Ad Exchange policies and enforcement

All ads on Ad Exchange go through an approval process, including an automated creative review in order to maintain ad quality. Ad Exchange reserves the right to disapprove ads in breach of the ad content and creative policies outlined in the Google Ads policies and to suspend accounts for certain violations.

General requirements for ad content and creative assets

  • Ads must remain static after 30 seconds
  • Creative assets may not exceed 150K initial load; additional load must be "polite" and cannot exceed 2.2MB
  • Flash creative maximum frame rate is 24 fps; In-stream video maximum frame rate is 30 fps
  • The target of all clickthrough URLs must be set to _blank to open in a new window; it cannot be undeclared
  • Declared destination URLs must match where the user is sent
  • All ads must contain creatives; rendering a blank creative is not acceptable

See the full guidelines in the Google Ads policies and the requirements for third-party ad serving.

In addition to the above, Google assigns a family-safe status to all ads to make sure they are shown to an appropriate audience. Products considered to be "non-family safe" cannot be run on Ad Exchange. We continue to review this status and reserve the right to change this policy.

Learn more about the ad approval process or see more detail on the most common policy issues below. *

To browse this page, click to see the details of any policy.

You can also expand all and press Ctrl + F (Command ⌘ + F, for Mac) to find information by keyword.

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Abortion

Google doesn't allow ads related to abortion in selected countries.

See the full guidelines and list of countries in the advertising policies.

Adult content

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 run on Ad Exchange.

In addition, Google restricts the promotion of the certain types of non-family safe or adult-oriented content.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Alcohol

Google restricts the promotion and sale of alcoholic beverages including beer, wine, and spirits.

Ad Exchange only accepts alcohol ads from certified advertisers. Buyers must provide to Google a list of any advertisers with alcohol ads that they wish to serve on Ad Exchange.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Alcohol targeting

Ads containing alcohol-related content are allowed on Ad Exchange only in the countries where they are supported, and only for inventory explicitly selected by publishers.

See the full guidelines in the alcohol policy.

Birth control

Google doesn't allow ads related to birth control or fertility products in selected countries.

See the full guidelines and list of countries in the advertising policies.

Circumventing systems

Google does not allow advertisers to engage in practices that attempt to circumvent or interfere with system controls or quality processes - for example, cloaking, use of dynamic DNS to switch page or ad content, or manipulating ad text in order to bypass our automated system checks.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Click macros

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.

Clinical trial recruitment

Google only allows the promotion of clinical trial recruitment in selected countries.

Promotions for clinical trial recruitment may not promote prescription drugs or create misleading expectations or effects of a product being tested, or imply that the product being tested is safe.

See the full guidelines and list of countries in the advertising policies.

Counterfeit products

Google prohibits the sale or promotion for sale of counterfeit products. Counterfeit products contain a trademark or logo that is identical to or substantially indistinguishable from the trademark of another. They mimic the brand features of the product in an attempt to pass themselves off as a genuine product of the brand owner.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Destination experience

Google strives to provide a quality user experience, and requires that all promotions meet high professional and editorial standards. This includes promotions that are relevant, useful, easy to interact with. A pop-up is considered to be any window, regardless of content, that opens in addition to the original landing page.

See the full guidelines here in the advertising policies.

Destination mismatch

Google strives to provide a quality user experience, and requires that all promotions meet high professional and editorial standards. This includes ensuring that the display URL used in your ad complies with specific requirements, including format, domain, extensions, subdomains, redirects, keyword and proxy URLs.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Direct download

Google prohibits ads deemed intrusive or inappropriate, including ads that initiate downloads.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Enabling dishonest behavior

Google values honesty and fairness and does not allow the promotion of products or services that are designed to enable dishonest behavior.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Expandable ads functionality

Third-party expandable ads are accepted on Ad Exchange according to a specific set of technical specifications and policies.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Explosives

