Roadblock creatives

Set up master/companion creatives

Control how roadblocks appear in your content

If the order in which creatives appear for a roadblock line item is important, you can define master/companion creative sets to control which creative appears first in your content.

The "master" creative always appears first. The "companion" creatives follow the "master" creatives and never serve without the "master" creative. In Ad Manager reporting, a single impression is counted for the roadblock line item when a master/companion creative set serves, rather than an impression for each creative.

In a creative set, there can be one "master" creative and up to eight "companion" creatives.

For more information:

Before you start

This feature is not enabled by default and must be enabled in Ad Manager by your network administrator.

  1. Sign in to Google Ad Manager.
  2. Click Admin and then Global settings and then Features.
  3. Click the toggle to turn the Master/companion roadblocks feature on or off.
  4. Click the toggle to turn the Guaranteed roadblocks feature (GPT SRA only) on or off.

Set up a Master/companion ad type

  1. Create a new line item and select the ad type Display (Master/companion).
  2. In "Expected creatives", select the "Creative size" which determines the "master" creative size. Then select one or more "Companion sizes" for the "companion" creatives.

    While you can add more than one set of creatives for each master/companion roadblock size definition, each definition must have a unique master creative size.

  3. (Optional) Click Add size to set up additional master/companion creative sets.
  4. Choose how to display companions:
    • Optional: Master creatives can be served even if no companion creatives are served alongside them. Where it's possible to serve companion creatives, Ad Manager will give priority to companion creatives over creatives from other creative sets or line items.
    • At least one: A master creative will only be served if at least one companion creative can be served alongside it.
    • All: Only a complete master/companion creative set will be served.

      This option requires Google Publisher Tag use single request architecture (SRA), otherwise line items with this setting are treated as if they were set to "Optional" and companion delivery is not guaranteed. If any of the line item's creatives have creative-level targeting applied, delivery might be affected.

  5. Click Save and ... > Upload creative set. If you have multiple creative set size groups, choose one.
  6. Upload master and up to 8 companion creatives, then click Save. You can add existing creatives or upload new ones as you normally would. 

    It's not necessary to add a creative for companion creative sizes. A creative for the master creative size is necessary for delivery, but you can omit any companion sizes.

    If, however, the "Display companions" setting is set to At least one for the line item, at least one companion creative is required before the line item can deliver.

  7. If you have additional creatives to upload, click Add creative and click on the the Master/companion creative.

    If you share companion creatives across multiple creative sets, only the first creative set that a companion creative is assigned to will deliver.

Tagging considerations

While any Google Publisher Tag (GPT) mode and tag type is compatible with master/companion creative sets, here are some tips to ensure your tags are set up for optimal roadblock performance.

Understand sequential ad request processing

The ad server always processes ad requests from a webpage or mobile app sequentially, in the order in which the requests are received. Even with SRA, the sequence for ad request processing is defined by the order of the googletag.defineSlot() functions in your tagging code.

If SRA is not enabled, the master creative must fill the first ad slot that matches the line item targeting. If a previously-defined ad slot matches the line item targeting but it doesn't match the master creative size, or if another higher-priority line item serves, the entire roadblock will not be delivered. See an example

Asynchronous and synchronous rendering options do not affect roadblock delivery

While these rendering styles can affect how creatives are displayed, they do not affect which line items are selected by the ad server.  

Single request architecture (SRA) is required for guaranteed roadblocks

SRA for Google Publisher Tag informs the ad server of all ad slots at the initial request, so Ad Manager can ensure the "Display companions" setting is honored. If SRA is not implemented in your tags, the "Display companions" setting is ignored.

Multiple ad slots of the same size require their own creative

Each creative in a line item can only serve once on a page, so a separate creative needs to be uploaded in Ad Manager for each roadblock ad slot.

For example, if you have two 300x250 ad slots on your page, you need to upload two 300x250 creatives because a single 300x250 creative cannot serve to both ad slots.

Companions earn priority over other line items

Once a roadblock line item delivers to an ad slot, the remaining roadblock creatives are given priority over other line items, even those with a higher priority value than the roadblock line item, for all subsequent matching ad slots on the page.

See an example

Let's say you have a roadblock line item with one creative set: a 728x90 master creative and three companions, 300x600, 60x60, and 300x250. For this line item to deliver correctly, the 728x90 ad slot must be defined before any other matching ad slot in the GPT code.

When you save a creative set, the defined companion sizes are sorted by width, from narrowest to widest, and height, from shortest to tallest. So, our example list of companion sizes becomes 60x60, 300x250, 300x600.

To serve this line item to a page, we might use the following ad slot definitions:

//Define the master creative
googletag.defineSlot("my_ad_unit", [728, 90], "random-001")

//Define the companion creatives
googletag.defineSlot("my_ad_unit", [300, 250], "random-002")
googletag.defineSlot("my_ad_unit", [[300, 600], [300, 250]], "random-003")
googletag.defineSlot("my_ad_unit", [60, 60], "random-004")

Here we have defined four ad slots on our page. There are a few important points to note:

  • The master creative size must be the first matching slot defined, even when using single request architecture (SRA), as Ad Manager processes the list of defined slots sequentially. This allows you to to select "All" in companion delivery to have "All" roadblocking in a line item.

    If we had added a non-matching size first, say 1x1, the roadblock would still serve since that size doesn't match the roadblock line item.
  • Since there are multiple ad slots eligible for the 300x250 creative size, we defined the flexible slot last to ensure that both the 300x250 and 300x600 companion creatives serve. If we had defined the flexible ad slot first, Ad Manager might have selected the 300x250 companion creative for the flexible ad slot, since both companions were eligible, and then would not have been able to serve the 300x250 or 300x600 companion creatives to the inflexible 300x250 ad slot.
  • If SRA is not enabled and the 300x250 ad slot were defined before the 728x90 ad slot, the roadblock would not deliver. An ad slot matching the line item may be found before an ad slot matching the master creative size of the line item.

Report on creative sets

For roadblock creatives with creative sets, only master creative impressions are surfaced in reporting, by default. To report on both master and companion creative impressions, there are two options.

Include the Master and Companion creative dimension in your report

You can also include the "Master or companion" dimension attribute so that each row in the report shows the correct type for the creative.

Clicks for both master and companion creatives for a creative set are aggregated together for each report row when this dimension is included in your report.

Include the Creative size dimension in your report.

Only the creative size of the master appears in your report.

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