Ad Exchange policies and enforcement

This guide is intended to provide answers to commonly asked questions and share the framework of Ad Exchange policy enforcement. The information presented here does not, in any way, change the actual policies, which are available at www.google.com/adxbuyer/guidelines.html. You can also access the Ad Exchange policies from the Program Guidelines link located in the footer of the application.

Automated creative review
Ad Exchange reserves the right to conduct automated creative reviews in order to maintain the quality of ads on the exchange. While this does not change the Ad Exchange guidelines, creatives that don't meet our policies will be paused until corrected. The most common issues are: flash cookies, raw IP addresses, missing or broken click macros, invalid 4th party calls, undeclared or incorrect landing page, customer creative ID misuse, non certified vendors, and creative download sizes.

Content and creatives

DoubleClick Ad Exchange reserves the right to disapprove ads in breach of the content and creative policies outlined in the Google AdWords Advertising Policies and to suspend entire accounts for certain violations. If you have any questions about the violations, please contact your Technical Account Manager.

Examples:

  • Animation length
  • Ads must remain static after 30 seconds
  • Creatives may not exceed a 150K initial load. Additional load must be "polite" and may not exceed 2.2MB
  • Maximum frame rate
  • Trafficking errors, e.g. the destination URL matching where the user is sent, http://www.gooooogle.com, and leads to a parked domain.
  • Blank ads - each trafficked ad must contain a creative; rendering blank creatives is not acceptable.

Please refer to the full content guidelines outlined in the Google AdWords Advertising Policies, as well as the Requirements for third-party ad serving.

If a client’s ad is disapproved under these circumstances, they will be required to make the necessary compliance changes and resubmit their ads for review.

In addition to the above policies, Ad Exchange has the following policy on family safe status:

Google assigns a family status to all ads to make sure that ads are shown to an appropriate audience. Products that are considered to have "non-family safe" status cannot currently be run on Ad Exchange.

We continue to review this status and reserve the right to change this policy for Ad Exchange.

Data and third-party ad serving

Data and third-party ad serving includes the following topics.

Declaration of third- and fourth-party calls

All third- and fourth-party calls must be declared. This includes:
  • Redirects or server-to-server callouts.
  • Redirects or callouts to any technology, including ad servers, rich-media servers, tracking technologies, or verification technologies.

Unless:

  • The technology is issued by a single buyer on Ad Exchange solely for their own use and is not licensed to any third- parties
  • The technology is on the white-list of the approved technology vendors

No fifth-party calls are allowed. You cannot have an ad on Ad Exchange that calls a third-party ad server that calls another third-party ad server (fourth-party call) that calls another third- party ad server (fifth-party call).

Policy for third- and fourth-party calls

Please refer to the Requirements for third-party ad serving, under third-party ad serving.

Example

An ad served by a buyer for an advertiser contains a tracking URL, collecting user data to be used with subsequent campaigns (e.g. http://collectuserdata.net?name=barry&time=1200&bannerseen=12345).

The vendor, “collectuserdata.net,” needs to be declared in the ad. If the vendor is not available on the list of declarable vendors, it is either white-listed on the approved technology vendors list or not allowed under any circumstances.

Flash cookies and other locally shared objects

Flash cookies and other locally shared object (LSO) technologies are not allowed on Ad Exchange.

Flash cookies & local storage

Flash cookies are defined as any locally shared object (LSO) technologies (including, but not limited to, flash cookies, browser helper objects, or HTML5 localStorage) for behavioral advertising, ad delivery, reporting, and/or multi-site advertising.

Example

A flash banner is served that sets a .lso file;  the banner writes data about the page the user was on, the products displayed in the banner, and makes a backup of the user’s web cookie data. Users cannot easily or transparently block LSO objects, and it is against Google policies to gather ad serving data from an ad impression.

Please refer to the Requirements for third-party ad serving, under third-party ad serving.

Malware

Malware is not accepted or tolerated within any Google product including Ad Exchange. Google verifies any creatives directly uploaded into Ad Exchange, or follows the third-party redirect for malware or viruses through proprietary systems.

Malware violations are not accepted or tolerated within any Google product, including Ad Exchange. Google reviews creatives or the third-party redirect uploaded in the service. Learn more about What Google does to prevent malware.

Given DoubleClick Ad Exchange's relationship with third-parties, however, there is the possibility that a buyer on Ad Exchange, either in their system or through a call-out from their system, may have a policy violation or introduce malware or viruses to Ad Exchange. Any buyer that intentionally violates policy or actively uploads malware or viruses directly into Ad Exchange will be immediately and permanently terminated. For those using external calls, Google will attempt to detect any such activity and suspend the associated creative or call-out. Should a violation be detected, Google's policy toward the buyer is as follows in the Enforcement section.

