In-stream audio creatives contain an audio file that plays in a publisher’s digital audio player. They are handled similarly to in-stream video creatives, except they only have audio and no video component.
About VAST for in-stream audio
Campaign Manager uses the Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) standard to serve in-stream audio ads. This is the same standard used for in-stream video and VPAID content. In-stream audio VAST content is audio-only and doesn’t contain any video media files.
Even though they both use VAST, you can’t add audio files to in-stream video creatives or video files to in-stream audio creatives.
Campaign Manager is VAST 2.0, VAST 3.0, and VAST 4.0 compliant and provides placement tags for each type. Always check the IAB’s specifications (2.0, 3.0, 4.0) to see what features are available on each version of VAST.
The Digital Audio Ad Serving Template (DAAST) is not supported.
Components of an in-stream audio creative
The raw audio asset you upload to Campaign Manager is known as your source file. Campaign Manager will also transcode your asset. Transcodes are alternate versions of your source file that have different formats or properties, each designed for specific audio players or bandwidths.
Your source file plus any other versions are all serving files. These serving files each have the same audio content as your original asset, just in different formats or with different properties.
If you include multiple serving files, the publisher's system can choose the best version of your asset for each impression, based on factors such as device type, connection speed, and the audio player on the site.
Companion creatives (optional)
You can add image or HTML5 assets for Campaign Manager to display around the publisher’s audio player. They are delivered in the same VAST tag as your serving files. Companions serve while the audio content is playing and remain after the content has completed.
The planning process for in-stream audio creatives is almost identical to an in-stream video creative. First a media planner works with the publisher and creative developer to get assets ready. Then a trafficker sets up creatives to serve in Campaign Manager.
- The advertiser and site publisher make an agreement to show ads with audio creatives.
- The media planner confirms that the site can support in-stream audio creatives per the IAB VAST standard 2.0. 3.0, or 4.0. Publishers must support VAST with audio-only media assets.
- The media planner collects site specifications for the audio creative, such as the format. These details ensure the creative is right for that particular site.
- The developer packages the audio creative based on the site specifications.
- The developer and media planner make sure the trafficker has the necessary audio assets to set up the ad in Campaign Manager.
After media planning is completed, the trafficker uses Campaign Manager to set up ads to deliver the audio creative to the site.
- The trafficker gathers audio assets from the developer and media planner. The trafficker also confirms any landing pages or other tracking URLs (impression pixels, click trackers, etc.).
- The trafficker adds audio assets from the developer into Campaign Manager.
- The trafficker may also add companion creatives and include third-party URLs that log data about the creative, including user interactions.
- Now the trafficker assigns the creative to ads and the ads to placements.
- The trafficker generates tags for placements that have the creatives, tests the tags, and sends them to the publisher (or makes them available for download via our publisher paid system).
- The trafficker handles any post-launch issues and checks reporting.
Traffic in-stream audio creatives
Step 1: Create an in-stream audio creative
To get started, create a new in-stream audio creative in your campaign or advertiser-level "Creatives" tab.
- Open your campaign or advertiser.
- Click New > In-stream audio.
- Name your creative in the Creative name field. Or leave it blank, and Campaign Manager will name your creative based on the audio file you upload.
- (Optional) Include a registered Universal Ad ID for your creative that will be included in VAST tags. You can add IDs from Ad-ID, Clearcast, another provider, or use a Campaign Manager-generated ID. In VAST 2.0 and 3.0 tags, this ID will appear in the
adidnode. In VAST 4.0 tags, this ID will appear in the
- (Optional) Enter any notes you have on your creative in the Description.
Step 2: Add audio assets
Follow the steps below to traffic a single audio creative.
- Under Creative assets in your in-stream audio creative, click Add asset and select your audio file.
- The maximum size allowed is 1GB.
- Always upload a source file with the highest possible specifications you have available so that Campaign Manager can transcode the asset into as many serving files as possible. We recommend you use a high-definition audio file that meets the following requirements:
- File type: .mp3
- Bitrate: At least 192 Kbps, recommended 320 Kbps
- Bit: At least 16 bit
- Sample rate: At least 44.1 kHz
- Audio settings: Required
- Save your creative so that Campaign Manager can process your asset. Campaign Manager will not begin processing it until you save.
- Wait for Campaign Manager to process your asset. Campaign Manager will now validate the asset and transcode it into a set of serving files. If you want, you can leave the page and work on other things while you wait. Nothing you do will interrupt the processing.
- You can continue when the "Progress" column shows that transcoding is complete for the serving files you need.
- If you have issues, see the FAQ below.
- Choose which serving files to include with your creative. Make this choice in the Serving files section: select ON under Include in serving to include a file.
- Add additional assets if needed. Campaign Manager will use all of the assets you add to generate serving files.
- Notes on duration in your files:
- If you add more assets, make sure they are all about the same duration. No asset you add can be more than a second longer or shorter than the others. In other words, if the duration varies, it must vary by less than a second.
