Creatives for Programmatic Direct

Learn about creatives for Programmatic Direct

View related Skillshop training course

Creatives for Programmatic Direct are hosted in Display & Video 360 or in other demand-side platforms (DSPs) by the buyer. They are not hosted or managed in Ad Manager by default. Buyer hosted creatives makes creative management easier for both you and the buyer. Learn more

Publisher hosted creatives are possible but recommended for only special cases. Creatives types and formats supported for publisher hosted creatives are different than those supported for buyer hosted creative. Learn more

This article covers supported creative types and formats when the creative is buyer hosted. 

Understand creative requirements

Determine your buyer's creative requirements before sending a proposal to the buyer. The creative is the central and most important piece of any advertiser's or buyer's campaign, and the proposal line item should be configured to align with those creative requirements.

As the first step of adding a proposal line item, you need to choose either the Display or Video ad type. Ad type in the context of Programmatic Direct indicates what creatives the buyer should upload later to Display & Video 360 or another DSP. 

Ad type also filters the inventory types that can be set in the proposal line item. Inventory type tells Ad Manager the kind of inventory or medium in which an ad serves.


Good to know

Ad type and inventory type

When you send a proposal to the buyer for the first time, ad type and inventory type in the  proposal line item are fixed and can't be changed. If these setting don't reflect the buyer's creative requirements, you can copy the proposal line item and make modifications.


If your buyer wants to run a campaign with a native ad format, you need to select the Display ad type and the Display inventory type when adding the proposal line item. If you know your buyer wants to run a rewarded ad, you should select Video as your ad type and Mobile in-app out-stream video as the inventory type.

Display ad type

For all of the following creatives, you need to select the "Display" ad type when adding a proposal line item. You can choose either Standard for stand-alone creatives or Master/companion to serve sets of creatives together.


Ad type: Display

Inventory type: Display

Buyers can upload standard image creatives to Display & Video 360 or another DSP.

Native format

Ad type: Display

Inventory type: Display

Buyers can manage standard native ad formats in Display & Video 360.

Custom native ad formats are only supported when you use publisher-managed creatives for Programmatic Guaranteed.
  • When configuring the proposal line item, select one of these standard native ad formats from the "Sizes" dropdown: Native content ad, Native video content ad, Native app install ad, or Native video app install ad.
  • Ensure that the buyer configures two creatives—one square, one rectangle. There's no specific size requirement for either, but the rectangle ratio should be 1.91:1 or within 10% of this ratio.

    Coordinate with the buyer to ensure that it understands what native assets are expected and that it has correctly configured them in its DSP.

Learn more about Standard native ad format and how to report on native ads.

Interstitials for mobile apps

Ad type: Display

Inventory type: Mobile app

Buyers can manage interstitials for mobile app creatives. Inventory type for interstitial display creatives should be set to "Mobile app" in proposal line items. Coordinate with buyers to ensure you know what kind of interstitial creative they want to run. Based on the kind of interstitial they want to run, you need to set the appropriate inventory sizes for creatives in Ad Manager.

Interstitials for mobile web (out-of-page, 1x1) are only supported when you use publisher-managed creatives for Programmatic Guaranteed.

Video ad type

For all of the following creatives, you need to select the "Video" ad type when adding a proposal line item. Video creatives by default can include an optional companion creative to the main or "master" video creative. If you don't need a companion, simply don't add one while working with the video creative.

In-stream video

Ad type: Video

Inventory type: In-stream video

Buyers can upload supported video formats for the master creative and attach an optional companion creative.

Max duration is required for programmatic proposal line items. The value entered is used for forecasting and to enforce the maximum duration of videos buyers can upload when working with optimized pods for video VAST ads. If buyers upload videos that exceed this maximum, video ad serving could fail.

Size: The IMA SDK supports vertical video. To display vertical video ads, you can set the height (or first) value as the larger dimension in the video size. A 4:5 video creative ratio is recommended for vertical video.

Out-stream video

Buyers can run out-stream creative formats. Out-stream formats include interstitial video ads, native video ads, rewarded ads, and in-article or in-feed video ads. Out-stream formats allow your buyers to create a variety of ad experiences. Learn more

Ensure that:

  • Ad units designated to run out-stream creatives are opted into the "Video" ad experience
  • These ad units include the 300x250v (video) size in their configuration
  • Proposal line items target these ad units
  • Proposal line items target include the 300x250v (video) size

Programmatic Direct campaigns require a specific ad type, inventory type, and inventory size. Learn more

Rewarded ads

Ad type: Video

Inventory type: Mobile app out-stream video

Buyers can run creatives as rewarded ads for apps.  

Interstitial video ads

Ad type: Video

Inventory type: Display out-stream video

In-article and in-feed video ads

Ad type: Video

Inventory type: Display out-stream video

In-article and in-feed video ad implementation requirements and restrictions

All publishers share the same default rendering for in-article and in-feed video ad formats. Click-to-expand ("reflow") functionality, click-to-close functionality, and VPAID are not currently supported.*

Out-stream video ads must comply with the out-stream video ad policy.

* Out-stream native ads offer custom styles. If your ad requires customization, consider native ads.

Best practices

Ad traffic quality

Publishers should follow the standards and best practices outlined in Google Ad Traffic Quality . This resource includes topics such as:

  • Importance of high quality websites
  • Correct implementation of ads
  • Monitoring traffic regularly
  • Rules on disabling accounts

Creatives uploaded by the buyer are approved by Google before Programmatic Direct campaigns run. Ensure that the buyer's creatives have been approved or delivery will not start. Google filters invalid or blacklisted traffic that violates the Google Ad Manager Partner Guidelines.

Programmatic Direct campaigns can be affected when these best practices are not followed and could result in lower than expected delivery.


Some campaigns might need to target inventory of the same sizes on a single page. A common case are roadblock campaigns, where your buyer wants to serve multiple creatives on the same page.

In Ad Manager:

  • Specify a count for each size in proposal line items. Adding a count ensures that Ad Manager adds the correct number of sizes of creative placeholders in the corresponding line item. This means that Ad Manager can request the correct number of creatives and sizes from the buyer's DSP and ad serving.
  • Set "Display creatives" to All or As many as possible. Learn more

To specify count:

  1. Click provide some creative details under the "Size" field in a proposal line item.
  2. Add each size that appears on the page to your proposal line item.
  3. In the "Count" field, enter the number of each size.

There is no need for you to inform buyers of this nuance in configuration, but make sure they have configured creatives in Display & Video 360 or DSP for the sizes you indicated.

Creative-level targeting

The provide some creative details feature can be used enable creative-level targeting. Creative-level targeting is applied to the corresponding line item, not in the originating proposal line item. 

Creative-level targeting can be applied to these line items only if:

  • The originating proposal line item was configured with more than one size. Click "provide some creative details" under the "Sizes" section of a proposal line item to configure additional sizes.
  • The "Creative source" setting in the originating proposal line item was set to Publisher managedLearn more

If only one size is included in the originating proposal line item, the corresponding line item won't be enabled for creative-level targeting. If the "Creative source" is set to Advertiser provided, creative-level targeting can't be applied.

Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?