can modify targeting to ‘Any’ or ‘All’ between segment groups. For more information see here: Boolean Logic.
  9. Are the geo restrictions too tight or conflicting?
    First, ensure that none of your geo parameters are conflicting, for example, if the Country you selected is ‘Mexico’, but the Lat Long Audience that you are targeting contains coordinates in the United States. If any of your geo parameters are conflicting your campaign cannot serve. If the geographic area that you are targeting is too small, delivery of your campaign could also be restricted. If you are using zip codes, try using the ‘Expand Zip Targets’ feature. By adding additional zip codes within a tight radius you may achieve better scale and still stay in the target area. In the Targeting menu, open the zip code tab. Enter a radius in meters and select ‘Get Zips’. This will find zip codes within this radius from the center point of the zip code/s entered. A window will open showing you the list of zip codes found within this radius. Select ‘Add Zips’ to add the new zip codes to the targeting on the Line Item. If you are using a Lat Long Audience try expanding the Radius from 150m to 2251m. This should expand the potential Audience size and increase delivery.
  10. Are the bids set too low?
    Higher bids will help win more impressions and will also improve the quality of the inventory. If you are utilizing targeting tools this will decrease your potential audience size. If you are targeting an Onboarded Audience or a Third-Party Audience with an additional cost, we recommend that you add the associated price of the most expensive segment to your base and max bids to ensure that you can win impressions. The closing CPM will include the cost of the Audience data, so if your base bid is $2.43 and you’re targeting an Audience with a cost of $2.00, you would really be bidding $0.43 for the media. See our general bid recommendations here: Bid Recommendations.
  11. If you are using a site list or app list, are there accessible ad slots available?
    It is possible that the sites or apps that you are targeting do not have ads on them, have limited traffic, the ad slots are not available through the open exchange or the available ad sizes differ from the sizes you are using. The only way to know for sure if you can access these sites or apps is by testing it. You can try incremental increases in the bids to see at what CPM these sites might clear or expanding your site list with similar sites.  If you are not achieving the desired scale, but would like to target contextually a custom contextual segment could be a good alternative. Read more on this option here: Custom Contextual Targeting
  12. It is important to strike a balance between targeting and scale. If you are utilizing multiple targeting parameters on the same Line (Geo targets, Audience data, Site/App lists etc.) you may be ‘over-targeting’ and restricting the Line from serving. Try removing or expanding one or more of the targeting parameters to see if the Line begins to serve.
How to Improve Line Item Pacing

If you are unsatisfied with the scale of your campaign or your Line Items are pacing below 80%, we recommend evaluating the following potential issues or obstacles to delivery and making changes to your campaign accordingly. 

