Custom Lightbox ad requirements

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Custom Lightbox ads must be hosted in Studio, trafficked from Campaign Manager 360, and implemented in Google Ads.

Lightbox templates are available through Google Web Designer. These templates allow users to create custom cross-device fullscreen Lightbox ads that adapt to various screen sizes and orientations with little to no coding. Once created, Google Web Designer publishes and uploads your creative directly to Studio. The templates are customizable in Google Web Designer and come with a supplementary build guide.

As an alternative to Google Web Designer, HTML5 Lightbox starter files are also available in the Rich Media Gallery. The HTML5 Lightbox build guide provides a full walkthrough of these files and explains how to use them. See our gallery for sample Lightbox creatives.


All Custom Lightbox ads are served through Campaign Manager 360 and implemented as HTML5 ads.

Invitation panel

Invitation state unit sizes: 300x250, 728x90, 160x600, 468x60, 120x600, 200x200, 250x250, 300x600, 336x280, and 320x50

Invitation panel content: The invitation panel can’t contain exit hotspots, but you can include auto-play video or animation for up to 30 seconds without sound.

Expansion methods: Expansion occurs upon hover or rollover on desktop and upon tap in the central region of the ad for touch-enabled devices.

  • For desktop: The Google AdSense API automatically introduces a two-second delay on hover on desktop. The ad can’t begin expanding until the AdSense API notifies the ad that expansion is completed. If you’re removing mouseover handlers, remove them only once the expansion state is done expanding. For example, in Studio this can happen in the onLoaded() function or later, not in the start() function.
  • For mobile: Expansion occurs upon tap in the central region of the ad for touch-enabled devices. If a tap occurs within 10 pixels of the border, there will be a 2-second “expanding” notification allowing the user to tap again to cancel the expansion in case the ad tap was unintentional. Note that ads cannot trigger expansion when a viewer attempts to scroll the page.

Expansion call-to-action (CTA): The invitation panel cannot be expanded until an expansion CTA is visible. For the best viewer experience, place the expansion CTA as early as possible on load and make the entire invitation state hot for expansion. You must include an expansion call-to-action (CTA) phrase that clearly indicates the expansion action (for example, "hover to expand") or use the Google expand icon graphic.

  • Frame rate: Maximum 24 frames per second (FPS)
  • For Google expand icon graphic use: To use the graphic in place of a text call-to-action, you must use this scalable vector graphic. Variations will not be accepted.
  • For cross-device creatives: If not already accounted for by the template, add two invitations. These must include an expansion call-to-action phrase which clearly indicates the expansion action per environment (for example, "hover to expand" on desktop invitation and "tap to expand" on tablet invitation).

Expanded panel

Expanded state unit sizes: You must use the fullscreen API, which automatically chooses the maximum size allowed by the Google AdSense API and expands the ad to a majority of the viewer's screen with room to click out on desktop or mobile web. The expanded panel can’t be a fixed size.

Expanded panel requirements:

  • The expanded panel must collapse on click-through or exit. Due to technical restrictions when serving in an iOS in-app environment the ad cannot collapse the ad on exit. All other environments must collapse on exit.
  • Ad content in the expanded panel must be fully responsive. Ad content can’t be a fixed size and should expand or contract to fit any screen where the ad could render (mobile, tablet, desktop). Content can be removed or hidden to accommodate smaller screen sizes. Visible content must remain functional and clickable (if applicable) on all screen sizes where the ad could render.
  • All ad content must be branded. The expanded panel can’t have large amounts of whitespace or unbranded content on any screen size where the ad could render.
  • To accommodate desktop and mobile expansions, build your ad with both landscape and portrait aspect ratios.
  • Expandable ads currently depend on the use of JavaScript tags. Iframe tags cannot be used.
  • A mobile video Masthead or Universal Video Masthead cannot be repurposed for a Masthead in Lightbox ad.

Close methods: The Lightbox component automatically adds a "Close" button in the upper-right corner of the creative that covers a 12x12 area. Viewers should be able to click “X” in the upper-right of an expanded state unit (or click the grayed background of the Lightbox in the expanded state). You can also define the creative itself with a close method within its own content, but this isn’t required.


Initial load size: Make assets smaller than 200 KB for the fastest initial load time. For an optimum viewer experience, compress and use the minimum required assets in initial load.

Total non-viewer initiated load size: 2.2 MB maximum (Total non-viewer initiated load size includes initial and subsequent/polite loads.)

Viewer-initiated load size: Up to 10 MB per interaction (YouTube video and streaming video are not counted.) For optimal performance, keep assets under 2.2 MB. When total load size exceeds 2.2 MB, bandwidth targeting settings will be applied.

CPU usage: For an optimum viewer experience, Lightbox ads can’t exceed 30% of the central processing unit (CPU) capacity of a viewer’s computer or mobile device.


Border and iFrame: The ad’s border must stay within iFrame in both the invitation state and the expanded state. On all invitation states with partially black, white, or transparent backgrounds, a visible border of a contrasting color to the majority background color of the creative is required.

Mouseover policy: The Google AdSense API introduces a two-second delay on hover. The ad can’t expand until the AdSense API notifies the ad that expansion is completed.

