Guidelines for programmatic native ads using the Guided design editor

This article describes the requirements for programmatic native ads with Ad Exchange using the Guided design editor. These guidelines are not required for direct-sold native ads, though they can have the same elements.

If you’re using the "Android and iOS app code" option for native ads on apps (less common), click here for the app code guidelines.

Required ad elements

Required elements for programmatic native ads include Ad Attribution, AdChoices Overlay, and some advertiser elements (depending on the native ad format).

Ad Attribution and AdChoices Overlay are used to clearly mark your programmatic native ads as advertisements, which is required so that users don’t mistake them for content. It’s important to understand the difference between the two:

Ad Attribution

The Ad Attribution is a badge that clearly marks units as advertising. For native styles, the Ad Attribution is included automatically.

  • You may style the attribution to fit your layout, but it must remain clearly legible.
  • As the upper righthand corner of the ad is reserved for the AdChoices Overlay, the Ad Attribution badge must be in one of the other three corners.
  • The Ad Attribution badge can overlap the corner of the marketing image if a box shadow is applied. The exact box shadow spec is:
    box-shadow: 0px 1px 2px rgba(0, 0, 0, .5);

AdChoices Overlay

The AdChoices Overlay is added automatically by Google for native styles.

  • The AdChoices Overlay must be clearly visible.
  • It must be in the upper righthand corner. Avoid placing other ad content in this corner.
  • The AdChoices Overlay can overlap the corner of the marketing image.

Standard native ad formats

Ad Exchange supports standardized native ad formats to maximize advertiser reach and publisher yield. Standard native ad formats use a system-defined group of elements for native ads. Although the elements that make up standard native ad formats are pre-defined, the look of the native ad is still controlled by the publisher.

You select a standard native ad format when defining the ad settings for the Guided design editor. You can then show/hide the elements and rearrange them when styling your native ad. If you're setting up native ads for mobile, be sure to set up styles for both Native content ads and Native app install ads. This will allow both formats to compete to maximize yield.

Ad Exchange currently supports the following native ad formats:

  • Native content ads
  • Native app install ads

Publishers must display all of the Required elements for each format. Publishers may choose whether or not to display Recommended elements.

Please note the following:
  • Text assets that are longer than the max length may be truncated and ellipsed by Ad Manager. Publishers are not allowed to manually truncate.
  • The max lengths are half the size in Asian languages. For example, the headline limit is 90 for English and 45 for Chinese.

Native content ad display fields

Field Description Always included? Required to be displayed? Max length
Ad badge Ad Ad Attribution that clearly marks units as advertising. Yes Required NA
Image Large, primary image with landscape (1.91:1) or square (1:1) aspect ratio. Yes Recommended NA
Title Primary headline text. Yes Required 90 characters
Body Secondary body text (e.g., article description). Yes Recommended 90 characters
Advertiser logo Small icon image with square aspect ratio (1:1). No Recommended NA
Advertiser name Text that identifies the advertiser (e.g., advertiser or brand name, visible URL, etc.). Yes Recommended 25 characters
Call to action Text that encourages user to take action (e.g., Visit Site). Yes Recommended 15 characters
 

Native content ad example:

Example of what a content ad looks like in the mobile world.

Native app install ad display fields

Field Description Always included? Required to be displayed? Max length
Ad badge Ad Ad Attribution that clearly marks units as advertising. Yes Required NA
Image Large, primary image with landscape aspect ratio (1.91:1).
NOTE: The square aspect ratio (1:1) is not recommended for app install ads because it can decrease performance. Instead, we recommend using the “App icon” if you need a square image.
Yes Recommended NA
Title Primary headline text. Yes Required 25 characters
Body Secondary body text (e.g., app description). Yes Recommended 90 characters
App icon Small app store image with square aspect ratio (1:1). Yes Required NA
Star rating Rating from 0-5 that represents the average rating of the app in a store. No Recommended NA
Call to action Button or text field that encourages user to take action (e.g., Install). Yes Required 15 characters
 

App install ad example:

Example of what an app install ad looks like in the mobile world.

Meta variables in standard native ad formats

Standard native ad formats also have the following meta variables, which work in the background to direct users to the correct destination, and also to track clicks and impressions.

Meta variable Description
Click-through URL The destination URL when a user clicks on an ad if the deep link click action URL is not supported by the user’s device or is not present.
Deep link click action URL The destination URL when a user clicks on an ad if the URL is supported by an application on the user’s device. For example, a user clicks an ad and lands in another app (the deep link click action URL).
Third party impression tracker URL that allows advertisers to track an impression if the ad is displayed. The URL can call an image or HTML code.
Third party click tracker URL that allows advertisers to track an ad click. This URL can call an image or HTML code.

Additional policies for programmatic native styles

General

  • Elements must be large enough to be clearly visible and/or legible.
  • Elements may not overlap (for example, the headline may not be placed on top of the image).
  • Elements must not fall outside of the ad unit's boundaries.
  • No 3rd-party assets (i.e. custom fonts, JavaScript libraries) may be used.
  • Elements must only use supported fonts.
  • CSS functions that may return dynamic values (such as calc()) are not allowed.
  • Native styles must properly size elements relative to importance (for example, an advertiser’s logo should be less prominent than the primary marketing image).
  • Elements must be arranged in a coherent and aesthetically pleasing manner (for example, elements should be aligned and there should be no excessive white space).

Image and video elements

  • Display fields must adhere to the aspect ratios listed in the display field description tables above.
  • Images or videoes must maintain the original aspect ratio.
  • Publishers may scale image or video elements down without modifying the aspect ratio.
  • Images when scaled must remain larger than 40 pixels in their shorter dimension.
  • Cropping by height or width is not allowed.
  • Video elements must maintain an aspect ratio of 4:3, 16:9, 1:1, 3:4, or 9:16, or as otherwise approved by Google. Video elements must be at least 256 pixels in their longer dimension. For the aspect ratios above, that translates into minimums of 256x192, 256x144, 256x256, 192x256, or 144x256, respectively.

Programmatic native video eligibility

Programmatic native video ads are only eligible to serve to users with a wifi connection.

Text elements

Text elements must have sufficient contrast from the background to be clearly legible. You can use a contrast checker tool to make sure the ad text is legible.

Differentiation from content

Ads must be clearly distinguished from content. Do not style ad elements to resemble navigation controls in surrounding content.

Ad Attribution

The Ad Attribution must be displayed at or aligned with one of the four corners of the ad and must not overlap the AdChoices overlay. Do not hide, obscure, or camouflage the Ad Attribution or AdChoices Overlay.

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