Audio creatives

Audio creatives are audio ads that play in a publisher’s digital audio player. They are handled similarly to video creatives, except they only have audio and no video component.

About VAST for in-stream audio

Display & Video 360 uses the Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) standard to serve audio ads. This is the same standard used for video and VPAID content. 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 video creatives or video files to audio creatives.

Display & Video 360 is VAST 2.0, VAST 3.0, and VAST 4.0 compliant. 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.

VAST is only supported for audio creatives hosted by Display & Video 360. Third-party VAST tags are not supported.

About audio files

The raw audio asset you upload to Display & Video 360 is known as your source file. Display & Video 360 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.

When there are 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.

Audio file specifications and best practices

About companion creatives

You can assign image or HTML5 creatives to display around the publisher’s audio player. These 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.

When you assign a creative as a companion, it doesn't act the same as a regular creative. Only the image or rendered HTML is shown in the audio player. All landing page URLs in the companion will be overwritten with the landing page URL you provide for the audio creative.

Limitations
  • Companion creatives must be hosted by Display & Video 360 (you can't assign a creative synced from Campaign Manager as a companion).
  • Responsive, data-driven, and rich media creatives cannot be assigned as companions.
  • Campaign Manager tracking ads are not supported for audio companions.

Create a companion when you upload your audio creative

To save time, you can upload both an audio creative and a companion creative at the same time. Follow the steps below to add an audio creative, then instead of assigning an existing creative as a companion, upload a new companion creative asset. When you create a companion in this way, the creative will be saved as a separate creative in your advertiser.

Creative name

The name of the new companion creative will be a combination of the uploaded file name and the audio creative's name. For example, if the uploaded filename is "MyCompanionCreative.zip" and your audio creative is named "MyAudioCreative", the new companion creative will be named "MyCompanionCreative - MyAudioCreative". If the resulting creative name is longer than 256 characters, the audio creative name will be shortened to meet this maximum.

Landing pages

The new companion creative will inherit the landing page of the audio creative. Any existing landing pages in the creative asset will be overwritten.

Upload an audio creative into Display & Video 360

You can upload an audio creative directly into Display & Video 360 and assign existing display creatives as companions. Before you get started, review the Audio guidelines for best practices on choosing the right audio clip and companion.

Add an audio creative
  1. Open an advertiser, then click Creatives in the left menu.

  2. On the page that loads, click New. If you don’t see the New button, your advertiser’s creatives are managed in Campaign Manager and you can skip the rest of this procedure.
  3. Click Upload and then Audio file.
  4. In the Assets panel on the right: 
    • Drag the audio file you want to use for this creative from your computer and drop it over "Drop file here".
    • Or click Upload, then select the source file from your computer.
    • Audio creatives hosted by Display & Video 360 can be up to 1 GB, but some inventory sources may have lower file size limits. See Guidelines for audio creatives for more information.
  5. Enter a landing page URL, beginning with http:// or https://. If you're using a click tracker URL that redirects to your final landing page URL, enter this here.

  6. (Optional) Add a companion creative to show alongside your audio ad in supported audio players.

    When you assign a companion, take note of the following:

    • Landing page URLs set in companion creatives will be overwritten with the landing page URL you set for the audio creative.
    • Responsive creatives are not supported.
    • Companion creatives must be hosted by Display & Video 360 (you can't assign a creative synced from Campaign Manager as a companion).
    • Campaign Manager tracking ads are not supported for audio companions.
    • To assign a creative that's already been uploaded to your advertiser, click Assign, then select the creative you want to use and click Select.

    • If you haven't uploaded the companion to your advertiser yet, click Upload, then select the source file from your computer. After you save, this asset will be saved as a separate creative in your advertiser and assigned as a companion to your audio creative.

  7. At the top, click Details. Enter a name for the creative in Display & Video 360.
  8. After you add a source file, you’ll see information in the Serving files section as transcodes are generated. You can save and leave this page to work on other things while the transcodes are processing.
  9. (Optional) To edit the Campaign Manager lookback window or add third-party tracking URLs, click Serving properties
    • Add tracking URLs by clicking Add URL and then selecting the type of URL you want to include. You can enter multiple versions of each type of URL. Don’t include any HTML tags in the third-party URL field.
  10. (Optional) To add an integration code or notes, click Additional details.
  11. Save. After saving is complete, you can preview your audio file in Ad Canvas.
Once a creative has been added to Display & Video 360, the creative will be manually and automatically reviewed to ensure the creative functions correctly and is compliant with the creative policies of both Display & Video 360 and any inventory sources that have explicit creative requirements. You’ll see information about the creative’s review status in the Audit status section of the creative. Learn more about the creative review process.

