Understanding Google Play's Better Ads Experiences policy

In our upcoming Better Ads Experiences policy, we’ve added some guidelines around unexpected interstitial ads while using Google Play apps. By complying with these standards, inspired by the Coalition for Better Ads(CBA), we aim to improve the in-app experience for all users.

We've aggregated the most commonly asked questions about the Better Ads Experiences policy below. You can click on a question to expand or collapse it.

Frequently asked questions

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Why is Google Play launching this policy?

Unexpected ads hurt the user experience and dilute user trust in the ecosystem, and we want to ensure high quality experiences for users when they use Google Play apps. By setting standards for the unexpected ads experiences for users while using their apps, we aim to improve the user’s overall in-app experience.

What is considered a violation of this policy?

The policy principle of the Better Ads Experiences is to prevent unexpected full screen interstitials, typically when the user has chosen to do something else. Unexpected usually means that users are in the middle of doing something or that users clicked on a button expecting to start their user journey, rather than see an ad.

What does "unexpected" mean?

The CBA has given some examples of how ads, positioned in a certain way, are considered unexpected. We’ve also listed these examples in our policy to help give developers more clarity. A couple examples are ads that appear at the beginning of a game level or ads that appear at the beginning of a content segment.

You may want to consider placing ads where users would expect to see them. Industry research indicates that users may expect to see ads at the end of a game level or content segment, or when an ad allows users to continue engaging with their in-app experience such as through integrated or non-full screen ads.

Where can I show interstitial ads?

You can show interstitial ads at natural breaks in transition, such as at the end of the game level or content section, as long as it complies with Google Play’s Ads policy. Examples of the end of game levels and content sections may include the break after the score screen in a gaming app or the end of a chapter in an audiobook.

Where can I show interstitial ads in apps that don't have levels, such as puzzles, idle games or long level games?

You know your app best, and you are best positioned to implement ads that do not interfere with the user experience. If your game does not have natural breaks, we expect you to exercise good judgment from a UX perspective in showing interstitial ads in a way that does not interfere with the user's in-app experience. 

Additionally, you can also continue to use rewarded ads and integrated or non-full screen ads that do not interfere with normal app use or game play (for example, video content with integrated, non-full screen banner ads) as long as it complies with Google Play’s Ads policy.

What is a rewarded ad? Are rewarded ads included?

Rewarded ads provide an opportunity for users to watch a video or engage with a playable ad in exchange for a reward within the app. They may present through an ad prompt, an opt-in choice, an ad reward, or similar. When users explicitly express that they want to engage with an ad, there is no concern with unexpectedness and this policy does not apply. 

Examples may include an ad that a game app explicitly offers the user to watch in exchange for unlocking a specific game feature or a piece of content. Since users have explicitly opted in to rewarded ad experience, these ads are allowed as long as they follow all of our Developer Program Policies.

What if my SDK provider violates the policy?

All app developers are responsible for the code in their apps, including from third-party SDKs and libraries. You can update your app placement and format within your app code, configure ads SDK settings, or consult your ads SDK provider on the best ways to comply.

Is a splash screen the same as an app loading page?

A splash screen is an introductory screen that appears while your application loads in the background. You may see the company logo accompanied by some text or more imagery that enhances a user’s first impression. However, please note that not all apps have a splash screen and can simply load the home page when clicked open.

Examples of splash screens:

 

Is my ad allowed after a splash screen?

As long as it complies with Google Play’s Ads policy, you can show a static interstitial ad after your app has loaded. If your app does not have a splash screen, wait for your app home screen to load before showing ads.

Where can I learn more about the CBA?

For more information on Better Ads Standards, refer to the Coalition of for Better Ads.

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