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AdMob & AdSense programme policies

How you can prevent invalid activity

This article provides guidance on how to avoid invalid activity, such as utilising test ads, understanding ad traffic patterns and choosing reputable partners, ensuring a positive experience for both publishers and advertisers.

While our traffic quality team uses both automatic and manual methods to filter out invalid clicks, we also need publishers to follow our policies in order to reduce the possibility of invalid activity.

A general rule of thumb is to always put your users first – make sure that your ads don’t draw unnatural attention, mislead users, encourage clicks or appear in places that may cause invalid clicks. If we find invalid activity in your app(s), you may be at risk for account disablement. We also refund revenue generated from invalid clicks to affected advertisers. To learn more about this, refer to Estimated vs finalised earnings.

As a publisher, you're responsible for ensuring that your ad implementation complies with our AdSense programme policies, and that you haven’t paid for traffic from unreliable sources.

To learn more about our systems and process for preventing invalid activity, check out the Ad Traffic Quality Resource Centre.

Here are some additional tips to further help you prevent invalid activity on your apps:

Don’t click your own ads, even if you think it’s okay to do so

Publishers may not click their own ads or use any means to inflate impressions and/or clicks artificially, including manual methods. Testing your own ads by clicking them is not allowed. Use test ads (available for Android, iOS) to avoid generating invalid clicks.

Use test ads

Clicking live ads in your own app is not allowed. Use test ads to avoid generating invalid clicks. It is important to enable test ads during development so that you can click them without charging Google advertisers. 

If you click too many ads without being in test mode, your account can be flagged for invalid activity.

There are two ways to implement test ads:

  1. Use one of Google's sample ad units. Google provides sample ad unit IDs to test your ads.
  2. Use your own ad unit and enable test devices. You can configure your device as a test device and use your own ad unit IDs that you've created in the AdMob UI.

To implement test ads, follow the instructions on Google Developer for Android and iOS.

Understand your ad traffic and app users

Break down your traffic reports into meaningful segments using app filters such as app name, ad unit and country. This will help you gauge how changes to traffic sources or implementation can affect your ad traffic. You can use Google Analytics to get detailed information about your app visitors, and be on the lookout for any suspicious user behaviour. Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Where do my users come from?
  • How are they interacting with my app?
  • Which screens do they view in my app?

Learn more about how you can use Google Analytics in AdMob and how to implement the Google Analytics SDK for Android and iOS.

Avoid partnering with untrusted/low-quality parties

Some publishers have had issues with invalid activity when partnering with low-quality ad networks or app promotion sites in efforts to increase traffic to their app.

Understand ad formats and how to implement them

Ads should not be implemented in a way that encourages users to click ads, or causes users to accidentally click ads. To help prevent invalid activity on your apps, refer to the following articles:

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