Posted:
In August, we announced that returned Productstatuses would include any validation issues. Unfortunately, the way validation issues used the severity field differed from data quality issues, which led to confusion.

To clarify which validation issues are serious and which are just warnings, we will use the same mapping for validation issues as we do for data quality issues. In addition, we have published an accompanying guide, API Issue Severity and Diagnostics Issue Prioritization, which discusses how to compare the issue prioritization used in the Diagnostics section of the Merchant Center to the issue severity provided in the responses from the Productstatuses and Accountstatuses services.

As always, if you have any questions about these changes or any other questions or feedback about the Content API for Shopping, please let us know on the forum!

Posted:
Since we introduced expanded text ads (ETA) earlier this year, we’ve recommended that advertisers create and test multiple ETAs to determine what messages perform best for their business. To help you do this at scale, we’ve created the ETA Transition Helper, a powerful tool that allows you to easily create ETAs in bulk using AdWords Scripts and Google Sheets.

This tool helps you save time by using your existing standard text ads (STAs) as a blueprint for your new ETAs. The ETA Transition Helper ensures your expanded text ads are formatted according to the new character limits and that their display URLs use the final URL's domain. After creating the new ETA, the tool displays your current STA and the new ETA side-by-side in a Google Sheet so you can easily compare the two ads. Please note that the tool's interface is only offered in English at this time, but it supports exporting STAs and creating ETAs in all languages.

As a reminder, starting January 31st, 2017, you will no longer be able to create or edit STAs, though existing STAs will continue to serve alongside ETAs.

Get started by checking out the user guide. You can also contribute to the ETA Transition Helper project on GitHub today. If you have any questions or would like to provide feedback, feel free to contact us on the AdWords Scripts Forum.

Posted:

On February 1, 2017, we will implement a new deprecation policy for the IMA SDKs for iOS and Android. The Flash and HTML5 SDKs are unaffected by this policy because they are downloaded at runtime, so all developers are always using the latest version.

Each release will be deprecated 12 months after its successor is released.

As of February 1, 2017, the following SDK versions will no longer be supported:

  • IMA Android prior to version 3.1.3
  • IMA iOS prior to version 3.1.0

If you are currently on one of these versions, we strongly suggest upgrading to the latest version before the new policy takes effect.

Once an SDK version is deprecated, we cannot guarantee that version will continue to work. If we receive reports of crashes related to a deprecated version of the IMA SDK, we may discontinue serving ads to that version. We will also no longer field support requests for these versions on the IMA SDK support forum.

To maintain support, publishers on the latest version of an SDK will have 12 months to move to a new version once its successor is released. To "support" an SDK means we will investigate bugs in that SDK version and work on fixes. If a bug fix requires a change to the library itself, the fix will be applied to the newest version.

For a list of supported SDK versions and their deprecation dates, see the new deprecation schedule pages for iOS and Android. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us via the support forum.

Posted:
Update December 9, 2016: The previous version of this announcement indicated that this would be rolled out within the next month. This is now going to be rolled out over the next few months. If you would like to check to see if your account has this feature enabled, try editing one of your ads and adding a {. A drop-down should appear. If the option IF function is available, then the feature has been enabled for the account.
Over the next month, AdWords is rolling out to all accounts two new ways to customize your ads.
  • Default values in Ad Customizers give you an option of providing a default value when referencing a custom value from a feed. This means that you will no longer be required to provide a static ad in your ad group when using ad customizers. Woohoo!
  • IF functions let you insert a customized message in your ad based on who’s searching and what device they’re searching on, all without using a feed.
Default values in Ad Customizers
  • What’s changing? The existing syntax for inserting a custom value from a feed is {=FeedName.AttributeName}. The new syntax allows for an optional default value {=FeedName.AttributeName:default value}, but you can still use the existing syntax if you don’t want to specify a default value. Check out the Customizing text ads guide to learn more about setting up an ad with ad customizers.
  • How does this affect me? If you have colons in your Feed.name or in your FeedAttribute.name, then add a backslash before the colon to escape the colon. Having a colon without a backslash causes anything after it to be interpreted as a default value when used in an ad customizer. If you no longer want to have a static ad in your ad group, then start adding default values to your ad customizers and delete the static ad.
IF functions
  • What’s changing? The new IF function allows text to be specified in a text ad based on device or audience, with the default text being optional. If default text is not specified, then a static ad is required in the ad group. The syntax is:
    • {=IF(device=mobile,text to insert):optional default text}
    • {=IF(audience IN(<userlist1>,<userlist2>),text to insert):optional default text}
  • How does this affect me? If you want to add customized text to your ad based on device or audience, start adding the IF functions to your text ads. For examples, check out the Customizing text ads guide.
Questions? Visit us on the AdWords API Forum or our Google+ page.