Available third-party tracking URLs

  • Impression: Tracks impressions. 
  • Click tracking: Tracks clicks. This URL is for tracking only. If you're using a click tracker URL that redirects to your final landing page URL, enter this as the landing page URL in the "Assets" section of the creative. 
  • Start: Tracks the number of times a user starts playing content.
  • Frst quartile: Tracks the number of times the content plays to 25% of its length.
  • Midpoint: Tracks the number of times the content plays to 50% of its length.
  • Third quartile: Tracks the number of times the content plays to 75% of its length.
  • Complete: Tracks the number of times the content plays to the end.
  • Mute: Tracks the number of times a user mutes the content.
  • Pause: Tracks the number of times a user pauses the content.
  • Rewind: Tracks the number of times a user rewinds the content.
  • Full screen: Tracks the number of times a user expands the player to full-screen size.
  • Stop: Tracks the number of times a user stops the content.
  • Custom: Tracks the number of times a user performs a custom click, such as clicking on a hot spot.
  • Skip: Tracks the number of times a user skips the content.
  • Progress: Tracks an optional time marker agreed upon with the publisher.
About transcodes in Display & Video 360

When you upload a file, Display & Video 360 processes it in two ways:

  • Display & Video 360 validates the asset to make sure it works, and may generate a more efficient version.
  • Display & Video 360 transcodes the asset into a number of alternative versions that use different file formats or have different properties (resolution, audio bit rate), each designed for specific players or bandwidths. These transcodes give a publisher's system more options to choose from for each impression on your audio creative and ensures that the appropriate file serves based on the viewer’s connection and screen size.

You can find all of the transcodes in the Serving files section of your creative. You’ll see a status next to each transcode:

Transcode status What it means
  The transcode is in progress. This should only take a few minutes. If it takes more than an hour, try uploading the source file again.
  The transcode is complete and ready to serve.
There's an issue with the transcode that must be fixed before it can serve.

Preview an audio creative

There are two ways to preview an audio creative:

  • Preview in Ad Canvas (Display & Video 360-hosted audio creatives only)
  • Full page preview that opens in a new tab

Preview in Ad Canvas

To listen to the audio file, open any Display & Video 360-hosted audio creative and preview in Ad Canvas. If you just saved the creative, you may need to wait a few moments for the audio to be processed before you can play the audio. To get more preview options, open the preview in a new window.

Preview in Ad Canvas is not available for audio creatives synced from Campaign Manager. Instead, below the creative name, click Preview to open the preview in a new window.

Preview an audio creative in a new tab

You can open a full page audio creative preview from the Ad Canvas preview, or from the list of creatives (either in your advertiser's Creatives page or in the Creatives section of a line item).

  • To open a full page preview from Ad Canvas, hover over the companion preview area (if there's no companion assigned, you'll see a gray box with an image icon in the middle). At the top right, click Preview . The creative preview opens in a pop-up window. At the bottom right of the pop-up window, click Open in new window .
  • To open a preview from the list of creatives, hover over a creative and click Preview .

In the full page preview, you can:

  • Share a link with someone else for review. Just copy the link from your browser's address bar. Shareable preview links are formatted like this:
    https://displayvideo.google.com/doubleclick/preview/main?creativeId=xbid.123456789&adv=1234567
  • Switch between two preview modes: mobile and assets. Mobile is recommended because most audio inventory is available through audio streaming apps, and this preview is the closest to what consumers will see at serving time.
  • Play your audio creative. In “Mobile” preview mode, find the audio player controls at the bottom of the device screen. Click play to hear your audio file. You can also pause or adjust the volume.
  • Preview companion creatives, if assigned. Use the “Companion size” menu at the top to preview a different companion. In "Mobile" preview mode, companion creatives are only visible while the audio is playing. If you have multiple companions and want to see them all on one page, use the Preview mode menu to switch to assets preview.

Frequently asked questions

What audio file formats does Display & Video 360 support for hosted audio creatives?

Display & Video 360 can host .mp3 audio creatives.

What formats does Display & Video 360 transcode my source file into?

Google Marketing Platform uses Video Ad Serving Template (VAST) specifications to format audio creatives.

File type Audio bit rate (kbps)
MP3 312
OGG 192
How does a publisher know where to position my companion creatives?

The spaces around your primary asset are all different sizes. The publisher's system matches each companion creative to the space it fits. No two spaces are the same size, so each creative has its own particular place to go.

What happens if a publisher doesn’t accept a companion size?

If a publisher doesn’t accept a companion size, the publisher will not serve the companion creative. The publisher must accept the companion size for it to serve.

How does the companion affect serving of the primary audio or video asset?

Your video or audio file is the primary asset. Even if a companion is unable to serve due to a publisher’s restriction, the primary asset should still be able to serve.

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