- Campaign Manager rounds duration up to the nearest second in the UI and your VAST tags. For example, if you upload an audio asset of 15.7 seconds, Campaign Manager will round that up to 16 seconds in the UI and in your VAST tags.
- (Optional) Set up companion creatives.
- (Optional) Set up third-party URLs.
- (Optional) Set up creative fields.
- Save your creative.
Note: Batch upload is not available for in-stream audio creatives.
- Click the preview button at the top of your creative properties.
- There are two preview modes: Mobile and Desktop.
- Mobile preview mode (recommended)
- Audio ads are previewed in a device frame. Use the audio player controls at the bottom of the device to listen to your audio creative.
- To preview assigned companion creatives, use the "Companion size" drop-down at the top. Companions will appear inside the device frame while the audio is playing.
- Desktop preview mode
- Audio creatives are previewed in a video player with only audio content. A compatible audio serving file will be selected automatically. Click the play button to hear it. The video player screen will be black while the audio file plays.
- The player size choices available for video creatives won’t impact the audio preview experience.
- If companions are assigned, companion previews will appear below the video player while the audio is playing.
- Mobile preview mode (recommended)
- To preview a specific serving file, click the preview button next to it in the Serving files section. You can cycle through every serving file in this window, but you can't check events or try different properties.
- If you want to preview a specific serving file in the main preview:
- Set the serving file to ON under Include in serving in your creative properties.
- Set every other serving file to OFF. This way, you can be sure the Campaign Manager video player uses that specific serving file.
- Click the preview button at the top of your creative properties.
After you finish uploading your assets, assign ads and placements.
About default audio ads
Campaign Manager will not automatically create a default ad for you with in-stream audio creatives.
We recommend creating at least one active ad without targeting and assigning it to your in-stream audio placements. This will ensure that an audio creative is always available regardless of your targeting settings.
Reporting and attribution
You can use the Standard report template in Report Builder to see data about in-stream audio creatives. The following in-stream audio metrics are available:
- Audio Companion Clicks
- Audio Companion Impressions
- Audio Completions
- Audio First Quartile Completions
- Audio Midpoints
- Audio Mutes
- Audio Pauses
- Audio Plays
- Audio Replays
- Audio Third Quartile Completions
- Audio Unmutes
Active View is not supported for in-stream audio ads since there is no visible component of the creative asset.
Data about in-stream audio ads is not available in Data Transfer.
You can choose to include any or all of them. If you include multiple serving files and/or URLs, the publisher's system can choose the best version of your asset for each impression, based on factors such as device type, connection speed, and the video player on the site. Including multiple serving files can also allow users to select different resolution settings when viewing your video.
You should also check with your publisher to make sure you include the right serving files. Some publishers will not accept pre-fetch tags with transcodes they don’t support, so you’ll need to disable those transcodes.
The creative pane will update as soon as Campaign Manager finishes validating and transcoding your asset into serving files. This should only take a few minutes. If it takes more than an hour, try uploading your asset again. You may need to contact support.
When you upload a file, Campaign Manager processes it in two ways:
- Campaign Manager validates the asset to make sure it works, and may generate a more efficient version.
- Campaign Manager transcodes the asset into a number of alternative versions that use different formats or have different properties, each designed for specific players or bandwidths. These versions give your publisher's system more options to choose from for each impression and ensures that the appropriate file serves based on the viewer’s connection and screen size.
You can find all these files in the Serving files section.
Your creative may be flagged as non-compliant because:
- Third-party URLs aren't secure.
- A companion creative includes URLs that aren't secure.
Solution: Check for any URLs that begin with
http. Ask your developer or vendor for a secure version of these URLs. Remember that the secure URL may be totally different; often you can't just add an '
http. Remember that landing pages do not affect compliance and can start with
Learn more about SSL compliance.
If Campaign Manager can't process an asset or generate a particular kind of serving file, you'll see "Failed" in the Progress column.
Failure to process an original file means Campaign Manager could not validate or finish preparing the file. There may be an issue with the asset, so make sure you have a valid file and try uploading again.
Failure for any other serving file means Campaign Manager could not transcode your original asset into that particular version. If you want this alternative version to be available when your creative serves, transcode it yourself and upload the version manually (click Add asset above).
"N/A" in the Progress column means the resolution for this row is too high. The file you uploaded is already at its highest resolution, and cannot be transcoded into versions with a higher resolution. If you need a serving file at this resolution, you'll need to get it from your developer.
Google Marketing Platform uses Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) specifications to format audio creatives.
|File type||Audio bit rate (kbps)|
You can turn transcodes on and off by:
- Opening your creative and scrolling down to the Serving files section
- Toggle each transcode ON or OFF under Include in serving.
If Campaign Manager does not generate a file format you need, you’ll have to transcode your asset into the format yourself. You can then add the transcode by uploading it as a source file in your creative by clicking Add asset.