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Guidelines for programmatic native ads using custom rendering

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

If you’re using the native styles option (more common), click here for the native style 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 custom rendering in mobile apps, you render the Ad Attribution in your own app code. You must clearly display the text “Ad” or “Advertisement” (localized appropriately).

AdChoices Overlay

The AdChoices Overlay is added automatically by Google for custom rendering in mobile apps.

The AdChoices Overlay must be clearly visible. Avoid placing ad content near the upper righthand corner where the overlay is applied.

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.

"May truncate after" means text assets that exceed the specified limit may be truncated by DoubleClick or the publisher, provided the truncated text limit will be no less than the stated value.

For example, a “May truncate after” value of 90 for headlines indicates that DoubleClick or the publisher may truncate the text in the column to 90 (or longer). They can also add '...' or another text treatment to indicate when a value has been truncated.

Note that the "May truncate after" limits 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? May truncate after
Video
(for video ads)
The video VAST response containing all necessary assets to play back a video ad. Yes Required NA
Headline Primary headline text (e.g., article title). Yes Required 30 characters
Image
(for non-video ads)
Large, primary image with landscape aspect ratio (1.91:1). Yes Recommended NA
Image
(for video ads)
Image (thumbnail) shown in the player before the video ad is clicked or while it is loading. Should match aspect ratio of video (for example: 1280x720 for 16:9 video, 640x480 for 4:3 video). 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? May truncate after
Video
(for video ads)
The video VAST response containing all necessary assets to play back a video ad. Yes Required NA
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). Yes Recommended NA
Image
(for video ads)
Image (thumbnail) shown in the player before the video ad is clicked or while it is loading. Should match aspect ratio of video (for example: 1280x720 for 16:9 video, 640x480 for 4:3 video). 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 (may display an app download icon instead of button or text) 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

As publishers control the rendering of Native ads for custom rendering, publishers must take care to ensure that the look and feel of Native ads meet Google policy. Here are the high-level guidelines custom rendered Native ads must meet to pass policy review.

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.

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.
  • For non-video ads, publishers may crop the width of the primary image element symmetrically by up to 10%. Cropping by height is not allowed.
  • Video elements (for video ads) must maintain an aspect ratio of 4:3, 16:9, 1:1, 3:4, or 9:16, or as otherwise approved by Google. Outstream video ads must be at least 256 pixels in their longer dimension. For the aspect ratios above, that translates into minimums of 256x192, 256x144, 256x256, 192x256, or 144x256, respectively.

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 the top of the ad.

No clickable white space

The background of the ad must be not clickable (no clickable “white space”). If you use the image element as the background of the ad, the image must be not clickable.

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