Google Ad Manager

Multiplex Ads: Overview, Benefits, Best Practices, and How to Get Started

Google has recently launched the beta version of Multiplex ads. 

Platforms like Taboola, Revcontent, and Outbrain have gained significant traction in the ad tech industry in recent years. A valid reason for that is these platforms offer innovative ad solutions to publishers. Content recommendation ads allow publishers to monetize their inventory in a different way than regular display ads. 

However, despite the popularity of various content recommendation platforms, a lot of publishers may be skeptical about working with them due to ad quality issues. Thankfully, publishers now have the option of leveraging Google’s Multiplex ads

Read ahead to know what Multiplex ads are, how they can add value to publishers’ inventory, how to get started with them, and best practices for their implementation. 

What are Multiplex Ads?

Multiplex ads are a type of native ad formats, much like content recommendation ads. Publishers can leverage them to serve ads that blend seamlessly with the content on their website. While we did draw a parallel between Multiplex ads and content recommendation ads in the introduction, they are not quite the same. 

Content recommendation ads generally get a space below the content space. But, with Google’s Multiplex Ads, publishers can experiment with sponsored content ads without worrying about the user experience. According to Google, these ads ensure brand safety and enable publishers to “serve content recommendation ads through Ad Manager.”

You can traffic groupings of Open Auction ads on websites. These Multiplex ads offer readers more content that’s relevant to them, potentially increasing your page views, the time spent on your website, reader loyalty, impressions, and ultimately ad revenue.

Google Ad Manager
Multiplex ads

Layout Recommendations

Publishers can either ‘Let Google optimize layout’ or choose layouts according to their preferences. Google recommends that publishers use the ‘Let Google optimize layout’ option when they are targeting multiple placements within a single style. 

While Google also recommends choosing the same option in all cases, it does have different layout options:

  • Multi column (landscape image) for desktops layouts
  • Single column (square image) for rail or mobile placements
  • Single column (landscape image) for rail or mobile placements

Benefits of Multiplex Ads

  • Since these ads are offered by Google, publishers can be sure of the fact that no low quality ad will be served on their websites, thanks to strict Google policies to maintain ad quality. 
  • These ad layouts blend in with the content of the website, on top of which, these ads appear at the bottom of the page, thereby retaining good user experience. 
  • Leveraging a new ad format is always a good way to tackle banner blindness, which is exactly what Multiplex ads will do for publishers’ inventory. 
  • Because these ads are offered by Google, no restrictive contracts are involved. 
  • Google has the largest pool of ad buyers, so publishers don’t need to worry about the blank impressions problem.

Disadvantages of Multiplex ads

At the end of the day, these ads are fairly new and can be subject to some drawbacks. And because of the novelty of these ads, it’s hard to say at the moment what those drawbacks exactly will be. 

For starters, if you are already working with a content recommendation platform, your contract may restrict you from leveraging Multiplex ads. 

At this point, we can only advise publishers to ensure that they won’t be breaching any agreements by using these ads and, of course, to follow the best practices listed below for proper implementation of these ads. 

Best Practices 

  • Consider User Intent: This is something that goes for advertising in general. But it’s worth stipulating again that you have to ensure that user intent is at the center of your ad monetization strategy. At the present time, relevant ads are highly significant in the ad tech industry. So, make sure that your Multiplex ads have relevant content for the different types of users that visit your site. 
  • Understand your Audience: While this point may seem similar to the previous point, we advise that you consider this as more of an extension of the latter. How will you get to creating an ad monetization strategy that puts the user at the center? By ensuring that you know your audience. All forms of native advertising, including Multiplex ads, work best when you show your visitor targeted ads. 
  • A/B Test your Ads: Again, as it goes other ad formats, it is important to A/B test Multiplex ad formats. As a publisher, you will have to see if your new ad placement is working out or not. Or if a different ad layout will work better than the one that you have implemented. Revenue optimization depends heavily on A/B testing, so naturally, you have to do the same while implementing Multiplex ads as well.  

How to Get Started with Multiplex Ads

We stated right at the beginning that currently only the beta version of Multiplex ads is available. It is an invite-only solution as of now, which means that publishers cannot run these ads on their own. What they can do instead is work with a Google Certified Publishing Partner (GCPP) who has access to the beta (like AdPushup)

Other than this, publishers who have an Ad Exchange account can contact their Google account manager to see if they can be a part of the beta testing of Multiplex ads. 

Once you get the access to run Multiplex ads on your website, the process to set them up is similar to setting up native ads in GAM:

  • Sign in to your GAM account.
  • Click on Delivery > Native > New Native Ad > and select Multiplex ad.
GAM Multiplex ads
  • Now you can either go for the ‘Let Google Optimize layout’ option or choose a layout option on your own (as mentioned above). If you want to customize the layout options, deactivate the ‘Let Google Optimize layout’ option and select the layout and number of columns and rows you want for your ads. 
  • You can further customize the fonts and colors to ensure that Multiplex ads are matching with the rest of your website. 
  • Click on Continue to move to targeting your Multiplex ads. The targeting here should match the line item’s targeting, otherwise you won’t be able to serve Multiplex ads. You can then go for further targeting on the basis of device category, geography, and custom targeting. 
Targeting ads
  • Save and activate. Now your website is ready for displaying Multiplex ads.

Final Thoughts

Multiplex ads can be a great addition to your inventory and can fetch you higher ad revenue. If you are not yet working with a GCPP, make sure to book a demo with us soon, and we’ll walk you through everything related to Multiplex ads and much more. 

It is highly recommended to consider all the advantages and disadvantages of Multiplex ads before you implement them. And make sure you follow best practices for making the most out of these ads. 


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