Posted:

Integrating with the IMA SDK for Android has historically meant implementing the VideoAdPlayer interface and playing video ads in your content player. While this approach offers maximum flexibility, it also requires a lot of extra work to get up and running. In our mission to make developers' lives easier, we are proud to offer an alternative: SDK-owned ad playback, added in our newest release, v3.5.2.

Using SDK-owned ad playback, the SDK takes care of playing ads in its own player, allowing you to focus on content playback and the normal ad request flow in your player. With SDK-owned playback, you no longer have to implement a VideoAdPlayer, or worry about VideoAdPlayerCallbacks. Enabling SDK-owned playback is straightforward: simply omit the setAdPlayer call on your AdDisplayContainer.

With the new, simplified integration flow using SDK-owned playback, integrating with the IMA SDK for Android is easier than ever! For a step-by-step guide, head over to our revamped Get Started guide or download the BasicExample project from GitHub and try it out.

SDK-owned ad playback allows publishers to simplify their IMA implementation, but using it is not required. If you already have a VideoAdPlayer implementation or want to use a single video player for both ads and content, you can keep using custom playback. SDK-owned playback merely gives you the option to let the SDK handle some of the implementation complexity for you.

If you have any questions about SDK-owned playback, feel free to contact us via the support forum.

Posted:
Earlier this year, we added support for managing price extensions to the AdWords API. This included the addition of PriceFeedItem to extension setting services in v201607, and placeholder type ID 35 to feed services in all versions of the AdWords API. At that time, both supported only English price extension type, price qualifiers and price units.

Starting today, we are rolling out support for additional languages in price extension types, price qualifiers and price units. Price extensions’ headers and descriptions will be reviewed in the context of the specified language, and those written in languages other than the specified one will be disapproved.

How to use this feature Note: All PriceTableRow entries must have the same currencyCode or you will get the ExtensionSettingError.INCONSISTENT_CURRENCY_CODES error.

If you have any questions, please post on the forum or the Ads Developers Plus Page.

Posted:
In July we announced that starting in August 2016, all versions of the DFP API would return HTTP 401 errors instead of SOAP AUTHENTICATION_FAILED errors. We have learned that some developers have been relying on catching an AUTHENTICATION_FAILED error to know when to refresh an access token. This is not the recommended way to determine when your access token needs refreshing and is not supported.

The change described above will break code that relies on catching an AUTHENTICATION_FAILED error. We have temporarily rolled back the change to give developers who haven’t migrated more time to update their code and will roll this change out again on November 30, 2016 and ask that you update your code before then.

Note: If you’re taking advantage of our client libraries, no change is required; our client libraries handle refreshing an access token with our recommended approach.

Instead of relying on an AUTHENTICATION_FAILED error, the recommended way is to calculate how soon the access token is going to expire before making an API call, and refresh it if it’s about to expire soon.

  • Whenever you obtain a new access token, calculate the token’s expiration time by adding the expires_in time returned with the access token to the current time.
    • For example, if you received an access token on Oct 21, 16:05 EDT and the access token lasts for 3600 seconds, the token would expire on Oct 21, 17:05 EDT.
  • Then, before every DFP API call, check when the access token will expire before using it: if it is going to expire within a certain time window (say, in the next 60 seconds), you should refresh it before making the API call.
    • To calculate this, subtract the current time from the token’s expiration time that you calculated above.
You can see an example of how this is done in our Java client library and use it as a reference to help you implement the above.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to drop us a line on the DFP API forums or the Ads Developer Google+ page.

Posted:
Historically, ad groups in Display campaigns have not served until you added at least one positive ad group targeting criterion, such as Placement or CriterionUserList. This behavior worked well if your goal was to target specific criteria on Display, but not if your goal was to target as broad an audience as possible.

What's changing
Starting January 11, 2017, a Display ad group will be eligible to serve ads as soon as its status is set to ENABLED and it has a bid, a budget, and an approved ad. If the ad group does not have any ad group level positive targeting criteria, then the ad group will target the entire Display network, subject to exclusions and campaign-level targeting settings (such as geo, language, etc.), with the potential to quickly exhaust your campaign budget.