Click macros

Ad Exchange buyers that serve ads from a third-party are required to use a Google click macro in their tags. This allows clicks to be reported back to Google, which can then share them with publishers. Click macros are also used to protect inventory by detecting invalid clicks and impressions. All certified vendors and tags have been tested to support the Google click macro.

Learn more about the different macros and their implementation.

Buyer participation

DoubleClick Ad Exchange has a policy that bans “sub-syndication.” (See “No Sub-syndication Policy” in the Buyer program guidelines at http://www.google.com/adxbuyer/guidelines.html.) This policy requires that each buyer on Ad Exchange have it’s own contract with Ad Exchange. Furthermore, no company or entity that is eligible to be a direct buyer on Ad Exchange can buy through an intermediary.

Violations:

Whenever a company/technology is run through a different account on Ad Exchange that either could have or already has an independent account with Ad Exchange, the policy is being violated.

What is a multi-account buyer?

Ad Exchange buyers may only purchase inventory for use directly by an advertiser (or direct agent of an advertiser) with which they have a direct relationship. Reselling, distributing, or otherwise sub-syndicating inventory to another indirect sales channel (e.g., another ad network or trading desk) is prohibited. Note that redirects to rich-media vendors and third-party ad servers used by an advertiser (or direct agent of an advertiser) is permitted under this policy.

In Ad Exchange, advertisers, advertiser ad networks, and demand-side platforms (DSPs)/trading desks are considered "buyers." Publishers, publisher ad networks, and supply aggregators/exchanges are considered "sellers." All Ad Exchange buyers are required to adhere to the following policies.

This document provides clarification and examples on who can be a buyer or seller on Ad Exchange. It is not designed to replace the actual DoubleClick Ad Exchange policies, but rather to provide more clarification on common questions of eligibility.

The nested decision logic of buyers or publishers that buy via other buyers (“sub-syndication”) increases the risk of unknown or undesired creative elements running on publishers on Ad Exchange. Any violation of policy is attributed to the client holding an Ad Exchange account.

Who can be a buyer on DoubleClick Ad Exchange?

Buyers who act as an ad network, trading desk, or DSP can buy on Ad Exchange. These companies are considered eligible if they buy on behalf of multiple advertisers, taking principal risk on the transaction.

Companies that are either marketers/advertisers, or buy directly on behalf of a marketer/advertiser (no arbitrage or routing to multiple advertisers in a given call) are not eligible to be a buyer on Ad Exchange, but they can purchase exchange inventory via an Ad Exchange customer or AdWords.

Google reserves the right to make exceptions for large marketers/advertisers that require services of Ad Exchange that are not supported by AdWords.

Who can purchase inventory via a buyer on DoubleClick Ad Exchange?

Companies that are either marketers/advertisers, or buy directly on behalf of a marketer/advertiser (no arbitrage or routing to multiple advertisers in a given call) all can purchase inventory via a buyer on Ad Exchange.

Companies that act as an ad network, trading desk, or DSP (companies eligible to be a buyer on Ad Exchange themselves) cannot buy on Ad Exchange via a buyer on Ad Exchange. Companies that can either buy on behalf of one marketer/advertiser or do arbitrage or routing to multiple advertises via the same technology must select one business practice when working with Google.

Can a traditional publisher be a buyer on DoubleClick Ad Exchange?

Yes. Publishers wishing to purchase inventory from Ad Exchange and resell that inventory to their advertisers can be a buyer on Ad Exchange.

Publishers cannot allow companies that act as an ad network, trading desk, or DSP (companies eligible to be a buyer on Ad Exchange themselves) to buy on Ad Exchange via the publisher’s own buyer contract on Ad Exchange.

Can an exchange or sell-side platform (SSP) be a buyer on DoubleClick Ad Exchange?

Yes. Exchanges or SSPs wishing to purchase inventory from Ad Exchange and resell that inventory to any advertisers with which they have a direct relationship can be a buyer on Ad Exchange.

Exchanges or SSPs cannot allow companies that act as an ad network, trading desk, or DSP (companies eligible to be a buyer on Ad Exchange themselves) to buy on Ad Exchange via that exchange or SSP’s own buyer contract on Ad Exchange.

Who can be a technology provider on DoubleClick Ad Exchange?

An ad server that is independently sold/licensed (not used solely by the customer of Ad Exchange) is eligible to be a technology provider on Ad Exchange. This includes traditional ad servers, exchanges, DSPs, rich-media providers and other related technology.