Google does not allow ads and landing pages that promote the sale of weapons or devices capable of causing serious harm or injury.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Gambling

Gambling content is permitted in certain countries. These creatives remain subject to Google's Platforms Program Policy. Buyers and sellers remain responsible for providing content in locations that are legal, and for adhering to Google's Interest-Based Advertising policies against remarketing to sensitive content, including gambling.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Guns

Google does not allow ads and landing pages that promote the sale of weapons or devices capable of causing serious harm or injury.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

In-stream video ads functionality

Third-party in-stream video ads (VAST) are accepted on Ad Exchange according to a specific set of technical specifications and policies.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Inappropriate content

Google values diversity and respect for others, and strives to avoid offending users with ads, websites, or apps that are inappropriate. This includes the promotion of hatred, violence, harassment, or racism; content that's likely to shock, disgust, or that's exploitative or appears to unfairly capitalize at the expense of others; or promotes sexual, religious, or political intolerance, or organizations with such views.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Incorrect ad technology declaration

Buyers are allowed to use many technology vendors that utilize tools such as ad servers, research technologies, and remarketing. All vendors must be explicitly approved to run on Ad Exchange.

Fourth-party calls are only allowed from approved technology vendors. Certain vendors require declaration. See the list of Ad Exchange certified external vendors.

Invalid SSL declaration

Google requires all ad responses to be SSL-compliant, and all ad servers to have SSL certification.

Ad Exchange disapproves ads that are declared as SSL but detected as containing non-secure HTTP calls.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Legal requirements

Google requires compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, in addition to Google's advertising policies, for all of the locations where your ads are showing. A variety of restrictions may apply to your product or service depending on where in the world you promote or sell it. You should make sure you understand any restrictions that apply to the products and services you are promoting.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Malicious or unwanted software

Google does not allow the promotion of sites infected with malware, or the sale of malicious software. All creatives directly uploaded to Ad Exchange, as well as third-party redirects, are scanned for malware or viruses using proprietary systems.

In some cases, you may be unaware that you have malware on your site, but to protect the safety and security of our users, all ads that point to sites where malware is found, are disapproved.

Malware violations are not accepted or tolerated

Certain third-parties are approved to run ads on Ad Exchange. There is the possibility that a buyer, either in their system or through a callout 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 callout.

Learn more about what Google does to prevent malware in ad content.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Misleading content

Google requires ad content to be upfront, honest, and provide users with the information that they need to make informed decisions. Ads that make false statements, use false claims, falsely imply affiliations, mislead, or trick the user into interacting are prohibited.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Missing information

Google requires ad content to be upfront, honest, and provide users with the information that they need to make informed decisions. Ads that omit relevant information, such as clearly disclosing payment models, physical contact information for financial services, or material information when soliciting donations are prohibited.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Misusing personal information

Google prohibits ads that directly capture any personally-identifiable user information. Personal information includes, but isn't limited to, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and credit card numbers. No sensitive information can be collected through the ad.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Other weapons

Google does not allow ads and landing pages that promote the sale of weapons or devices capable of causing serious harm or injury.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Pet pharmacy

Contrary to Google Ads, online pharmaceutical products are not allowed on Ad Exchange. The Ad Exchange pharmaceutical policy includes prescription drugs, online pharmacies, unapproved pharmaceutical supplements, and other substances, such as steroids.

See the full guidelines in the pharmaceutical product policy.

Prescription drug reference

Contrary to Google Ads, online pharmaceutical products are not allowed on Ad Exchange. The Ad Exchange pharmaceutical policy includes prescription drugs, online pharmacies, unapproved pharmaceutical supplements, and other substances, such as steroids.

See the full guidelines in the pharmaceutical product policy.

