How to Implement Programmatic Native from Google

Native Ad Optimization
Last updated: November 6, 2020 | by Kean Graham
How to Implement Programmatic Native from Google

This post was most recently updated on November 6th, 2020

Publishers can now run native ads from Ad Exchange for both websites and apps. Google calls this new feature “Programmatic Native” where publishers, through DFP, can create and traffic engaging native ads that may adapt to the look and feel of the site.

How does it work?

Step 1: DFP gets an ad request from a site or app.

Step 2: If the publisher has configured native backfill, a request goes to Ad Exchange which sends out bid requests for any of the standard native ad formats the publisher can accept. Bidders provide native ad components instead of a traditional tag.

Step 3: Ad Exchange demand then competes against the publisher’s direct-sold ads to maximize yield.

Step 4: The winning native creative components are inserted into the publisher’s native styles — whether the creative comes from backfill, reservations, or programmatic deals.

How to set up programmatic native?

Setup Native Styles

  1. Add Ad Exchange-eligible native styles using custom CSS
  2. On DFP, go to Delivery > Native
  3. Click ‘New Native Style’
  4. Select ‘Native Content Ad’
  5. Give it a Style Name (e.g., 300x250_native_blue) – descriptive of the style you are creating. Remember you can create multiple native styles to see which one performs best.
  6. Click ‘Choose Targeting’
  7. Target all active ad units or placement
  8. Add other targeting parameters as needed
  9. Click Done
  10. Add the sizes you’re running in the ‘Size’ field. Remember you can only target one size per native style. You can copy the native style later and replace the size with another one.
  11. Click ‘Change Elements’
  12. Uncheck some elements and check the Preview every time you deploy a change.
  13. Click Validate
  14. Click ‘Change Template’ (Optional) and choose the template you’d like to run.

You can manually edit the CSS in the code editor. Check the preview and click ‘Validate’ every time you deploy changes:


After all the changes and validation shows ‘Validation up-to-date’, click Save.


On the Native Styles page, you may tick the style you just created and click ‘Copy.’

native styles

Open the copied style and edit the name, size, targeting, style, etc. as necessary. You can create as many styles as you want.

A/B Testing

Should you wish to run an A/B test, do the following:

  1. Click ‘Create A/B Experiment’ within the native style configuration page.
  2. a/b testing
  3. The page for your experiment will open. The style you previously created remains as your ‘control.’
  4. Specify Start time, End time, Traffic Allocation
  5. Edit the layout & CSS codes as necessary (e.g. change title color to blue for the experiment, brown for control).
  6. Click Validate
  7. Click ‘Start Experiment’

To modify an ongoing experiment, open the Native Style and click ‘Modify or end experiment’. To view results, click ‘View A/B Experiment’. Once you have sufficient data to determine the winner, click either ‘keep original’ or ‘use experiment’.

Trafficking Native to AdX Line Items

  1. Create an Ad Exchange line item
  2. For the ‘Inventory Sizes’, add ‘Native (Native)’ along with other standard sizes you run.
  3. ad sizes
  4. Auto-generate creatives
    Repeat the above steps for each AdX Line item


  1. Open your DFP account
  2. Go to Reports > All Queries > New Queries
  3. Report type: Historical
  4. Set the date range
  5. Add Dimensions:
    1. To compare performance by size: Creative size (delivered)
    2. To run the report by Ad Unit, by size: Ad Unit > Creative size (delivered)
    3. To compare performance among Native Styles: Native style name
  6. Mix different dimensions or filters based on what you need [i.e., Device Categories, Ad Unit, Style Name, Creative size (delivered), Country name].

In closing

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