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Guidelines for programmatic native ads using native styles

This article describes the guidelines for programmatic native ads with Ad Exchange using native styles. These guidelines do not apply to direct-sold native ads.

If you’re using the custom rendering option for native apps (less common), click here for the custom rendering guidelines.

Required ad elements

Required elements for programmatic native ads include Ad Attribution, AdChoices Overlay, and some advertiser elements (depending on the native ad format).

Ad Attribution and AdChoices Overlay are used to clearly mark your programmatic native ads as advertisements, which is required so that users don’t mistake them for content. It’s important to understand the difference between the two:

Ad Attribution

The Ad Attribution is a badge that clearly marks units as advertising. For native styles, the Ad Attribution is included automatically.

  • You may style the attribution to fit your layout, but it must remain clearly legible.
  • As the upper righthand corner of the ad is reserved for the AdChoices Overlay, the Ad Attribution badge must be in one of the other three corners.
  • The Ad Attribution badge can overlap the corner of the marketing image if a box shadow is applied. The exact box shadow spec is:
    box-shadow: 0px 1px 2px rgba(0, 0, 0, .5);

AdChoices Overlay

The AdChoices Overlay is added automatically by Google for native styles.

  • The AdChoices Overlay must be clearly visible.
  • It must be in the upper righthand corner. Avoid placing other ad content in this corner.
  • The AdChoices Overlay can overlap the corner of the marketing image.

Standard native ad formats

Ad Exchange supports standardized native ad formats to maximize advertiser reach and publisher yield. While publishers define custom CSS for their programmatic native ads, the components that make up the ads are fixed. This ensures a clear understanding between publishers and advertisers for the native ad’s content.

Ad Exchange currently supports the following native ad formats:

  • Native content ads
  • Native app install ads

Publishers must display all of the Required elements for each format. Publishers may choose whether or not to display Recommended elements.

Please note the following:
  • Text assets that are longer than the max length may be truncated and ellipsed by DoubleClick. Publishers are not allowed to manually truncate.
  • The max lengths are half the size in Asian languages. For example, the headline limit is 90 for English and 45 for Chinese.

Native content ad display fields

Field Description Always included? Required to be displayed? Max length
Headline Primary headline text (e.g., article title). Yes Required 90 characters
Image
(for non-video ads)
Large, primary image with landscape (1.91:1) or square (1:1) aspect ratio. Yes Recommended NA
Video
(for video ads)
Large, primary video with landscape aspect ratio (1.91:1). Yes Required NA
Body Secondary body text (e.g., article description). Yes Recommended 90 characters
Logo Small icon image (e.g., the advertiser logo) with square aspect ratio (1:1). No Recommended NA
Call to action Text that encourages user to take action (e.g., Visit Site). Yes Recommended 15 characters
Advertiser Text that identifies the advertiser (e.g., advertiser or brand name, visible URL, etc.). Yes Recommended 25 characters
 

Native content ad example:

Example of what a content ad looks like in the mobile world.

Native app install ad display fields

Field Description Always included? Required to be displayed? Max length
Headline Primary headline text (e.g., app title). Yes Required 25 characters
Image
(for non-video ads)
Large, primary image with landscape aspect ratio (1.91:1).
NOTE: The square aspect ratio (1:1) is not recommended for app install ads because it can decrease performance. Instead, we recommend using the “App icon” if you need a square image.
Yes Recommended NA
Video
(for video ads)
Large, primary video with landscape aspect ratio (1.91:1). Yes Required NA
Body Secondary body text (e.g., app description). Yes Recommended 90 characters
App icon Small app store image with square aspect ratio (1:1). Yes Required NA
Call to action Button or text field that encourages user to take action (e.g., Install). Yes Required 15 characters
Star rating Rating from 0-5 that represents the average rating of the app in a store. No Recommended NA
Price Cost of the app. No Recommended 15 characters
 

App install ad example:

Example of what an app install ad looks like in the mobile world.

Meta variables in standard native ad formats

Standard native ad formats also have the following meta variables, which work in the background to direct users to the correct destination, and also to track clicks and impressions.

Meta variable Description
Click-through URL The destination URL when a user clicks on an ad if the deep link click action URL is not supported by the user’s device or is not present.
Deep link click action URL The destination URL when a user clicks on an ad if the URL is supported by an application on the user’s device. For example, a user clicks an ad and lands in another app (the deep link click action URL).
Third party impression tracker URL that allows advertisers to track an impression if the ad is displayed. The URL can call an image or HTML code.
Third party click tracker URL that allows advertisers to track an ad click. This URL can call an image or HTML code.

Additional policies/CSS validation rules

DFP automatically validates programmatic native styles to meet advertiser expectations and provide a good experience for users. Here are some of the guidelines that styles must meet to pass validation.

General

  • Elements must be large enough to be clearly visible and/or legible.
  • Elements may not overlap (for example, the headline may not be placed on top of the image).
  • Elements must not fall outside of the ad unit's boundaries.
  • No 3rd-party assets (i.e. custom fonts, JavaScript libraries) may be used in programmatic native styles.
  • You can see a list of supported fonts here.
  • CSS functions that may return dynamic values (such as calc()) are not supported for programmatic native ads using native styles.

Image and video elements

  • Publishers must follow the aspect ratios listed in the field description tables above. Publishers must not distort (stretch/squeeze) the image or video by changing its aspect ratio.
  • Publishers may scale image or video elements down without modifying the aspect ratio.
  • Cropping by height is not allowed.
  • Video elements (for video ads) must be at least 280x250 and 70% of the width and 33% of the height to be valid.

Programmatic native video eligibility

Programmatic native video ads are only eligible to serve to users with a wifi connection.

Text elements

  • Text elements must have sufficient contrast from the background to be clearly legible.
    Some users with low vision have a difficult time sensing contrast. If text doesn't have a high contrast ratio, these users may not be able to read it. You can use a contrast checker tool to make sure the ad text is legible.

Differentiation from content

Ads must be clearly distinguished from content. The following are prohibited:

  • Camouflaging ad elements as navigation controls in surrounding content.
  • Camouflaging the Ad Attribution or AdChoices Overlay.

Ad Attribution

The Ad Attribution must be displayed at one of the four corners of the ad.

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