Publisher-managed creatives for Programmatic Guaranteed

This feature is only available for transactions with Display & Video 360 partners.

You can set who manages or hosts the creative with the Creative source setting. This option is available only for Programmatic Guaranteed campaigns and not Preferred Deals.

When set to "Advertiser provided", buyers manage and host creatives instead of their being hosted and managed in Ad Manager. When set to "Publisher managed", you host the creative in Ad Manager. The default "Advertiser provided" makes creative management easier for you and the buyer, while the "Publisher managed" option allows you to:

  • Sell custom formats and use existing Ad Manager creative management tools
  • Have more control over the creatives that serve on your site
  • Ensure creatives fall under the same policy as direct reservations
  • Use any Native ad format, including Custom or Standard. When advertiser managed, buyers are limited to the Standard Native ad formats in Display & Video 360.

View related Skillshop training course

Sequence of action items

The following outlines the sequence of action items that must be completed when creatives are publisher managed.

  1. You and the buyer agree to a publisher-managed creative.

    Before you set a proposal line item to Publisher managed, ensure that the buyer with whom you're doing business agrees that creatives are to be managed in Ad Manager.

  2. Create a proposal and proposal line item and set the creative source.

    Creative source is set for each proposal line item in a proposal. Ensure that "Creative source" is set to Publisher managed in all proposal line items. All proposal line items in a proposal must use the same creative source.

    When terms are agreed in the proposal, request acceptance from the buyer.

    Size is read-only in proposals sent to the buyer

    You may add multiple sizes to a single proposal line item, and multiple creatives for those sizes to the resulting corresponding line item. Be sure that you've added the right sizes before sending it to the buyer for the first time. When creatives are publisher managed, sizes cannot be changed once a proposal has been sent to the buyer for the first time.

    If sizes have been incorrectly configured in a sent proposal, copy the proposal (and its proposal line items) and edit the sizes to reflect the buyer's creative needs. Be sure to terminate negotiation and archive the proposal with the incorrect sizes. 

    When the buyer accepts the proposal, Ad Manager creates a corresponding order and line items in Ad Manager for purposes of delivery. At the same time, Display & Video 360 automatically creates a parallel line item.

    Delivery settings

    Delivery settings can be configured in proposal line items and will be duplicated to corresponding line items when the proposal is accepted. Settings include how to deliver impressions and display creatives. Creative rotation is set to "Optimized" by default and the isn't configurable—you won't find the options in the proposal line item or corresponding line item.

    Buyers now need to complete creative configuration in Display & Video 360 before ad serving can start. Learn more in "3—Ensure buyer completes configuration in Display & Video 360" next.

  3. Ensure buyer completes configuration in Display & Video 360.

    Communicate with buyers to make sure they complete configuration of line items after accepting.

    Display & Video 360 creates a tracking creative in the parallel line item when users configure inventory. This creative is a placeholder used for the purposes of click and impression tracking in Display & Video 360. A valid tracking creative must exist in Display & Video 360 before ad serving can start.

    Allow up to 4 hours for the tracking creative to be registered and functional.

    • If there is no tracking creative in Display & Video 360 by the start date of the campaign, Ad Manager fails to serve ads even if there's a valid creative associated with the corresponding line item in Ad Manager.
    • If creative trafficking has been successfully completed in Ad Manager, but the line item is in "Ready" status after its start date, contact the buyer to ensure they have correctly configured a tracking creative in Display & Video 360.
    • Impression tracking is not a valid localhost use, as there is no guarantee that a Programmatic Guaranteed line item would win all the time. 
  4. Set up creative for Ad Manager delivery line item.

    Add creatives to the corresponding delivery line item in Ad Manager. Creatives in Ad Manager are used for ad serving and to render the ad when creative source is publisher managed.

    See a list of creative types and formats you can traffic for Programmatic Guaranteed when they are publisher managed.

    Impression attribution in reporting

    You may add multiple sizes to a single proposal line item, and multiple creatives for those sizes to the resulting corresponding line item.

    Ad Manager breaks down impression attribution for each creative as usual in its reporting, even if creatives are of the same size. Note, however, that Display & Video 360 aggregates impression attribution for creatives of the same size in its reporting

    You'll need to include the click tracking macro for every creative type (except image creatives) in the creative snippet or template. Image creatives don't require macros since Ad Manager automatically tracks impressions and clicks for them.

    Click-tracking macros include:


    Macros come in two types: escaped (which mention "ESC" or "ESC_ESC") and unescaped (which mention "UNESC"). If the macro is inserted at the start of a URL, use unescaped click-tracking macros. If the macro is inserted at the end of a URL, use the escaped macros. Learn more in Escaped vs. unescaped URL macros.


    For a click-tracking macro, insert the unescaped macro before the click-through URL like this:

    <a href="%%CLICK_URL_UNESC%%" target="_top">Click text</a>

    See more examples in Click macros.

    Only use “View” macro for out-of-page creatives

    Make sure to use the VIEW_URL_UNESC macro only with out-of-page creatives to ensure accurate impression counting. Using “View” macros (VIEW_URL_ESC or VIEW_URL_UNESC) in other situations with publisher-managed creatives could cause double counting of impressions.

Supported creatives and formats

See the creative types and formats that are supported in Ad Manager for publisher-managed creatives.

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