Unwanted ads issues in Ad Exchange
An “unwanted ad” can be anything from a mis-categorized ad that displays despite category blocks to a malicious ad that may auto-redirect the user out of your app. Ad quality is very important to us. We have very strict policies and systems in place to prevent unwanted ads, though there can be some unavoidable instances. In such cases, any additional information you can provide is crucial to investigating and blocking in a timely manner. In addition, it can help avoid such behavior in the future.
Examples of unwanted ads
- Ads showing despite category, URL, creative, or advertiser blocks.
- Ads that dynamically alter appearance or behavior, such as clicking through to unrelated domains.
- Non family-safe ads.
- Auto-redirecting ads.
- Malware, such as virus alerts or automatic-downloads.
Check your setup
- Do you use multiple demand sources/ad networks?
If so, try to see which demand source is causing the issue by getting more information. If it is Ad Exchange, you can use some of the steps below to investigate and block the ad quickly.
- Do you have blocks in place to avoid the unwanted ads?
Many times, blocks are set up for one component but not the other. For example, you might have a block set up for display web, but not mobile app.
- Have there been any recent changes to your Ad Exchange settings?
For example, a block could have been removed or de-prioritized. You can check the change history.
I can be difficult to get more information about unwanted ads, but here are some tips and tools:
- Screenshot: Include the whole screen if possible, showing browser, OS, and system time.
- Device and browser details:
- For desktop and mobile web, record the user-agent of the browser.
- For mobile apps, record the mobile device and OS details.
- Exact occurrence date and timing, including your time zone.
- Clickstring (or, "click tag"): The clickstring helps to confirm that the ad came from us and provides additional information about the ad. Learn how to capture a clickstring on Publisher University.
- Session traffic or Network trace through tools such as Charles or Fiddler, or HAR export from Chrome Developer Tools. For redirects, be sure to record the traffic before and after the redirect. In Chrome Developer Tools, this can be done by checking “preserve log” in the Network tab.
- Find the creative in Ad Exchange Creative review: You can search by image, keyword, or click-through domain. Then, click on the expand icon to get more details.
- Look for the AdChoices logo: If present, try the tracking URL for the ad. This can especially help if it's difficult to find the clickstring.
Block an ad
In addition to the various tools, we also empower you to take action to block these ads when you see them or have enough information about them. You have the following options to block ads:
- Creative review in the Ad Exchange UI:
- Click the creative to block it.
- Click the drop-down next to “Block” to block the AdWords account as a whole. We recommend not using this option unless you’re consistently seeing unwanted ads from a particular AdWords advertiser.
- Blocking rules in the Ad Exchange UI:
- You can use the advertiser URL obtained from the click-through URL or the declared domain for the ad in the Creative review to block all ads coming from that URL.
You need to block for each component, such as Display, Mobile Apps, or Video, separately if you want the same block to apply to multiple components. Keep in mind that blocking any ad will lower your potential revenue, as it reduces competition for your ad space by removing advertiser bids from the auction.