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.

Audio file

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.

Companion creatives (optional)

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.

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.

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. Enter a name for the creative in Display & Video 360.
  5. Drag your creative's file from your computer and drop it over "Drag file here". Or, click Upload, then select the source file from your computer. Audio creatives hosted by Display & Video 360 can be up to 1GB, but some inventory sources may have lower file size limits. See Guidelines for audio creatives for more information.

    After you add a source file, you’ll see information in the Serving files section as transcodes are generated. You can leave the page and work on other things while the transcodes are processing.

  6. 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.
  7. (Optional) Inlcude 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 Display & Video 360-generated ID. In VAST 2.0 and 3.0 tags, this ID will appear in the adid node. In VAST 4.0 tags, this ID will appear in the UniversalAdID node.
  8. (Optional) Click Companion creatives to assign existing display creatives as companions. You can only add one creative of each size as a companion. Landing page URLs set in companion creatives will be overwritten with the landing page URL you set for the audio creative.
  9. (Optional) Click Serving properties to edit the Campaign Manager lookback window or add third-party tracking URLs. 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) Click Additional details to add an integration code or notes.
  11. Save your creative.

You’ll see a preview of your audio file after you save the creative.

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.

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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