  1. Dynamic Budget Multiplier
    Applying the Dynamic Budget Multiplier to your Line will allow the Pontiac Platform to adjust daily budgets to catch up the pacing. To turn on the Dynamic Budget Multiplier, open the Line item, select ‘Edit’, check the ‘Allow Dynamic Budget Multiplier’ box and submit changes.
  2. Dynamic Frequency
    Applying Dynamic Frequency to your Line will allow the Pontiac Platform to increase or decrease the daily and lifetime frequency caps based on pacing. If your Line is pacing behind, this feature will increase the frequency that each user can see your ad allowing the Line to increase delivery. To turn on Dynamic Frequency, open the Line item, select ‘Edit’, check the ‘Allow Dynamic Frequency’ box and submit changes.
  3. Increase Bids
    Higher bids will help win more impressions and will also improve the quality of the inventory. If you are targeting an Onboarded Audience or a Third-Party Audience with an additional cost, we recommend that you add the associated price of the most expensive segment to your base and max bids to ensure that you can win impressions. The closing CPM will include the cost of the Audience data, so if your base bid is $2.43 and you’re targeting an Audience with a cost of $2.00, you would really be bidding $0.43 for the media. See our general bid recommendations here: Bid Recommendations.
  4. Remarketing Audience size
    If this is a remarketing campaign, the size of the audience may be restricting delivery. It takes some time after the pixel is placed on the website to build a substantial remarketing Audience. If the remarketing pixel was recently placed, it is normal for delivery to be limited and additional changes do not need to be made at this time. To check the loads for a Remarketing segment open the Advertiser menu and expand the Audience section to view the Audience metrics. You should see ‘Total Loads’, ‘Avg Daily Uniques’, and ‘Avg Monthly Uniques’. If your Remarketing segment is showing 0 ‘Loads’ after it has been placed for several days, there may be an issue with the pixel placement. Email your Account Manager to check pixel placement.
    You can increase your remarketing segment size by launching a simultaneous prospecting campaign, driving new users to your website who will then be added to this Audience. Additionally, you can add the segment pixel into the Creatives of your prospecting campaign to further increase your audience size by also adding users into the pool who see your ads, but don’t click on them or land on your website.
  5. Third-Party Audience Loads
    If you are using Third-Party Audiences email your Account Manager to check the metrics for these Audiences. If the Audience does not contain an adequate number of users, your Account Manager can recommend similar Audiences with more users that should improve delivery.
  6. Custom or On Boarded Audience Size
    Appropriate targeting will help make your campaign stronger. However, keep in mind, if the targeted pool is too small, the scale of your campaign will be limited. It is important to strike a balance between targeting and Audience size.
  7. Multiple Audience Segments
    If you are using several audience segments, open the Line Item menu and look at the green box/boxes that contain the Audiences you are targeting. If there is an ‘And’ between the segments or groups of segments, this is restricting delivery to ONLY serve to individuals who belong to ALL of these segments or groups of segments. Layering several Audiences in this manner could severely restrict the size of your potential Audience and will limit impressions served. You can edit the logic by editing the Line and selecting ‘Associate Segments’. This will open the Audiences window where you can modify targeting to ‘Any’ or ‘All’ between segment groups. For more information see here: Boolean Logic.
  8. Geo Targeting
    Geo-targeting is a valuable strategy to reach your desired Audience, however, if the geographic area that you are targeting is too small, delivery of your campaign could be restricted. If you are using zip codes, try using the ‘Expand Zip Targets’ feature. By adding additional zip codes within a tight radius you may achieve better scale and still stay in the target area. In the Targeting menu, open the zip code tab. Enter a radius in meters and select ‘Get Zips’. This will find zip codes within this radius from the center point of the zip code/s entered. A window will open showing you the list of zip codes found within this radius. Select ‘Add Zips’ to add the new zip codes to the targeting on the Line Item. If you are using a Lat Long Audience try expanding the Radius from 150m to 2251m. This should expand the potential Audience size and increase delivery.
  9. Site lists/App lists
    It is possible that the sites or apps that you are targeting do not have ads on them, have limited traffic, the ad slots are not available through the open exchange or the available ad sizes differ from the sizes you are using. The only way to know for sure if you can access these sites or apps is by testing it. You can try incremental increases in the bids to see at what CPM these sites might clear or expanding your site list with similar sites.  If you are not achieving the desired scale, but would like to target contextually a custom contextual segment could be a good alternative. Read more on this option here: Custom Contextual Targeting
  10. Sensitive Creatives
    If one of your Creatives is flagged as ‘Sensitive’, this content is allowed on the platform, but the Line Item will be restricted to the sensitive publishers that allow this type of content. Any exchanges that you selected to target will be ‘grayed’ out and only the exchanges allowing sensitive content will be targeted. This may restrict both delivery and performance of your campaign as these exchanges typically contain lower quality inventory and can also include fraud. Audit results can only be changed by resolving the issue that caused the Creative to be flagged as sensitive. If you think your Creative was flagged incorrectly, email your Account Manager. 
  11. It is important to strike a balance between targeting and scale. If you are utilizing multiple targeting parameters on the same Line (Geo targets, Audience data, Site/App lists etc) you may be ‘over-targeting’ and restricting the Line from serving. Try removing or expanding one or more of the targeting parameters to see if the Line begins to serve.
How to Troubleshoot a Sudden Decrease or Stop in Delivery

There are several reasons that a Line Item could see a sudden decrease or stop in delivery. While there may not always be a straightforward explanation, below are the main reasons this may happen as well as some suggestions to troubleshoot. If you take these steps to troubleshoot and the Line Item is still not delivering after 24 hours of making all changes, reach out to your Account Manager for additional assistance.  

