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Python, Django & the Google Adsense API

How to talk to the Google Adsense API with Django/Python

I have been tasked with updating our real-time revenue stats at Neutron. After spending about a week going though and updating our PHP scripts I finally decided it would be worth my time and sanity to start from scratch with Python. I'm building a Django application that will store revenue stats from different sources, which I can then use to build views and an API for stat tools.

So for the past few days I've been writing scripts that log in to other websites and scrape data, or accessing the site's API's if they have one. I've learned a few things.

  1. requests > httplib2
  2. SOAP is the suck, but at least its an API. Suds makes SOAP suck less. I get it that SOAP is basically all .net developers know as far as APIs. ;)
  3. Beautiful Soup is a nice last resort.
  4. I've actually been surprised how many businesses can survive on such crappy technology.

I saved Google Adsense for last, figuring they would have the best API and it would therefore be the easiest to implement. It turned out more challenging than I anticipated. Apparently you can't just plug in a username/password or API key, you have to go through the whole Oauth2 handshake to gain access to the API.

I found documentation was not as easy to find as I had hoped unfortunately. I found many broken links to documentation. Of all people I thought Google would be better at this. For example, on their most up to date developer docs I could find they point to this broken link to read more about authentication and authorization. (OK, that was weird, as soon as I posted it here, the link started working - I guess you can all thank me for that ;))

So this blog post is an attempt to document the process of getting reports out of Adsense and into my Django application.

In order to use Google's API for accessing Adsense reports, you need to use the Adsense Management API. This API only support OAuth so you have to do the authentication flow in the browser at least once in order to get your credentials, then you can save these credentials so you have access going forward. To be honest, while I've heard about OAuth many times, I have never actually had a need to use it until now. So I'm learning as I go and feel free to leave a comment and point any misunderstandings I might have.

As I understand it, Google has one large API for their various products. Before you can talk to Adsense, you have to register your application through the Google API console. I registered my application. Since I don't have a live URL yet, I used my development URL for now (localhost:8000). It seemed to work just fine. Download the JSON file with the link provided.

Also, while your managing your APIs. You will need to go to the services tab and turn on AdSense Management API if you have not already done so. Otherwise, when you try to make a request you will just get an error message that says "Access Not Configured".

Google has created a client library for Python, which is easily installed with pip. They also have a Django sample project that uses this library to go through the OAuth2 handshake. I think it was written in Django 1.1 (Django 1.5 was just released as of this writing) so it is a bit out of date, but helps greatly as a starting point.

My app is simple. I just want to read in the amount of revenue on a given day and store it in my local database.

I created a new app in my django project called adsense. I created a file to store credentials.

1from django.contrib.auth.models import User from django.db import
2models from oauth2client.django_orm import CredentialsField
4class Credential(models.Model): id = models.ForeignKey(User, primary_key=True)
5credential = CredentialsField()
7class Revenue(models.Model): date = models.DateField(unique=True) revenue =
8models.DecimalField(max_digits=7, decimal_places=2)
10 def __unicode__(self):
11 return '{0} ${1}'.format(, self.revenue)

I put the JSON file I downloaded from the API console in my app folder and created a the following

