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  Not available in DFP Small Business.

Learn about Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI)

Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI) is a server-side video ad technology that enables you to serve video ads into live linear programming and video on demand content. DAI stitches your video content and ads into a single stream, independent of a web page or app, and removes the ad request and ad response process from the SDK. This reduces the likelihood of client-side errors and produces a seamless TV-like experience without latency or buffering between content and ads.

With DAI, you can target individual ads for live linear and video on demand programming, obtain multi-screen reach with broad device support, and take advantage of programmatic monetization across all devices with Ad Exchange for Video. Regardless of the original format of your content, once it becomes digital, DAI can stitch custom targeted video ads into the stream, based on the individual user viewing the content.

See how the DAI workflow differs from traditional video ad serving

Traditional (non-DAI) video advertising


  1. The video player on the web page or app loads the SDK.
  2. The SDK makes a request to the ad server and receives a VAST response.
  3. The SDK parses VAST response.
  4. The SDK retrieves inline video creatives (and companions, if needed).
  5. The video player plays the ad.
  6. The SDK loads impression pixels.
  7. After ads are shown, the video player fetches and plays content from the CDN.

Steps 2-7 are repeated every time ads need to be shown.

Dynamic Ad Insertion


  1. The web page or app loads the IMA SDK.
  2. The IMA SDK makes request to the DFP DAI cloud service for content.
  3. The cloud service returns ads and content stitched together in a single stream.
  4. The video player plays the stream.
  5. The IMA SDK loads impression pixels.

Support for traditional video features for DAI

Most common video features are supported for DAI, depending on the platform where they appear. You can see more information here about video features that may not be supported for certain platforms, and for any additional targeting that may be required to ensure delivery to DAI inventory.

Feature Support status More information
Clickable ads Varies Clickable ads can be executed on browsers when using the HTML5 (desktop), iOS and Android IMA SDKs. All other platforms do not support this functionality.
Companion ads Varies Companion ads can be executed on HTML5 browsers when using the HTML5 IMA SDK. All other platforms do not support this functionality. Learn more
Viewability Varies Reporting metrics for viewability can be tracked on iOS, Android and HTML5 (desktop) when using the corresponding IMA SDKs. All other OTT platforms do not support this functionality due to the inability to scroll down or up on a video page.
VPAID and skippable ads Not supported VPAID and skippable ads are not supported through DFP DAI because these ad formats cannot be transcoded. Both the content and ads need to be transcoded into various HLS variants so the highest quality adaptive bitrate (ABR) can deliver.

When you set up your DAI inventory, make sure that VAST creatives are the only ads available and targeted. This can easily be achieved using video creative profiles.


When VPAID and skippable creatives are eligible and selected, they will not deliver, resulting in an unfilled monetization opportunity.
Video fallback Not supported Video fallback feature is helpful when delivering your standard video campaigns mitigating the risk of not monetizing an impression opportunity. However, for your DAI campaign, this feature is not supported, so it is essential that VAST video ads are the only targeted and eligible creative. Learn more

Additional requirements for DAI

While DFP provides many supported options for delivering video ads to a wide variety of inventory, DAI has some additional requirements that ensure only your premium content is matched up with premium video ads.

All video ads must be able to be transcoded

Transcoding is the method of taking one ad format and converting it into another format. In the case of live linear DAI, ads can begin in a linear format and then be transcoded into a digital format. A transcoded ad can also be formatted into different adaptive bitrates (ABR) to increase or reduce the number of pixels compressed in that particular ad. The higher the pixel count, the higher the quality of the ad.

Only ads that are able to be transcoded are supported through DFP DAI.

All video ads must be HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) protocol compliant

HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) is an HTTP-based media streaming communications protocol which supports adaptive bitrate (ABR) streaming, allowing the player to change the bandwidth and adapts to different video bitrates to enable the most seamless playback possible. An HLS-compliant player monitors playback conditions, like changing bandwidth, and adapts to different video bitrates to enable the most seamless playback possible. Learn more or see developer documentation.

HLS is the only DFP DAI supported streaming communication protocol.

All video ads must be VAST compliant

The IAB's Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) is a video format designed to standardize communication between video players and servers, facilitating traffic across all kinds of publishing platforms. All video ads used with DAI must be VAST-compliant.

Set up unique ad units for DAI inventory

When you create your DAI network, ensure you set up DAI-specific ad units. This allows you to track and report DAI campaign delivery, prevent non-compliant video ads from being targeted to DAI inventory, and reduces trafficking errors.

Ensure video ad content ingestion

Before you deploy your DAI campaign for live linear or video on demand, video ad content must be ingested or uploaded into the DFP DAI CDN, where it is transcoded into the required HLS variants.

Audio normalization

When your video ad content is ingested and transcoded, DFP reviews the ad content loudness and attempts to normalize to a broadcast industry (ATSC/EBU) standard level.*

If there is an error during the normalization process, DFP continues to encode and deliver (unnormalized). Creatives are not rejected for audio normalization errors.

* Supported for DFP ingested and transcoded content with AAC (Stereo) codec.

If ingestion and transcoding are not performed prior to launch, they occur on the first monetizable impression. You should set up tests for DAI campaigns to ensure all video ads are eligible, transcoded, and ready to serve to your live campaign.

Set up test campaigns

To ensure ad eligibility and content ingestion prior to your live campaign, you can complete the following:

  1. Book and test direct sold campaigns

    All DAI line items should be booked and targeted to DAI-specific inventory.

    If your direct buys have VAST re-directs, work with your advertiser(s) to ensure their third-party ad servers are booked and targeted with VAST only video ads.

  2. Book and test programmatic buys

    All programmatic buys, like Ad Exchange line items should be booked and targeted to DAI-specific inventory.

    If your programmatic line items have VAST redirects ensure that you have ad rules that only serve VAST video ads. If any non-transcodable video ads (for example, VPAID) are eligible, they do not deliver.

  3. Write a script to request streams containing the applicable targeting parameters

    All DAI-enabled content for the campaign should be played to ensure ads are requested with all of the applicable targeting parameters (for example, key-value or DAI-specific ad units). Once the ad requests are made, DFP triggers the ad ingest process.

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Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI)

Dynamic Ad Insertion is a beta feature for DFP Video and might not be enabled for your network. To learn more, contact your account manager.