This change only impacts campaigns with AdvertisingChannelType of DISPLAY or VIDEO.

Before this feature is enabled on your account, any existing Display ad groups without ad group level positive targeting criteria will be set to PAUSED.

What you should do
For existing Display campaigns and ad groups:
  • If you want to target the entire Display network (subject to exclusions and campaign-level targeting settings), then after the feature is enabled, make sure you set those ad groups to ENABLED, since they will be in the PAUSED state.
  • Otherwise, add the desired positive targeting criteria to each ad group, and then set it to ENABLED.
For new Display campaigns and ad groups, review your application's ad group creation workflow to ensure that it does the following:
  • Sets the AdGroup status field to PAUSED when creating a new ad group via AdGroupService.mutate and an ADD operation.
  • Only sets the AdGroup status to ENABLED after adding targeting criteria (if desired). You can update the status of your AdGroup via AdGroupService.mutate and a SET operation.
In addition, if your application adds and removes targeting criteria from existing Display ad groups, make sure that it will also properly update the the ad group's status to PAUSED or ENABLED if the intended side-effect of criterion addition or removal is to pause or start serving. This is particularly important when removing the only positive criterion for an ad group, since this will change its reach from very narrow to very broad.

If you have any questions, please post on the forum or the Ads Developers Plus Page.

Posted:
Today we're releasing v2.7 of the DCM/DFA Reporting and Trafficking API. This release introduces a number of video trafficking workflow enhancements, including:

Details of these and other improvements are covered in our release notes.

Deprecation and sunset reminder

In accordance with our deprecation schedule, this release marks the beginning of the deprecation period for v2.6, which will sunset on May 31st, 2017. After this date, any requests made against v2.6 will begin returning errors.

As a final reminder, API v2.4 will be sunset on November 30th, 2016. To avoid an interruption in service, all users are required to migrate off of this version by the sunset date.

Learn More

As with every new version of the DCM/DFA Reporting and Trafficking API, we encourage you to carefully review all changes in the release notes. For those of you looking to get going right away, updated client libraries are now available. If you're just starting out, the Get Started guide is a great reference to help you get up and running quickly.

Give it a try and let us know if you have any questions!

Posted:
In an earlier blog post, we announced that you have until January 31, 2017 to upgrade from standard text ads to expanded text ads. You will no longer be able to create new standard text ads starting on January 31st even though those ads will continue to serve.

Many of you have already taken advantage of the new ad format, but there are some developers who are still creating new standard text ads. If you need help upgrading to expanded text ads or if you have any questions, please add to this forum post or start a new forum post. Let us help you get these ads upgraded!

Posted:

Episode 10 of The Mobile Ads Garage is live on YouTube! If you haven't seen it before, the Mobile Ads Garage is a video tutorial series that covers how to use the Mobile Ads SDK to display ads from AdMob and DoubleClick for Publishers. Each episode covers one aspect of the SDK, breaks down the feature, and shows screencasts of real implementations on both Android and iOS – all in a friendly format.

Knowing what's going on with your ads is a big part of maintaining a great user experience. In the latest episode of the Mobile Ads Garage, you'll see how to tap into the ad lifecycle so your app's informed of loads, clickthroughs, and other key events. You'll also get a detailed breakdown of the steps that occur in the life of an ad, info about which classes and callbacks to use for common tasks like pausing game engines and muting audio, and a real world example of how to put it all together.


If you like the video, save the Mobile Ads Garage playlist to your YouTube Playlist collection and you'll never miss an episode.

We'd love to hear which AdMob features you'd like to learn more about. The comment sections for the videos are open, and you're welcome to toss out ideas for new episodes and examples you'd like to see. If you have a technical question relating to something discussed in one of the episodes, you can bring it to our support forum.

Until next time, be sure to stay connected on all things AdMob by following our Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ pages.

Posted:
We have added support for AdWords API v201609 reports in AdWords Scripts. The major changes in this release are: See the AdWords API release notes for more details.

The v201607 will remain the default version for reports until the week of November 28, 2016. This gives you enough time to verify your scripts and make sure they work with the latest report version.

If you use API versioning in your reports, you need to modify your code to use v201609:
var report = AdWordsApp.report(query {
  apiVersion: 'v201609'
});
If you don't use API versioning, no code changes are required. Your reports will continue using v201607 for now, and switch to v201609 when we make v201609 the default version the week of November 28, 2016.

If you have any questions about these changes or AdWords scripts in general, you can post them on our developer forum.