Shocking content

Google values diversity and respect for others, and strives to avoid offending users with ads, websites, or apps that are inappropriate. This includes the promotion of hatred, violence, harassment, or racism; content that's likely to shock, disgust, or that's exploitative or appears to unfairly capitalize at the expense of others; or promotes sexual, religious, or political intolerance, or organizations with such views.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Style and spelling

Google strives to provide a quality user experience, and requires that all promotions meet high professional and editorial standards. This includes promotions that are clear and professional in appearance.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

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 or rich-media servers, tracking or verification technology

Unless:

  • The technology is used by a single Authorized Buyer solely for their own use (not licensed to a third party)
  • The technology is an approved technology vendor.

No fifth-party calls are allowed. You cannot have an ad 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).

Refer to the requirements for third-party ad serving, under third-party ad serving for a complete list of policy requirements.

Data collection

You may use a cookie, web beacon, or other tracking mechanism to collect anonymous traffic data for purposes of aggregated reach, frequency and/or conversion reporting, provided you use a certified third party vendor for this purpose. Collecting impression-level data via cookies or other mechanisms for purposes of subsequent re-targeting, interest category categorization, or syndication to other parties on Google Display Network inventory is prohibited. This restriction does not apply to click- or conversion-level data.

You may not associate cookies, web beacons, or other tracking mechanisms with personally-identifiable information (PII) for any purpose or with precise user location for behavior targeting unless the user has knowingly and expressly opted in. For purposes of this document, PII and precise user location does not include IP addresses.

You will not, and will not assist or knowingly permit any third party, to set a cookie, or alter or delete a cookie set, on any Google owned and operated domains, including, without limitation, on a DoubleClick domain.

You must display a prominent privacy policy with an option for users to persistently opt out of any cookie, web beacon, or other tracking mechanism set by you for data collection.

You can see a list of approved technology vendors who perform data collection, by searching for a research vendor type.


Example

An ad served by a buyer for an advertiser contains a tracking URL, collecting user data to be used with subsequent campaigns. For example, using the pixel below, the vendor "collectuserdata.net", needs to be declared in the ad:

http://collectuserdata.net?name=barry&time=1200&bannerseen=12345

If the vendor is not available on the list of declarable vendors, it is either approved on the approved technology vendors list or not allowed under any circumstances.

Tobacco

Google does not allow ads and landing pages that promote products or services that cause damage, harm, or injury.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Unapproved pharmaceuticals and supplements

Contrary to Google Ads, online pharmaceutical products are not allowed on Ad Exchange. The Ad Exchange pharmaceutical policy includes prescription drugs, online pharmacies, unapproved pharmaceutical supplements, and other substances, such as steroids.

See the full guidelines in the pharmaceutical product policy.

Unauthorized cookies on Google domain

Google prohibits ads that attempt to set a cookie on a Google domain, such as doubleclick.net and googlesyndication.com. You cannot assist or knowingly permit any third party to set a cookie, or alter or delete a cookie set, on any Google owned and operated domains, including on a DoubleClick domain.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Unavailable offers

.Google requires ad content to be upfront, honest, and provide users with the information that they need to make informed decisions. Ads that promising products, services, or promotional offers that are not easily found from the landing page are prohibited.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Unclear relevance

Google strives to provide a quality user experience, and requires that all promotions meet high professional and editorial standards. This includes promotions that is relevant and useful.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Unsupported business

Google requires compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, in addition to Google's advertising policies, for all of the locations where your ads are showing.

If the ad or landing page content contains products or services that are identified as prone to abuse, or if businesses with these characteristics pose an unreasonable risk to user safety or user experience, the ad may be stopped from running.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.

Use of Flash cookies and LSO objects

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

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.

See the full guidelines in the requirements for third-party ad serving, under third-party ad serving.

Use of raw IP

Google strives to provide a quality user experience, and requires that all promotions meet high professional and editorial standards. The use of a raw IP address (such as 123.45.678.90) in your ad content or as your display URL is prohibited.

See the full guidelines in the advertising policies.


  * The information presented here does not, in any way, change the buyer guidelines.

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