What is a Manifest?
For our purposes, a manifest is simply a group of basic business data about a given advertiser, which comes in a specific and consistent file format.
Not so bad, right?
Typically, every time a publisher partner sends us a PDF advertisement, they send a matching manifest entry (the group of data about that particular business) along with it. To send a manifest entry, export the business's information from the ad order entry system and upload it to OwnLocal via the same FTP you use to send PDF ads.
Why Do We Use Manifests?
As active authorities on your community, you have the most accurate and up-to-date information about the businesses who advertise with you. In fact, if one of your advertisers changes their business location or phone number, you're probably going to know about it before Google does.
That’s why we like to use the information you collect about your customers as our first resource for business data. The data you provide in an advertiser's manifest is used to fill out their Business Profile on the OwnLocal Platform.
If you are unable to provide manifests or complete manifest information, not to worry! We have alternate methods of data collection.
There are two different types of manifests that OwnLocal accepts: display ad manifests and liner manifests. They have slightly different specifications and requirements. For more detailed information on each, please see the following articles:
During your onboarding process, we will need you to generate a sample manifest file containing live business information from a minimum of three of your display advertisers.
Note: If you plan to send us your liner/classified ads, you will need to export and send a sample manifest containing multiple live entries from your classified ad software. We ask for live business data because it allows us anticipate real life patterns that occur in your exports. The sooner you can send us this sample, the better!
Once you’ve created these sample manifest files, send them to your OwnLocal contact and we will get to work on writing a custom "parser" for your manifests. This "parser" is a computer program that will know how to read and identify your business data. Since we are writing a special parser just for you, it is imperative that you do not change the format of your manifests in any way after testing or we won't able to correctly parse your manifest. If you need to make a change to your manifest at any time, let firstname.lastname@example.org know, and we can make arrangements to update your custom parser.
Don't worry! Ad order entry systems, whether well-known software or in-house solutions, vary significantly from partner to partner. For this reason, generating manifests and sending manifests has required many unique iterations over the years. If you have questions or concerns, please contact our Onboarding Team. They will work with you to figure out the best manifest solution for your current system.