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Rich media developer's guide

Developer best practices

DoubleClick strongly recommends that you gather site-specific specifications before you build any rich media creatives. However, sometimes you need to build creatives or mockups before a final media plan or site specs are available. You can avoid potential live issues with creatives by meeting best practice and lowest common denominator (LCD) requirements.

Best practices and LCDs are generated based on what's acceptable on most sites. There's always a possibility that the website where an ad is running has specs that are different from the ones in this article.

Use the Basic QA checklist as a simple way to check if your creative meets these guidelines.

Guidelines for all creatives
  • 200K size limit for initial load
    If the total, gzipped file size of all ad assets is over 200K:
    • Set up polite loading to wait for the publisher's page to load before you load larger files. Subsequent loads can be up to 300K, for an overall total load of 500K.
    • Delete unused elements, images, and videos from your creative.
  • 15-second autoplay animation time limit
    Publishers usually don't budge on this point. No one wants to visit a site where ads are blinking and moving all over the place. It's distracting and annoying. Don't let your animation loop.
  • 30-second total autoplay video and animation time limit
    Stop animations after 30 seconds of play or add a click-to-continue to videos.
  • On exit, all creatives should:
    • Stop all videos (if creative includes videos).
    • Stop all sounds (if creative includes sound).
    • Resolve the ad to end-frame graphics.
    • Collapse the creative if expanded (expanding creatives only).
Video creative guidelines
  • 30-second autoplay video time limit
    If a video exceeds 30 seconds, add a click-to-continue at 30 seconds and add a custom event.
  • 30-second total autoplay video and animation time limit
    Stop animations after 30 seconds of play or add a click-to-continue to the video.
  • Host- and auto-initiated video
    There should be no more than 30 seconds of non-user initiated or interacted video. If you're using animation and video, the total should be no more than 30 seconds.
  • Audio and video initiation
    All video and audio should be click-initiated (after 15 seconds for audio and 30 seconds for video) with video controls (play/pause, stop, mute/unmute, and replay).
  • To provide an optimal user experience:
    • Always add video controls such as play, pause, mute, and replay.
    • It's a best practice to hide the video controls, except for a replay button on video complete.
  • Include a replay button on video complete that replays the video with sound
    This isn't required, but it's considered best practice for rich media video creatives.
  • Sound on video should be click-initiated
    • Most sites forbid autoplay video with sound.
    • Autoplay video creatives should include a replay-with-sound/unmute option.
    • Videos that are click-to-play can play with sound. (The click-to-play action makes the sound click-initiated.)
    • For click-to-expand creatives, video that you've included on click-initiated expanded panels can autoplay with sound.
Expanding creative guidelines
  • Expansion size and direction
    • 300x250 creatives should have maximum expansion of 500x250 left and right.
    • 728x90 creatives should have maximum expansion of 728x180 up and down.
    • 160x600 creatives should have maximum expansion of 300x600 left and right.
    • 120x600 creatives should have maximum expansion of 300x600 left and right.
  • Close button required on the expanding panel
    All expanding creatives types should include a way to collapse the creative.
  • Hit area/hot spot size for expansion should no more than 25-33% of the unexpanded area of the creative.
  • Close button shouldn't overlap the expansion hit area.
    This best practice prevents the creative from immediately re-expanding after a user clicks the close button.
  • Expand/collapse methods should match
    If an ad is click-to-expand, then it should be click-to-collapse. If an ad is rollover-to-expand, then it should be roll-off to collapse.
  • Pre-expand (automatically expanding) creatives must auto-collapse after 15 seconds
    • This follows the same 15-second animation guidelines.
    • If a user interacts with the ad, the ad may remain open.
  • If pre-expand creatives don't trigger the rich media expansion timer:
    • Remember: The rich media expansion timer can only be called on an expansion triggered by a user interaction.
    • Use the startExpanded() call to pre-expand your creative. See the Expanding build guide for more information.
  • The div layer of a webpage must collapse on your creative's collapse
Interstitial creative guidelines
  • Interstitial creatives must have a close button
  • Interstitial creatives must collapse after 15 seconds
    • After 15 seconds the creative should auto-close.
    • Use the close() method to close the creative.
  • Interstitial creatives should never polite load
    Interstitials should appear right away. Otherwise a user might go elsewhere before the ad appears, providing a poor site experience, which publishers try to avoid.
Masthead guidelines
YouTube guidelines are specific, and the site won't approve ads to run until the guidelines are met. Visit the Display Specs Help Center to make sure your units meet all of their site requirements before submitting assets to QA.
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