Any company wishing to be a technology provider must be certified by Ad Exchange. Additionally, specific sellers on Ad Exchange (such as Google’s Display Network) might have independent certification procedures and requirements.

Who can be a seller on DoubleClick Ad Exchange?

Publishers, media properties, and ad networks* can be sellers on Ad Exchange. Companies seeking to be sellers on Ad Exchange are subject to review and may be deemed ineligible for selling inventory given the degree and/or and quality of their inventory.

* Ad networks cannot currently join the exchange, pending the development of improved sub-syndication controls.

Can publishers that represent non-owned and operated inventory (sub-syndication) be a seller on Ad Exchange?

Ad Exchange has a temporary moratorium on inventory that is not owned and operated by the proposed seller.

Example:

Examples include DSPs, ad networks, and publishers buying ads for inventory extension. Multi-account advertisers may use Ad Exchange, but they may not use AdWords. They may access AdSense inventory through Ad Exchange so long as the buyer and technology are certified by both Ad Exchange and the Google Display Network.  

Policy enforcement

DoubleClick Ad Exchange reserves the right to suspend clients for any reason and this enforcement approach is subject to change.

Declaration of third- and fourth-party calls enforcement model

Any third- or fourth-party call that is incorrectly declared or undeclared when required, detected within a 24hr period, is considered one violation. Buyers on Ad Exchange will be suspended for three months if they have three concurrent violations. Clients are given 10 business days from the time notice is sent to address or appeal a violation. If addressed to Google’s satisfaction, a violation is no longer counted towards the limit of three violations that constitute suspension.

Timing details

Any third- or fourth-party call that is mistakenly declared or undeclared when required, detected within a 24hr period, is considered one violation. This means that on a single day, within a 24-hour period, a buyer may have an unlimited number of mis-declared technologies, which are collectively considered one violation. If another, new, mis-declared technology is found on the following day, it is considered an independent violation.

Flash cookies and locally shared objects policy enforcement model

Certain violations result in temporary suspension of traffic. If rectified in 10 days, the buyer can be reinstated.

Any LSO object, detected within a 24 hour period, is considered one violation. Buyers on Ad Exchange will be suspended for three months if they have three concurrent violations. Clients are given 10 business days from the time notice is sent to address or appeal a violation. If addressed to Google’s satisfaction, a violation is no longer counted towards the limit of three violations that constitute suspension.

Malware enforcement model

Example Violations Tracking Penalties
For buyers who are found to have uploaded malware or a virus directly into the exchange or that appear to knowingly attempt to avoid our detection: First offense: Suspended permanently (i.e., terminated), all outstanding payments are collected.
For buyers who are found to have made a third-party call to malware or a virus:

 

First offense (within a 12 month period):
Suspended from accessing the exchange for three months; all outstanding payments are collected
Second offense (within a 12 month period): Suspended from accessing the exchange for three months.
Buyer must either A) implement a Google approved (1) malware/virus detection system on their platform or B) book all creatives directly into the exchange; all outstanding payments are collected.

Third offense (within a 12 month period):


Suspended permanently (i.e., terminated); all outstanding payments are collected.

(1) Google Requirements for third-party Malware Detection System:

A Google approved malware/virus detection system must:

  • check every creative uploaded or called by your network for being a virus or malware
  • be provided by a list of approved vendors or audited by a mutually agreed third-party

Use of this DoubleClick Ad Exchange policy

This enforcement model for malware applies to DoubleClick Ad Exchange only. AdWords maintains its own policy and enforcement model independently of Ad Exchange.

AdWords monitors AdWords and Ad Exchange accounts for landing page malware. If malware is detected, the violating account will be immediately suspended by the AdWords team.

Appeal process for malware violations

Clients with a material violation can be re-admitted faster than normal policy by addressing the issue and having the solution verified by a mutually agreed upon third-party auditor (paid for by client).

Violations

Violation communication

Customers will receive notification via their Technical Account Manager with Sales Account Manager support. Notification is initially verbal, and we will send you a follow-up email.

There may be a delay between a violation being detected and when it can be communicated to a given client. For a third violation, the 10 business day period to address a violation will start on the day of communication.

DoubleClick Ad Exchange maintains the right to suspend for excessive or repeat violations.

Violation status check

If at any time clients would like to check the status of policy violations, they can contact their Technical Account Manager.

Invalid clicks and impressions

The Ad Exchange protects buyers against click fraud and invalid impressions.

Invalid impressions are not currently reported in the UI.
Invalid clicks, and their reporting in the Ad Exchange Buyer UI, are not related to the impression-based costs paid by buyers.