Creatives for Programmatic Direct

Creatives for Programmatic Direct are managed by the buyer in Display & Video 360 or other demand-side platforms (DSPs). They are not managed in Ad Manager by default.

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

Publisher-managed creatives are also possible. Creative types and formats supported for publisher-managed creatives are different than those supported for buyer-managed creatives.

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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 and audio ad type. Ad type in the context of Programmatic Direct indicates what creatives the buyer should upload later to a 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.

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 an in-stream video ad, you should select Video and audio as your ad type and In‑stream video and audio 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. 


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 and Mobile in-app

Buyers can manage standard native ad formats in Display & Video 360 or through other DSPs.

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 they understand what native assets are expected and that they have correctly configured them in their 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 in-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 and audio ad type

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

Creative preview is not currently supported for Programmatic Direct video and audio creatives.

In-stream video and audio

Ad type: Video and audio

Inventory type: In-stream video and audio

Buyers can upload supported video and audio formats for the master creative and 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.

Overlapping deal duration and skippability: If there are different values across the same deal type for the same inventory (e.g., two Preferred Deals of 30s and 35s each), the highest value will be set in the bid request. This can lead to the deal with the shorter duration value transacting with creatives up to the duration of the deal with the longer duration value.

This same limitation applies to skippability.

  • If all deals matching a request have the same "Skippable" setting (Disabled/Enabled/Any), this will be reflected in the flattened bid request for that type.
  • If these constraints differ, the Any setting will be applied, and both skippable and non-skippable ads will be allowed.

Size: Enter the inventory sizes for the creatives you want to use. Select "Audio" for audio ads.

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

Some video creative formats allow buyers to run video outside of a video stream. Learn more

For these formats, ensure that:

  • Ad units designated to run these creatives are opted into the "Video" ad experience
  • 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

Rewarded ads

Ad type: Video and audio

Inventory type: Mobile in-app out-stream video

Buyers can run creatives as rewarded ads for apps.  

Interstitial video ads

Ad type: Video and audio

Inventory type: Display out-stream video

In-article and in-feed video ads

Ad type: Video and audio

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 video publisher policies.

* 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 blocked 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. In the "Expected creatives" section, add each size that appears on the page to your proposal line item.
  2. Click Show creative details under the "Size" field.
  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.

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