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Creatives for Programmatic Direct

Learn about creatives for Programmatic Direct

This article provides details about creative hosting, creative reporting, and how to manage creative formats under Programmatic Direct.

Creative hosting

Creatives aren't hosted in Ad Manager but hosted in Display & Video 360 by the buyer. Once a buyer has accepted a proposal, Display & Video 360 creates parallel line items in Display & Video 360 reflecting the agreed terms. Buyers should upload and configure creatives in Display & Video 360 line items.

Delivery of Programmatic Direct campaigns

  • Ensure that you're following best practices for ad traffic quality in your Programmatic Direct campaigns. Google filters invalid or blacklisted traffic that violates the Google Ad Manager Partner Guidelines.
  • 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.

Programmatic Direct campaigns can be affected by either of these factors and could result in lower than expected delivery.

In addition to the line items in Display & Video 360, Ad Manager creates corresponding line items (in a corresponding order) in Ad Manager reflecting the agreed terms. Ad Manager also automatically creates placeholder creatives in the corresponding line items based on the inventory sizes you added to the originating proposal line items.

Illustration of Ad Manager and Display & Video 360 creative hosting

Proposals and proposal line items are used for negotiation. When finalized, corresponding orders and line items are used for delivery and reporting in Ad Manager. Creatives are hosted in Display & Video 360.

Ad Manager                                                                                                Display & Video 360
or DSP
Proposal &
proposal line items
                         order & line items
Parallel line items

Ad Manager                                                                                                               Display & Video 360
A Proposal     B   Corresponding order E Parallel line items
C Proposal line items     D   Corresponding line items Hosted creatives
           Placeholder creatives    

Ad Manager uses the placeholder creatives and targeted ad units to request creatives from Display & Video 360. In the case of roadblock campaigns, you should indicate a count if the proposal line item targets inventory of the same sizes on a single page.

The order, line item, and creative placeholders can be used to report on delivery in the Query Tool.

Creative reporting

If you've correctly specified inventory sizes in your proposal line item, there should be a one-to-one relationship between creatives in Display & Video 360 and the creative placeholders in Ad Manager. You can then generate creative reports in the Query Tool based on these placeholders.

The exception is video master/companion campaigns. While you can run video master/companion campaigns, Ad Manager does not collect metrics on companion ads hosted in Display & Video 360. As a result, Ad Manager reports won't capture delivery for companion ads in reporting for programmatic campaigns.

Manage creative formats

The types of creatives buyers can run on your inventory depends on the types of environments that have been configured in your Ad Manager network. Ad Manager administrator (or user with similar permissions) can configure environments.


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.


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.

Buyers should upload creatives in audio format for the master ad. The companion ad can be any standard display creative. Learn more about trafficking audio campaigns for Programmatic Guaranteed.


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.


Programmatic Direct supports interstitial creatives. Environment type for interstitial display creatives should be set to "Mobile in-app" in proposal line items. Ensure that you use the appropriate inventory sizes for interstitial creatives.


Proposal line items that run creatives as rewarded ads for apps should be set to "Mobile in-app out-stream video". Like interstitial creatives, you'll need to use the correct inventory sizes.


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