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What Are Multiplex Ads? How To Get Started With Them?

Multiplex Ads
Content recommendation ads are becoming increasingly popular in digital advertising. Google has recently introduced ‘Multiplex ads’ that act as content recommendation ads and appear alongside editorial content on publishers’ websites. Let’s find out more in this article.

The space immediately below articles has always been something of an afterthought for digital publishers. But as content recommendation ads have matured, publishers and advertisers are taking notice of the power beneath the fold. Also known as ‘native recommendation ads’, ‘suggested content’, or ‘sponsored content’, content recommendation ad formats make the ads blend into the look and feel of the publisher’s website.

Though the content recommendation ads have been around for some time, their inclusion on publisher sites has exploded in recent years. And it’s not hard to see why. Companies like Taboola and Outbrain have perfected this ad format and publishers looking to diversify their revenue streams have taken note.

In fact, Google has introduced ‘Multiplex ads’ to provide publishers with much-needed native ad revenue and serve content recommendation ads on their website. While Multiplex ads are still rather new and under beta, we wanted to take an early look at this ad format. In this guide, we’ll examine the promise of multiplex ads, how can you get started, and more.

Table of Contents:

What are Multiplex Ads?

Multiplex ads are Google’s native ad format types that enable you to deliver content recommendation ads on desktop and mobile devices. Such ads can be served through open auction in Ad Manager and are customizable in order to blend with the website. Multiplex ads often appear in a grid format but the layout of ads can be changed according to your needs. Here’s an example of Multiplex ads:

What are Multiplex Ads

Google Multiplex ads are displayed in less obvious areas of the page, such as above image galleries, in between post blocks, or well down the page. They place emphasis on content discovery by promoting related items to content already viewed.

How do Auction Dynamics Work for Multiplex Ads?

In Ad Manager, Google holds independent auctions for each cell within a grid. As a publisher, you can set target CPM or price floor for the cells in the unified pricing rules for the ad units. On the other side, advertisers can bid for each cell and serve the ad on it if they win the auction.

Benefits of Multiplex Ads

  • When placing ads on a webpage, it’s important to find the right balance between advertising and the user experience. With Multiplex ad layouts, users can continue to enjoy the content of the website while at the same time, the ads do not impact the experience as they appear at the bottom of the page. A win-win for both – you and your readers.
  • On one hand, you don’t need to worry about the quality of Multiplex ads served on your websites since Google is sure to set high standards. On the other hand, you can reach the largest pool of potential advertisers through Google and you don’t need to worry about getting unfilled ad impressions for the Multiplex ad units
  • Multiplex ads can help reduce banner blindness, which is a major issue for many publishers. Since they look like native content, users are less likely to avoid them on the website.

How to Get Started with Multiplex Ads in Google Ad Manager?

Setting up Multiplex ads is easier if you’re experienced with native ad units in Ad Manager. Assuming you’re a beginner, let’s help you to set them up.

  • On the Ad Manager home page, click on Delivery > Native > New native ad and select Multiplex ad from the dropdown menu.
  • By default, Google decides the ad layout, and dynamically chooses the best-performing Multiplex ad styles for both desktop and mobile devices. If you want to customize your ad, you need to disable the option “Let Google optimize layout”.
  • Once you disable the default setting, select the layout for the multiplex ads. Google provides three different layouts: 
    • Single column (landscape image) – For mobile devices and rail placements on desktop.
    • Single column (square image) –  For mobile devices and rail placements on desktop.
    • Multi-column (landscape image) – For desktop layout only.

Types of Layout Formats for Multiplex Ads

  • Now, you can either let Google decide the best font and color design for your ads or you can manually change the design.
  • At last, set the targeting criteria for the Multiplex ads and click on Save and Continue to proceed further. While setting the targeting parameters, ensure that it matches with the line item’s targeting.

Additional note: To serve multiplex ads, Ad Exchange line items are needed. So, ensure you have the same. Also, ensure that the expected creative size is ‘Native programmatic’.

How to Analyze the Performance of Multiplex ads?

Measuring the performance of your Multiplex ads can give you valuable insights into what is happening with your ads over time and get the most out of your native ad set-up. Here’s how to create a report on Multiplex ads in Ad Manager:

  • On the Ad Manager home page, select Reporting > Reports > New report.
  • Fill in the basic details including the report type as ‘Historical’. Select “Multiplex style name” in the Dimensions settings. 
  • In the Metrics section, select “Total Multiplex cell impressions”. It shows the number of times an ad in the grid was viewed by the user. For example, if a grid with 4 ads loads on 4 different occasions on the website, Google will count it as 16 impressions.
  • In the end, invite the collaborators/editors (if any), and save and run the report.

Related Read: How to create different reports in Google Ad Manager?

What’s Next?

Multiplex ads indicate a clear Google effort in strengthening its native advertising portfolio, which becomes more competitive when compared to other marketplace solutions. However, since they’re in beta and aren’t fully developed yet, please consider the potential upsides and downsides before you start using them.

Get in touch with your advertising partner to know more about Multiplex ads, and ensure you follow best practices to make the most out of these ads before implementing them. Want to know more about how we can help you get started with Multiplex ads? Get in touch with us today.

Automatad Team

At Automatad, we help publishers to monetize better without hampering the user experience. Our products are live across hundreds of publishers, earning them incremental ad revenue with every passing second. You can request a free audit to get an estimated revenue uplift today.

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