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Create your dynamic feed

A dynamic feed contains every version of the content that can be served in the creative. Feeds allow advertisers to update content easily and quickly, without having to update the creative assets.

Supported feed formats

  • Google spreadsheet (recommended)
  • CSV
  • XML

To set up a feed, follow the steps below or start with this sample feed. You can also browse our sample feed database for more examples.

Add the required columns

To start a new feed, you'll need to add the following columns. Dynamic feeds can contain a maximum of 75,000 rows and 100 columns.

  1. Unique_ID: Each row of content must be populated with a unique value in this column. This column is used to track rows of content across feed and/or content changes. For example, if a new feed is required, the Unique ID links rows in the original feed to rows in the new feed.
  2. Reporting_Label: This column is used for dynamic reporting in DCM. Use the reporting label to differentiate content changes between rows. For example, one row might contain "Pizza_for_moms", while the next row contains "Pizza_for_kids".
(Optional) Add the targeting column

This column is used for dynamic content selection strategies (except optimization). The contents of this column depend on the strategy used. You must include a value for each row in this column of the feed to ensure that content is properly selected.

Refer to the strategy kits for more strategy-specific information on how to populate this column of the feed.

In all of the sample feeds in the sample feed database, the columns used for targeting purposes are highlighted in blue.

Add a column for each dynamic element

You'll need to create a separate column in the feed for each dynamic element. Dynamic elements include but are not limited to the following:

  • Headline_Text: Enter dynamic copy for the ad. If desired, use HTML code for line breaks, superscripts, etc.

  • Headline_Color*: In order to change the color of the copy dynamically, add a column for color. Enter the corresponding hex code for the desired color (e.g. place #ff0000 in this column to make the text red).

  • Headline_Font_Size*: In order to change the size of the copy dynamically, add a column for font size. 

  • CTA:Enter dynamic copy for the call-to-action text. If desired, use HTML code for line breaks, superscripts, etc.

  • Image_URL: Include the full URL to where the image is hosted, using PNG or JPG format. The path only needs to be a temporary location for hosting the image; Google pulls the image down when the feed is uploaded into Studio and stores a copy of it on Google servers for delivery when an impression is registered. Discuss image hosting options with your solutions consultant.

  • Exit_URL: Include the full URL to which the user is directed.

* If the font size of the headline and CTA are both changing dynamically, add one column for headline font size and one column for CTA font size. The same principle applies to font colors.

Certain words are not permitted to be used as column header names because they are also used as properties of the dynamic element object in the creative code. In addition, some punctuation is not permitted within the column header name. If Studio detects that one of these restricted words or punctuation marks is being used as a column header name, an error will be generated upon transformation. See the full list of word restrictions.
(Optional) Add reporting dimension columns

Dynamic reporting has the capability to drill down to specific elements within a feed to show how they are performing. You can choose up to six columns in the feed as reporting dimensions; however, they must have a field type of text or Exit URL. (Learn how to select columns for reporting dimensions.)

(Optional) Add default and/or active columns

You can further control which content served by adding columns that set certain rows as default or active:

  • The default setting enables you to set certain rows in the feed as default content. If the user viewing the ad does not meet any of the targeting criteria, then the user will be served the default row of content. Refer to the default setting article for more information.
  • The active setting enables you to determine which rows in your feed are eligible to be served by turning the rows on or off. Refer to the active setting article for more information.

Check your feed for errors

Due to their highly customizable nature, dynamic feeds often contain errors such as:

  • Missing required columns
  • Incorrect date formats
  • Country code typos
  • Illegal column names
  • Extra white space around cell contents

To help prevent mistakes, you can install a Google Docs add-on, the DoubleClick Dynamic Feed Validator. This tool helps you find and fix issues before they cause errors in Studio, saving you time and effort.

Use the Dynamic Feed Validator
  1. Go to the DoubleClick Dynamic Feed Validator in the Chrome Store and click Free to install the add-on.
  2. Open your dynamic feed.
  3. Click Add-ons > DoubleClick Dynamic Feed Validator > Validate Dynamic Feed.
  4. Follow the instructions in the panel on the right side to fix each error.
  5. To re-run the validation, click Revalidate Feed.

Test your feed with the creative

Open the feed to review what elements and content should appear in the creative. To make quick adjustments to the profile as you test, test your dynamic creative in draft mode instead of published mode. Learn more about the differences between draft and published profiles

View your feed

The feed content can also be in either draft mode or published mode. Learn how to view each type below.

View your draft feed spreadsheet
  1. Click Dynamic Content.
  2. Open your advertiser and profile.
  3. Click Manage Data.
  4. Click Edit next to the feed name under "Transformed Content".
  5. (Optional) To see the full spreadsheet, click Open in new window.
View your published feed spreadsheet or other feed formats
  1. Click Dynamic Content.
  2. Open your advertiser and profile.
  3. Click Manage Data, then click the feed name under "Transformed Content".
  4. Under "Associations", click the feed name next to "Content source".
    • If your content source is a spreadsheet:
      • Click Download as CSV to download the transformed spreadsheet.
      • To view the spreadsheet in Studio:
        Under “Associations” click the feed name again, then use the up and down arrows to view more data.
    • If your feed is a CSV or XML file:
      • Under "General", click Download as CSV.
      • To download the content source directly, under “Associations” click the feed name next to "Content Source", then click Download.

Compare the feed with your creative

Open the tearsheet and compare the feed content with the creative. If the feed data doesn't match, you can inspect the data and troubleshoot with the Dynamic Ad Inspector extension for Chrome.

Frequently asked questions

Are there any restrictions on naming column headers?
Yes, there are certain words that cannot be used as column header names. In addition, there are certain types of punctuation that cannot be used within column header names. See the full list of column header restrictions.
What should I know about including different languages in the feed?
There are no restrictions on using different languages within the feed. However, when the feed is uploaded into Studio, make sure to change the character set type to UTF-8.
I'm still working on creating all the images that will be used in this campaign. Is it OK to leave the image cells in my feed blank?

Any image columns in the feed must be populated with a valid URL. If you don’t want to include a image in a particular row, you can populate the cell with a transparent image URL instead. If you leave an image cell blank, you will receive a transformation error.

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