How to make custom native sidekick ads

Sidekick ads are interactive ads that appear to be a typical medium rectangle (300 x 250), but reveal a second and larger image when the viewer hovers their mouse cursor over it. You can use native templates to create sidekick ad items that are tailored to your needs.

A sample sidekick ad

A sample sidekick ad fully revealed

This feature requires the Enhanced Ads add-on. For more information on adding add-ons to your subscription, read How to change your subscription.

In this guide, we're going to create a simple sidekick ad using a custom native ad template. This type of native template has all the code - HTML, JavaScript, and style element - necessary to display the ad properly.

If you'd rather sanitize the template and have only HTML inside it, you should make your sidekick ad using a styled native ad template instead. For more information on the differences between custom native ads and styled native ads, read About native ad templates.

Templates for custom native ad items are not compatible with styled native ad items, and vice-versa.

You will learn:

  1. How to create a template for a custom sidekick ad. You can customize the sample code to fit your needs.
  2. How to create a custom sidekick ad item once you have a custom sidekick template.

How to create a custom sidekick ad template

This template will require the user to provide the URL to where the image creatives are hosted when creating the sidekick ad item.

  1. Click Templates in the left navigation menu. The Templates section will appear.
  2. Click Native Ad Templates. The Native Ad Templates subsection will appear.
  3. Click Add Native Ad Template. The New Native Template window will appear.
  4. Click Custom Rendering/API. The New Native Ad Template page will appear.

Selecting a native template type

  1. Name the template then add two image URL variables for the images that will be in the ad. In our sample code, we called these variables ImageURL and ImageURL2.
For templates that have multiple variables such as this one, you can drag the icon on the far left of each variable field up or down to reorder your variables.

Creating a custom native sidekick ad template in AdButler

You can save variables and use them in other templates. After adding a variable, click on the three dots at the far right of the variable fields then click Save Variable as Template. To use a saved variable, click Add Saved Variable while creating a native template.
  1. Enter the code in the HTML Template (Custom Rendering) field, then click Save Changes.

Here's the code we used in our example:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
            .sidekick-container {
                position: relative;
                width: fit-content;

            .sidekick-image img {
                max-width: 300px;
                max-height: 250px;

            .expanded-image {
                display: none;
                position: absolute;
                top: 0;
                left: calc(100% + 1rem);

            .expanded-image img {
                max-width: 300px;
                max-height: 600px;

            .close-button-container {
                position: absolute;
                top: 5px;
                right: 5px;
                cursor: pointer;

            .close-button {
                width: 26px;
                text-align: center;
                display: inline-block;
                color: #ffffff;
                font-size: 21px;
                background: #000000;
                border-radius: 26px;
                user-select: none;
        <div class="sidekick-container">
            <div class="sidekick-image" onmouseover="showExpandedImage()">
                <a target="_blank" href="[TRACKING_LINK]">
                    <img src="[%ImageURL%]">
                <div class="sidekick-close-button-container close-button-container">
                    <span class="sidekick-close-button close-button" onclick="closeButton()">×</span>
            <div class="expanded-image">
                <a target="_blank" href="[TRACKING_LINK]">
                    <img src="[%ImageURL2%]">
                <div class="expanded-image-close-button-container close-button-container">
                    <span class="expanded-image-close-button close-button" onclick="closeExpandedImage()">×</span>
            function showExpandedImage() {
                document.querySelector('.expanded-image').style.display = 'block';

            function closeButton() {
                document.querySelector('.sidekick-container').style.display = 'none';

            function closeExpandedImage() {
                document.querySelector('.expanded-image').style.display = 'none';

You can now use this template to create a custom sidekick ad item.

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How to create a custom sidekick ad item

  1. Go to the section of the relevant zone (Your AdButler > Publishers > Your Publisher > Your Zone) or campaign (Your AdButler > Advertisers > Your Advertiser > Your Campaign).
Custom native ad items can be assigned only to Standard zones or to Native zones. For Standard zones, the zone size must be set to Dynamic. For Native zones, the Enable Custom Rendering option must be turned on. Both the zone size and the custom rendering option can be configured only when creating a zone and cannot be changed afterward.
  1. Click Add Ad Item in the Ad Items table. The Add Ad Item window will appear.
  2. Click Native (Custom Rendering/API). The New Ad Item page will appear.

Creating a native (custom rendering/API) ad item

  1. Set the ad item's size.
  • If the ad item or its campaign will be assigned to a Standard zone, you must set the ad item's size to Dynamic.

  • If the ad item or its campaign will be assigned to a Native zone, you must enter the ad item's exact size. You can do this either by selecting Preset Size and then selecting the matching width and height values from the dropdown menu, or selecting Custom Size then entering the values in the fields that appear.

  1. Select your sidekick custom native ad template in the Template dropdown menu.
  2. Fill in the rest of the fields as needed, including the image URLs. If you entered a destination URL, you can test it by clicking Open Destination URL to the right of the field.
  3. Click Save Ad Item.

Creating a sidekick ad custom native ad item in AdButler

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