Custom Search Ads

Custom Search Ads policies

In addition to the Google AdSense programme policies, AdSense Customised Search Ads has the following supplemental policies that you must agree to in order to participate.

The following policies apply to all Custom Search Ad implementations (desktop, mobile, and mobile app):

  1. Query variable passed to Google must match user query
    All search queries must originate from individual human end users inputting data directly into a search box. You must send all queries exactly as entered, without editing, modifying or filtering them. The search box should not be pre-populated with search terms and publishers may not create links containing pre-populated search terms.
  2. Nature of searchable content
    As described in the AdSense programme policies, copyrighted content or content that violates our site content guidelines should not be the focus of your searchable content.
  3. Code may only be used on search results pages
    AdSense Customised Search Ads ad units may only be placed on search results pages.
  4. Ads must be distinct from search results
    AdSense Customised Search Ads must always be clearly differentiated from any search results on the page. In addition to clearly and prominently labelling ads, here are some recommended techniques to differentiate ads from search results:

    • Shading the ad unit background in a colour that clearly contrasts with the page background colour
    • Placing a border around the ad unit
    • Using a strong line between the ad unit and the search results
  5. No incentivising searches
    You may not compensate users for viewing ads or performing searches.
  6. AdSense Customised Search Ads should appear on pages with search results
    AdSense Customised Search Ads are intended to supplement search results that your site returns and not act as the results themselves.
  7. Partners may not backfill AdSense Customised Search Ads with AdSense for Content (AFC) and/or AdMob ads
    It is not permitted to mix request types within the one placement, such as to backfill AdSense Customised Search Ads results with AFC or AdMob results. It is also not permitted to alternate request types for the same placement, such as to use AdSense Customised Search Ads on some views, and AFC or AdMob on other views.
  8. You may not place AdSense Customised Search Ads on a page that also concurrently displays AdWords text demand through other units.

  9. Number of ads in relation to organic results
    The number of ads should not exceed the number of search results for a user’s search query.

  10. Unless approved by Google in writing, Custom Search Ads may not be implemented on search results pages where the search results are comprised in substantial part of the following:

    • Videos
    • Images
    • News aggregation
    • People
    • Music
    • Content originating from any Google service other than Google Custom Search Engine (e.g. YouTube API).

Desktop specific policies

  1. Maximum three ad units per page Your search results pages can feature up to three AdSense Customised Search Ads ad units. You can also include one link unit, and one AdSense for Content or one Ad Exchange unit which must be set to an image, placement targeted ad only.

  2. Number of ads in relation to organic results

    • The number of ads should not exceed the number of search results for a user’s search query.
    • Maximum of five ads (one unit) above or below search results and ads should not take up more than one third of the search result space without scrolling
    • Maximum of eight ads in units to the side of results

Mobile Web and Tablet specific policies

  1. Maximum two ad units per page
    You cannot make more than one request for AdSense Customised Search Ads for Mobile per page on which results will be displayed. Your search results pages can feature up to two AdSense Customised Search Ads for Mobile ad units. There must be only one ad unit visible on the screen at any time.
  2. You cannot have more than three ads within the top ad unit and more than three ads within the bottom ad unit.
  3. You cannot have more than one AdSense Custom Search Ads for Mobile ad unit visible to the user at a time.

Mobile app specific policies

  1. Only one AFS request is allowed per user action; for example, a scroll or a click on a link.
    On mobile applications you may not make more than one request for AdSense Customised Search Ads for Mobile Apps ads per user action for which AdSense Customised Search Ads for Mobile Apps results will be displayed. If your search results page implements infinite scroll, user scroll that initiates the asynchronous loading of more search results is considered a user-requested action and you can request more ads.
  2. On-frame ads (ads that are fixed on the top or bottom of the application) are not allowed. 
  3. In-frame ads (ads that are placed on the page inside the mobile application)
    You cannot have more than three Custom Search Ads within the top ad unit and more than three ads within the bottom ad unit. You can have up to four Custom Search Ads in the bottom ad unit if no top ad units are present on the page.
  4. You cannot have more than one AdSense Customised Search Ads for Mobile Apps ad unit visible to the user at a time.
  5. You cannot use both on-frame ads and in-frame ads in the same mobile application.
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