Creative Approval Overview

Creative Approval (CA) means getting your Creatives approved for display on certain Supplier platforms, if they have an approval process. Your creatives are vetted to ensure they are safe and appropriate for users and if any issues are found, you will be notified with information about what you can do to get your ad approved.

  • The BidStream Creative Approval Submission method is the usual way CA is initiated.

  • The Pre-submit process lets you pre-submit your Creatives before you start bidding with them. This tends to be for content such as TV or Digital out of Home (DooH) services that have more rigorous standards or manual approval services.

  • The Creative Approval Reporting API lets you check the CA Status of any Creatives submitted for approval through either submitting method.

  • The Creative Approval Report in the UI allows you to download a .csv with the latest information


Some Suppliers bans Creatives when the same ID is used in both secure (HTTPS) and non-secure (HTTP) forms. Therefore it is recommended to have separate IDs for secure and non-secure versions of the same Creative, e.g. cr_123 & cr_123_ssl.

BidStream Creative Approval Submission

When you bid on a bid request with a new Creative, the bid is sent to the Supplier, and the Creative is also submitted to their approval service. Unless the Supplier does not require CA.

As a result, it usually take 15-20 minutes, but sometimes up to several hours, before the Supplier approves the Creative. During this period, none of the bids that you submit to the Supplier will win, as the Creative has not been approved.

Usually this creates no issues, as over the duration of a campaign the gap in spend accrued during the first few hours is easily closed. However, there are cases when allowing this idle time in a running campaign is not acceptable, and in such cases, pre-submitting your Creatives using the The BidSwitch CA REST API means you can get them approved before the campaign begins.

Creative approval submission and reporting flow

The creative approval submission is usually to a service provider to the Supplier, such as Ad Lightning.

  1. You submit a new creative in a Bid Response. The creative is identified by its hash, therefore the process is the same if you have edited a creative and resubmitted it.

  2. The creative is sent to the Creative Approval service.

  3. The bid to the Supplier.

  4. The Supplier checks the Creative Approval status of the Creative.

  5. The bid is rejected due to being unapproved, and all bids will be rejected until it is approved. You can check its status using the Creative Approval Reporting API, or by downloading the .csv file from the User Interface.

  6. The Creative is approved, and the bid is accepted.

When do you need to pre-submit Creatives?

In certain scenarios you need to have your Creatives approved before you start bidding. In the following cases you need to pre-submit them before you start bidding on Bid Requests, and you should use the Creative Approval Pre-submitting API to get them approved beforehand.

  • Supplier traffic that is too valuable to be lost.

  • If the Creative Approval process has a history of taking too long and results in the under-delivery of campaigns.

  • Private deals in which there is a committed/guaranteed amount of impressions.

  • If the Supplier has some pre-approval requirements or technical limitations on their side that require it. See the Supplier Information section for information about Suppliers that differ from the norm. In such cases, the BidSwitch pre-submit API may be the only way to fully complete the Creative Approval process programmatically.

The BidSwitch CA REST API

BidSwitch provides its own REST API that can be used to pre-submit Creatives to Suppliers on its network. It can be used in conjunction with the Reporting API to address two parts of the process, submitting and reporting. Use the instructions on the following pages to submit your Creatives for approval with the Suppliers Integrated with the BidSwitch CA Services.

Creative Pre-Submission workflow

For cases in which pre-submission is required for certain types of inventory or Suppliers, it follows this process.

  1. You submit Creatives for approval, specifying the Suppliers to whom they much be submitted.

  2. BidSwitch sends the Creatives to the given Suppliers for pre-approval

  3. You can check the status of the Creative using the Reporting API.

  4. If a Supplier disapproves Creative, fix the issue, and resubmit it again for approval with that Supplier only.

  5. Once approved, you may begin bidding on requests with the creative and trading can begin immediately.

Suppliers Integrated with the BidSwitch CA Services

The Creative Approval services for the following Suppliers are integrated with BidSwitch. All are integrated with the reporting API. The following table outlines which services each Supplier supports.

Creative Approval Integrated Partners

Pre-submit API

BidStream Submitting


Xandr (Appnexus)

Ad Lightning

Ad Lightning is a third-party vendor that checks creatives for malware or other forms of undesirable creative malpractice. It does not engage in any form of “Creative Approval” per se, such as checking the content of creatives for brand specific needs like adult content or other sensitive categories. It only focusses on technical issues that a creative might exhibit and blocks infringing creatives from being passed through BidSwitch. The complete list of possible blocking reasons is available in the Blocking Creatives section, and from amongst those categories Ad Lightning checks for malware in the form of auto-redirects, phishing scams, video stuffing, crypto-mining, and dodgy browser extensions.

BidSwitch cannot share the methodology used nor the complete list of threats that are check because these are ever evolving, but you can read about Ad Lightning on their blog where they explain some aspects of how they identify malware as well as checking their Active Threats page for current concerns to be aware of.

This 3rd party integration builds on BidSwitch’s own blocking capabilities and comes at no additional costs to partners, it’s purely to ensure a high standard of creatives continue to pass-through its platform. In the event a creative is blocked, the Buyer from whom it originated is informed in the daily “Creative Blocking Alert’ email.