Manage ads

Set up default ads

Default ads serve when no other ads are eligible to serve to a placement. That way, there's always an ad to show your audience. Default ads have no targeting criteria, so any user is eligible to receive them.

Available for: Placements with display or in-stream compatibility.

How they're created: Campaign Manager automatically creates default ads for in-stream and display placements. As soon as you add a creative with the right asset type, size and compatibility, Campaign Manager creates a default ad for it and assigns it to all matching placements.

When they're required: Required for display placements unless you change your Campaign Manager settings. You need one default ad for every size supported by the placement. Never required for other inventory.

How to change requirements for default ads on display placements

Unless you change your default Campaign Manager settings, Campaign Manager requires that placements on display inventory have default ads before allowing you to export tags.

You can disable this requirement if you change your account and user role settings. First, your account must be set to allow tags for placements without default ads: Admin > Account > Permissions > Tags for placements without default ads. Next, your user profile must have a user role that allows you to export tags for placements without default ads. You can enable this permission is in the "Permissions" section of your user role: Tags for placements without default ads.

Keep in mind that it's a good idea to require default ads for display placements. This is because display placements may show empty space of a grey GIF. If your display placements have default ads, this won't happen.

Steps to set up default ads

As noted above, Campaign Manager will automatically create default ads for these placements as soon as you upload matching creatives — provided the creatives are the right type, compatibility, and size, and the placement doesn't already have a default ad.

You can't create default ads manually. Instead, follow the steps below to upload creatives that match the compatibility and dimensions of your placements.

Set up a default ad in an existing campaign

If your display or in-stream placement does not yet have a default ad, use the steps below to add one.

  1. Check what placement or placements your default ad will serve to. That determines what kind of creative you need.

    • Display: For placements that have display compatibility, you need an image asset. You can use an image creative or a display creative with an image as the primary asset. Image creatives are supported by any browser. Note that display interstitial placements do not require default ads.

    • In-stream: For placements that have in-stream compatibility, you need an in-stream video creative. Any site with an in-stream placement should meet VAST 2.0, 3.0, or 4.0 specifications and therefore be able to handle in-stream video creatives served by Campaign Manager.

  2. Choose a creative to use in your default ad, based on the criteria above.

  3. In your campaign, click New > Upload and upload your creative.

    Campaign Manager automatically creates a default ad with this creative and assigns it to every placement that can use that particular type and size of default ad.

Set up default ads in a new campaign

Here's an easy way to make sure you've got all the default ads you need for display and in-stream placements:

  1. Collect all the default creatives you want for your display and in-stream placements.

    • Display: For placements that have display compatibility, you need an image asset. You can use an image creative or a display creative with an image as the primary asset. Image creatives are supported by any browser. Note that display interstitial placements do not require default ads.

    • In-stream: For placements that have in-stream compatibility, you need an in-stream video creative. Any site with an in-stream placement should meet VAST 2.0,  3.0, or 4.0 specifications and therefore be able to handle in-stream video creatives served by Campaign Manager.

    For example, if your campaign is going to use 300x250 and 400x400 display placements, you'll want to add 300x250 and 400x400 image creatives for your default ads. Or, if you have specific in-stream videos you want to use as default in-stream ads, gather them as well.

  2. Add all these default creatives to a folder on your computer. Upload the folder by clicking New > Batch upload in your campaign. Follow the batch upload process.

  3. Next, create the display and in-stream placements you plan to use in your campaign.

  4. As soon as you create the placements, Campaign Manager will automatically create default ads for them with your default creatives. Campaign Manager activates display default ads and assigns them to your placements.

    In-stream default ads are created and assigned, but are Inactive. If your in-stream campaign or ads include varying video lengths, leave the default ad inactive, and create your own ad rotations and targeting. This will prevent approval problems on publishers and exchanges when the video length doesn't match the default ad. If all of the videos in your campaign are the same length, activate the default ad instead.

     

If you extend the end dates of your campaign, make sure you extend your default ad run dates as well. The default ad end date should match the campaign end date. Default ads have a hard cut-off, so they'll stop serving after their end date.
Change the creative in a default ad

Make sure you have an alternative default creative of the same size. You can make the switch in the ad properties or the creative properties.

  • In the default ad properties, click Replace default creative under Default creative.

  •  In the default creative properties, click Replace under Creative assets and choose another default creative of the same dimensions (you may have to upload one first).

FAQ

Why do I need default ads for display placements?

A default ad ensures that you always have something to show on your display placement. This is important because display placements may look odd on the page if no ad is available for an impression. The user may see a grey GIF, a blank space, or an error.

To avoid this kind of scenario, Campaign Manager requires default ads when your placement is for display inventory. Campaign Manager will not allow you to generate tags for a display placement without a default ad.

When no ads are available in a video or interstitial, the user simply sees the publisher's content—the regular video appears, the mobile app shows its usual content, or the interstitial does not pop up, etc. But display placements are right on the page, so having no ad content for an impression can cause issues. That's why Campaign Manager requires default ads for display placements but not for placements on other inventory.

Here are some scenarios where your regular ads might not be able to serve:

  • The browser has a problem with the creative type in the other ads on the placement.

  • The user doesn't meet the targeting criteria of any of the regular ads on your placement. For example, all your regular ads are targeted to Japan, but the user is in Canada. If your user doesn't meet the targeting criteria, only the default ad can serve.

  • The regular ad on your placement has reached its end date, and the end date is set as a hard cut-off, meaning the ad can't serve past the end date. The default ad should be scheduled to run until the end of your campaign, so that it can serve instead.

  • The regular ad on your placement has met its impression goals. Ads can't serve once they have reached their impression goals. Default ads don't have impression goals, so they can serve instead.

Update the end dates for default ads in extended campaigns

Default ads have a hard cut-off, which means they won't be delivered after the end date and time. If you extend the dates of your campaign after you've created default ads, be sure to extend the dates of your default ads as well.

When can I deactivate default ads?

You should almost never deactivate default ads. Only deactivate default ads if it becomes urgent to stop all delivery immediately. This will stop the default ads from serving in all its assigned placements. If no ads or default ads can serve to a placement with live tags, grey GIFs will serve instead.

If it's urgently necessary, you can manually deactivate a default ad from within the ad properties (set the status to Inactive), preventing it from being delivered. Or you can just deactivate the default creative assigned to the default ad. (There is no need to deactivate both the default ad and its default creative.)

Campaign Manager automatically deactivates a default ad if there are no matching placements for it. For example, if there's only one 300x250 placement in your campaign and you change the placement to 300x200, the 300x250 default ad will deactivate.

I created a few more placements in my campaign. Do I need to add default ads?

It depends:

  • If the new placements match the size of existing default ads, Campaign Manager automatically adds your existing default ads to them. You don't need to add anything. And if the new placements are in-stream video placements, you don't need to add anything either, because video creatives match any size.

  • If there is already an image in your campaign that matches the size of the new placements, Campaign Manager creates a default ad and uses that image asset. The new default ad is automatically added to any new placements that match. You don't need to add anything.

  • But if there are no creatives that match the size of your new placements, you'll need to pick image assets with matching dimensions and upload them to your campaign.

If you extend the end dates of your campaign, make sure you extend your default ad run dates as well. The default ad end date should match the campaign end date. Default ads have a hard cut-off, so they'll stop serving after their end date.
Why does my default ad serve at a higher rate than I expect?

There are several reasons why a default ad may serve instead of another ad. Learn more

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