Mobile ad experiences

The definitions below describe mobile ad experiences that research shows are likely to annoy your visitors. They should be avoided in order to retain your audience and reduce the likelihood that they'll install ad blockers.

In addition to mobile phones, this standard applies to devices that render mobile-optimized pages by default, such as tablets and Kindles.

We review all content on your site, regardless of whether or not it’s served from your domain. For example, content loaded into an iframe or video player on your site is considered to be part of your site.

When we review ad experiences, we make a determination based on an interpretation of the Better Ads Standards.

Pop-up Ad and Prestitial Ad

Pop-up ads appear on top of the main page after it has loaded, and block the viewing of content. Prestitial ads appear before the content of the page has loaded, can vary in size from full-screen to part of the screen, and prevent users from getting to the main content. Neither pop-ups nor prestitial ads are locked to be flush with any side of the screen.

Included in our interpretation

  • Ads that appear only when a video is paused.


  • For interactive content (videos or games): Pop-ups that are in the lower half of the player and take up a quarter or less of the player’s vertical height are not considered to be part of this ad experience.
  • Coalition for Better Ads pop-up advisory, September 15, 2017:

    Interpretation of the Initial Better Ads Standards - Advisory

    September 15, 2017

    As the recently-released initial Better Ads Standards are reviewed and implemented in the
    marketplace, matters of interpretation of the Standards may arise. Until such time as the
    Coalition finalizes an overall framework for interpretation of the Standards generally, or for
    resolution of contested interpretations of a particular Standard, the Coalition may determine that
    certain types of ad experiences are sufficiently unclear as to the tested ad experience to which
    they are associated and therefore are considered in contention.

    In connection with the initial Better Ads Standard for Pop-up Ads (desktop or mobile web), two
    types of ad experiences have been brought to the Coalition’s attention:

    (1) Ads appearing in images or interactive content (videos or games) and that take up 30% or
    less of the image or interactive content; and

    (2) Exit pop up ads that occur after a user has ceased active engagement with content, and
    which occur (a) when the user starts to leave the page (without interfering with the user’s
    departure); (b) if the user has been inactive or idle for more than 30 seconds on a page
    that does not contain video content; (c) once the user has reached the end of the first
    article on a page; or (d) if a user purposely navigates to another tab and then returns to the
    open page.

    The Coalition determines that these two types of ad experiences are in contention, and are
    therefore not presently included under the Better Ads Standard for Pop-up Ads (desktop or
    mobile web). It is anticipated that these ad experiences will be submitted for evaluation.

    View source (PDF)

Ad Density Higher than 30%

When ads on a mobile page take up more than 30% of the vertical height of the main content portion of the page, the result is a disruptive ad experience, regardless of whether these ads are text, video, or static images. This includes “sticky” ads and inline ads.

The Better Ads Standard does not include video ads that appear before (“pre-roll”) or during (“mid-roll”) video content that is relevant to the content of the page itself.

Included in our interpretation:

  • The density calculation applies to the fully expanded article or content of a page.
  • The content portion of the page excludes site headers, footers, content recommendations (e.g., “related articles” sections), and user comments.
  • Ads include either external content recommendations or mixed (i.e.,  internal and external) content recommendations. If a module links to a page on your own site, and the presence of the link is not paid for, then it is not included in the ad density calculation.
Flashing Animated Ad

Flashing animated ads animate and “flash” with rapidly changing background and colors.

The Better Ads Standard does not include animations that do not “flash.” 

Autoplaying Video Ad with Sound

Auto-playing video ads with sound automatically play with sound, without any user interaction. 

The Better Ads Standard does not include video ads that appear before (“pre-roll”) or during (“mid-roll”) video content that is relevant to the content of the page itself, nor ads that require the user to interact with the video to activate sound.  

Postitial Ad with Countdown

Postitial ads with countdown timers appear after the user follows a link. These ads force the user to wait a number of seconds before they can dismiss the ad, or for the ad to close or redirect them to another page. 

Postitial ads with countdowns that can be dismissed immediately are not included in the Better Ads Standard.  

Full Screen Scrollover Ad

Full screen scrollover ads force a user to scroll through an ad at a different speed than the underlying content. These ads take up more than 30% of the page and float on top of the page’s main content, obstructing it from view.

Large Sticky Ad

Large sticky ads stick to a side of a mobile page, regardless of a user’s efforts to scroll. As the user browses the page, this static, immobile sticky ad takes up more than 30% of the screen's real estate.

Large Video Display Ad

Large non-linear ad experiences are defined as static or animated ad messages and/or images that are superimposed over more than 20% of the video player, or that appear in the middle third of the video player.

These experiences interfere with consumers’ ability to watch the selected video content.

Static messages and images that are smaller than 20% of the video player and are positioned outside of the middle third of the viewing window are far less intrusive on the user experience.

Long Video Pre-roll Ads That Can’t Be Skipped

A pre-roll ad is a video ad experience that plays before the video content. Consumers find pre-roll ad experiences over 31 seconds that can’t be skipped within the first 5 seconds intrusive.

These experiences lead directly to ad avoidance tactics.

Video Mid-roll Ad
A mid-roll ad is a video ad experience that plays in the middle of a selected video, interrupting the content. Mid-rolls come in many varieties and durations, but all are deemed extremely annoying and interruptive by consumers.

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