1import os
3from django.conf import settings
4from django.contrib.auth.decorators import login_required
5from django.contrib.sites.models import Site
6from django.http import HttpResponseBadRequest, HttpResponse
7from django.http import HttpResponseRedirect
8from oauth2client import xsrfutil
9from oauth2client.client import flow_from_clientsecrets
10from oauth2client.django_orm import Storage
12from .models import Credential
15CLIENT_SECRETS = os.path.join(os.path.dirname(__file__), 'client_secrets.json')
17FLOW = flow_from_clientsecrets(
19 scope='',
20 redirect_uri='http://{0}/adsense/oauth2callback/'.format(
21 Site.objects.get_current().domain))
25def index(request):
26 storage = Storage(Credential, 'id', request.user, 'credential')
27 credential = storage.get()
28 if credential is None or credential.invalid is True:
29 FLOW.params['state'] = xsrfutil.generate_token(
30 settings.SECRET_KEY, request.user)
31 # force approval prompt in order to get refresh_token
32 FLOW.params['approval_prompt'] = 'force'
33 authorize_url = FLOW.step1_get_authorize_url()
34 return HttpResponseRedirect(authorize_url)
35 else:
36 return HttpResponse('Validated.')
40def auth_return(request):
41 if not xsrfutil.validate_token(
42 settings.SECRET_KEY, request.REQUEST['state'], request.user):
43 return HttpResponseBadRequest()
44 credential = FLOW.step2_exchange(request.REQUEST)
45 storage = Storage(Credential, 'id', request.user, 'credential')
46 storage.put(credential)
47 return HttpResponseRedirect("/adsense/")

Note that on line 32 I added a parameter to force the approval prompt. I was having problems getting "invalid_grant" errors because it seemed my credentials would expire. I'd have to go through the OAuth2 handshake every morning. I learned after much research that I wasn't getting a refresh_token back. I found this tip on StackOverflow explaining how to get it. This line seemed to fix that problem.

In my main file I include a link to my app urls file:


1from django.conf.urls import patterns, include, url
2from django.contrib import admin
6urlpatterns = patterns(
7 '',
8 url(r'^adsense/', include('adsense.urls', namespace='adsense')),
10 url(r'^admin/doc/', include('django.contrib.admindocs.urls')),
11 url(r'^admin/', include(,


1from django.conf.urls import patterns, url
3urlpatterns = patterns(
4 'adsense.views',
5 url(r'^$', 'index', name='index'),
6 url(r'^oauth2callback/$', 'auth_return', name='auth_return'),

Lastly, I have a class that makes the call to the API to get revenue for given dates. This is located in adsense/ as I will likely hook this up soon to run as a task with Celery/RabbitMQ.

1import datetime
2import httplib2
4from apiclient.discovery import build
5from celery.task import PeriodicTask
6from django.contrib.auth.models import User
7from oauth2client.django_orm import Storage
9from .models import Credential, Revenue
13YESTERDAY = TODAY - datetime.timedelta(days=1)
16class GetReportTask(PeriodicTask):
17 run_every = datetime.timedelta(minutes=2)
19 def run(self, *args, **kwargs):
20 scraper = Scraper()
21 scraper.get_report()
24class Scraper(object):
25 def get_report(self, start_date=YESTERDAY, end_date=TODAY):
26 user = User.objects.get(pk=1)
27 storage = Storage(Credential, 'id', user, 'credential')
28 credential = storage.get()
29 if not credential is None and credential.invalid is False:
30 http = httplib2.Http()
31 http = credential.authorize(http)
32 service = build('adsense', 'v1.2', http=http)
33 reports = service.reports()
34 report = reports.generate(
35 startDate=start_date.strftime('%Y-%m-%d'),
36 endDate=end_date.strftime('%Y-%m-%d'),
37 dimension='DATE',
38 metric='EARNINGS',
39 )
40 data = report.execute()
41 for row in data['rows']:
42 date = row[0]
43 revenue = row[1]
45 try:
46 record = Revenue.objects.get(date=date)
47 except Revenue.DoesNotExist:
48 record = Revenue()
49 = date
50 record.revenue = revenue
52 else:
53 print 'Invalid Adsense Credentials'

To make it work, I got to http://localhost:8000/adsense/. I'm then prompted to log in to my Google account. I authorize my app to allow Adsense access. The credentials are then stored in my local database and I can call my Scraper get_report() method. Congratulations to me, it worked!

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Dustin Davis

Dustin Davis is a software engineer, people manager, hacker, and entreprenuer. He loves to develop systems and automation. He lives with his wife and five kids in Utah.

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