Reasons this may happen: 

  1. Platform optimizations restrict the inventory being targeted
    The Pontiac algorithm will make changes to your campaign to improve performance on the selected KPI on the days selected in the ‘Optimization Schedule’. These changes can include a block list of domains and exchanges that are not performing well. Each optimization creates campaign splits with certain percentages of the daily budget. Sometimes these optimizations take a large percentage of the budget and block certain sites or exchanges that have had lower performance. It is possible that these optimizations can hurt scale if a large percentage of the impressions being won were on these sites or through these exchanges.
  2. Increased competition for the targeted inventory
    While the line was previously winning inventory with the set bids and targeting, this is not a guarantee that it will continue winning with this set-up. On the open exchange and in real-time bidding situations, closing CPMs can be unpredictable and can fluctuate greatly depending on the level of competition and the size of the players involved. If other campaigns are launched or increase their bids, especially against the same audiences, deals, or inventory lists, it is possible that increased competition could cause a Line Item to stop winning.  
  3. Frequency Caps
    If you are utilizing frequency caps on a Line Item with small audiences, your Line may see a decrease in delivery or stop delivering altogether as it starts to exhaust these caps for available users. This is especially relevant for Remarketing campaigns, or highly targeted Line Items.
  4. Changes on the publisher side 
    Pontiac connects Advertisers with publisher inventory being monetized through SSPs. Publishers use a variety of strategies to monetize available inventory and any change in Pontiac’s position in the waterfall could affect current Line Items and the inventory available. Changes to a publisher’s monetization strategy, such as monetizing more inventory through direct deals or increasing their price floor can lead to a decrease in delivery for Pontiac campaigns. Note, the Pontiac team has no visibility into any changes that could be occurring on the Publisher side. 
  5. Unexplained anomalies 
    The Pontiac team is committed to taking all necessary steps to uncover and resolve any issues with active campaigns as quickly as possible. However, as with most technology, there is always a possibility that there could be unexplained anomalies that cause a Line Item to stop delivering. While some cases may be unexplainable, our team will continue to investigate these issues and work with you to troubleshoot.  

Steps to Troubleshoot: 

  1. Increase the max bid
    There are several potential scenarios that would lead to the inventory clearing at a higher CPM including, but not limited to, increased competition or an increased price floor on the publisher end. As visibility into these issues is limited, we always recommend increasing the max bid as one of the first steps in troubleshooting limited delivery.
  2. Set ‘KPI’ to ‘Reach’
    A breakdown of these optimizations can be seen at the bottom of the Line Item page, including the date the optimization was made, the percentage of the budget and the change made. Look for optimizations with dates that correlate to the date the Line Item delivery dropped off. If these optimizations took a very large percentage of the budget and block listed sites or exchange, it is possible that this optimization is hurting delivery as the campaign may have been delivering a large percentage of impressions to this inventory. The optimizations can be removed by changing the campaign ‘KPI’ to ‘Reach. This will remove all optimizations from the Line and the Line will no longer make optimizations going forward. The Line Item will instead focus on reaching the desired scale either in impressions or budget. As optimizations are removed suddenly from the Line Item, there may be a slight decrease in performance as the Line ramps to scale, but your Account Manager can assist you with making manual optimizations to improve performance. For more information on making manual optimizations see here: Improving Campaign Performance
  3. Apply Dynamic Frequency or set Frequency Caps to Zero
    Applying Dynamic Frequency to your Line, or setting caps to 0 will help to troubleshoot as to whether or not frequency caps are the cause of limited delivery. To turn on Dynamic Frequency, open the Line item, select ‘Edit’, check the ‘Allow Dynamic Frequency’ box and submit changes.
  4. Clone the Line Item
    In the case of an anomaly with the platform technology, the issue may be with the actual object of the Line Item and not the Line Item configuration. In this case cloning the Line and saving it as a completely new Line may resolve the issue. To do this use the ‘Clone’ button, update the Line Item name, flight dates and Lifetime Budget or Impressions to be the remaining budget for the Line Item, then submit. Turn the previous Line Item to inactive to avoid overspend.  
  5. Expand Line Item Targeting
    There are several ways that you can try to open the targeting on the Line Item. This could be adding additional sites or apps to your inventory targeting lists, including additional deals, adding additional Third-Party audiences, or expanding the geo. Removing certain targeting parameters entirely may also help to troubleshoot whether or not one or more of these parameters may be the cause of the issue.  
How to Troubleshoot Overspend with ‘Soft Cap’ Budgets

Enabling ‘Soft Cap Budgets’ will help the line cap at a specified dollar amount, but is not a guarantee.  It is possible that a Line Item configured with a ‘Soft Cap’ budget will spend more than the allocated budget. This happens because the bidders are placing simultaneous bids on ad slots in order to win impressions, while updates for spend are slightly delayed. This allows the bidders to continue bidding although the soft cap budget may have already been met. By the time the spend for the Line Item is updated, it is possible the Line has already spent more than the allocated budget. This is most typical with Lines that have small budgets and/or open targeting. 