Special design features: The invitation state must have a z-index value that is less than 9,010 to accommodate for any online behavioral option icon provided by Google or a third-party vendor.

Google Display Network auction campaigns: To accommodate the AdChoices logo, leave a 76x15-pixel space in the upper-right corner of the ad (in the collapsed or invitation state). The AdChoices logo will be automatically inserted and will block content in that area of your ad. Learn more about the in-ads notice for the Google Display Network.

Backup image: A backup image of 200 KB or less is required for all creatives. The backup image must use a single, generic click-through call-to-action (CTA). Don’t use hover or rollover CTAs because backup images cannot expand, and don’t include a "Close X" button on the image.

  • Flash content and Flash fallback (SWFs and FLVs) are not permitted in HTML5 ads.
  • All HTML5 ads must fall back to support basic HTML5 and to ensure full functionality across all modern browsers.
Video and animation

Autoplay video: Maximum 30 seconds long

Viewer-initiated video and animation: Pause/play, mute/unmute, and an indicator of the video duration and elapsed status are required for video. If any of these functionalities are hardware-controlled when the ad serves on a tablet, the corresponding buttons are not required. Upon expansion, the video can play with sound in the expanded panel, but consider setting the video to autoplay without sound and include an “unmute” button over the video. A small countdown clock (200x50) is permitted in the expanded panel.

  • Maximum 4 minutes long per video or animation.
  • Maximum 24 frames per second (FPS) for GIF files
  • Exits from YouTube video annotations must be set to open a new window.
  • An HTML5 video tag or a pre-determined YouTube player is required for HTML5 creatives.

Actions on viewer clicks (video): Once the pause or stop button is clicked, the video must stop. After an exit click, all sound and video must stop.

Progressive and streaming video: Videos can be progressive or streaming. If your Lightbox ad contains live video, please see the live streaming in ads guidelines.

Video format compatibility: For non-YouTube hosted video, both MP4 and either WebM or Ogg formats must be used to ensure compatibility across all major browsers. YouTube videos are exempt from this requirement as the appropriate format will be called automatically.

Animation performance: CSS animation is recommended.

Serving and tracking

Serving capabilities: Lightbox ads may be served only with Studio through Campaign Manager 360. In-banner survey invitations and in-banner surveys are not allowed.

Custom event and interaction tracking: All tracking and interaction metrics should be determined by the client and Lightbox Specialists before each launch.

Impression and click-tracking with third-party pixels: Impression- and expansion-tracking is accepted through certified third-party vendors only. Click-through tracking is accepted through the use of redirect URLs, and multiple exit URLs are allowed. Google doesn’t offer credits or make-goods if there are reporting discrepancies with a vendor.

Brand study tracking: Exposure and panel-based brand studies are accepted only through certified third-party vendors. Given the tablet environment, some vendors are not approved currently, but your Lightbox Specialists can evaluate the specific research vendor's pixels prior to launch. Brand study pixels can’t be trafficked directly in Campaign Manager 360, and must be implemented in the creative and called only after completion of initial load. Brand study pixels may fire on engagement.

Remarketing pixels: You can’t use remarketing pixels to create customer lists or collect information from impressions of your Lightbox ads. However, you can target Lightbox ads to existing remarketing lists or use tag-less Storyboarding remarketing. Storyboarding allows advertisers to create a list of people who engaged with their Lightbox ad, which can be used for a remarketing campaign. A list of engaged customers will appear along with your other customer lists on the "Remarketing" tab in Google Ads. Learn more about our remarketing policy. If you are interested, please contact your Google representative.

Social: Before integrating any social feature (for example, a social feed) into a Lightbox ad, an interested vendor must first be certified. This applies to both fourth-party calls and any cookies that are set or read. The use of social icons and clicks to a social landing page are allowed.

Facebook: We don't allow ads to run on the Google Display Network or on Google sites that incorporate the Facebook "Like" button or the "Like" box plugin. Ads that incorporate this feature or icon, whether the feature is functioning or not, will be disapproved. If you have further questions about how to incorporate Facebook APIs or features into your ad, please contact Facebook directly.

HTML5 feature readiness

Not all HTML5 features are supported in all browsers. For a visual representation see the HTML5 & CSS3 Readiness website. For a full compatibility list see the Can I use website.

Supported devices

Ads may be built specifically for desktop, mobile, or cross-devices (desktop, tablet, and mobile). Tablet-only Lightbox ads are not currently supported.

All desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones are eligible to serve HTML5 Lightbox ads. WAP and mid-range mobile phones are not supported.

Lightbox ads and their associated websites or apps cannot contain Sexual content. For more information see the Sexual content policy.

Submissions and turnaround times

Custom Lightbox ads

Creative assets for your Lightbox ads (or creatives published to Studio QA) should be delivered to Studio no later than 9-11 business days before your campaign's start date. Note that, depending on creative volume and complexity, production and QA might take longer.

Submission and turnaround times vary by region. Please contact your Google representative for region-specific rules.

A maximum of 2 creative revisions for site-served ads are allowed per 90-day period for active campaigns.

Turnaround times vary as follows:

  • Post-production and QA: 4 business days
  • Revisions and client approval: 2-3 business days
  • Trafficking in Campaign Manager 360: 1-2 business days
  • Google Display Network site testing and beta testing: 2 business days
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