If this is happening for one of your Line Items, there are several steps that you can take to try to combat this overspend and limit delivery. These steps are not guaranteed to restrict the Line to the exact Soft Cap Budget amount, however, they should help to limit spend as well as improve campaign performance. 

  1. Remove Exchanges with Low Performance
    Enter into the Reporting tab and select the Advertiser and Line you wish to evaluate and update the report. Scroll down to the ‘Exchanges’ section. In this section you can evaluate each Publisher through which your ad has been served and the corresponding CTR. Campaign performance can be increased and spend restricted by removing Exchanges with low performance. To remove an exchange open the Line Item Targeting settings and in the ‘Exchanges’ tab select the red ‘minus’ sign next to the Exchange name. The Exchange should move from the right side of the window to the left and appear with a green plus sign next to the name. This indicates that you are no longer buying through this exchange. For information on Pontiac Exchange reporting see here: Exchange Reporting
  2. Add Geographic Targeting/Restrictions
    Geographic targeting is available by Country, Region, DMA, Zip Code or Latitude and Longitude. Restricting the geographic areas where the campaign will serve will limit the number of available impressions and thereby help to limit delivery. By selecting regions or areas most relevant to campaign, this will also help to ensure that you are reaching your target Audience. See more information on Zip Code or Lat/Long Audiences here: Zip Code Audience, Lat Long Audience
    If you would like to keep the geographic targeting relatively open, we recommend visiting the Reporting tab and evaluating the performance of each region or country then removing the lowest performing areas. This will also help to boost campaign performance for your selected KPI. See additional information on Geo Reporting on the following pages:
    Geo Region Reporting, Geo Country Reporting
  3. Add Audience Targeting
    Targeting a specific Audience will limit the available users that can be served your ad and therefore restrict delivery. By targeting across behavioral, contextual or demographic variables you can also limit your viewers to those most likely to be interested in your good or service. Pontiac offers a wide variety of Audience solutions including Remarketing segments, Third-Party Audiences and Onboarded Audience integrations including onboarded CRM data, custom contextual segments and geo-framed Audience segments. See all of our Audience solutions here: Audiences.
  4. Add a Site ‘Allow List’ from Top Performing Sites
    Enter into the Reporting tab and select the Advertiser and Line you wish to evaluate and update the report. Scroll down to the ‘Site Domain’ section. In this section you can evaluate each Site that the ad has been published on and the corresponding CTR. By selecting the highest performing sites and creating a site list, you can serve only on these sites and effectively limit spend as well as improve performance. You could also create a custom site list of websites with contextually relevant content to the campaign or those most likely to be visited by your target Audience. In the ‘Inventory’ tab we also have created several pre-built site lists with high performing domains that are named by content category. For more information on Site Domain Reporting and creating custom Site lists see the following pages: Site Domain Reporting, Site List Targeting.
  5. Add a Viewability Threshold
    In the Line Item Targeting settings there is a feature to enable a Viewability Threshold. If this feature is enabled the platform will determine how likely an impression is to be viewable through pre-bidding technology, and will only bid on ad slots deemed above the threshold. Per IAB guidelines, an ad is considered viewable if 50% of the pixels are in-view for 1 second or more. This will limit available impressions restricting the spend of the Line Item and it could also greatly improve performance as your ads are more likely to be viewed by the user. For more information on the Viewability Threshold see here: Viewability Threshold
  6. Remove Creatives with Low Performance
    In the Reporting tab, metrics are readily available by Creative. This information can be used for manual optimization, to remove low performing Creatives and to direct more of the budget towards high performing ones. For example, if a Creative has received 70% of the budget, but only 5% of the clicks, this Creative should be removed from the campaign. See more information about Pontiac Creative reporting here: Creatives Reporting.