What are Acceptable Ads, and how do they help publishers?

Last Updated September 26, 2019

Acceptable Ads are ads that aren’t intrusive or annoying. They are respectful, don’t interfere with content, and are clearly labeled with the word “advertisement” or its equivalent. In order for an ad to be an “Acceptable Ad”, it must adhere to standards that have been set forth by the Acceptable Ads Committee.

Most ads are not Acceptable Ads

It’s a huge effort to filter Acceptable Ads at scale, and offer curated demand. Sovrn is rare in that our entire network has been whitelisted by Acceptable Ads. Publishers wishing to recover revenue lost to ad blockers can easily integrate with the program by signing up for our //Unblock solution.

Ads that abide by Acceptable Ads standards are placed on a whitelist. The ads on the whitelist are then shown to ad-blocking users who allow Acceptable Ads.

Most websites use advertising to make money, meaning that you can see these websites for free. However, many websites use too many annoying or intrusive ads to get your attention. Adblock Plus lets you choose to block ads, but we don’t believe websites should be punished.

What are Acceptable Ads without third-party tracking?

Acceptable Ads without third-party tracking are ads that comply with the Acceptable Ads criteria and that do not allow third-party entities to track any of your browsing behavior. These are ads that comply with Do Not Track, and/or ads which are served by the domain which is wholly owned by the same company.

What is the Acceptable Ads Committee?

In 2017, eyeo/Adblock Plus transferred governance of the Acceptable Ads initiative to an independent group, the Acceptable Ads Committee. The Acceptable Ads Committee consists of interested parties from for-profit companies, industry experts and Internet users like you.

Acceptable Ads criteria

Acceptable Ads, as defined by the Acceptable Ads Committee, have to comply with the following criteria:

Desktop criteria

Placement

Ads must not disrupt the user’s natural reading flow. Such ads must be placed on top, side or below the Primary Content.

Acceptable ads criteria placement

Distinction

Ads should always be recognizable as ads, and distinguishable from all other content (e.g. are not hiding the label, are not misleading users into thinking an ad is part of the primary content). Ads should be clearly marked with the word “advertisement” or its equivalent.

Acceptable ads criteria label

Size

Individual ad-size requirements depend on the placement of the ad:

  • When placed above the primary content, the maximum height of an ad should be 200px.
  • When placed on the side of the primary content, the maximum width of an ad should be 350px.
  • When placed below the primary content, the maximum height of an ad should be 400px.

Ads must always leave sufficient space for the Primary Content on the common screen size of 1366×768 for desktop, 360×640 for mobile devices and 768×1024 for tablets.

All ads that are placed above the fold (the portion of the web page visible in the browser window when the page first loads under the common screen size), must not occupy in total more than 15 percent of the visible portion of the web page. If placed below the fold, ads must not occupy in total more than 25 percent of the visible portion of the webpage.

Acceptable ads criteria percentage

Specific criteria

Text ads

Text ads designed with excessive use of colors and/or other elements to grab attention are not permitted.

Image ads

Static image ads may qualify as acceptable, according to an evaluation of their unobtrusiveness based on their integration on the webpage.

In-feed ads

For ads in lists and feeds, the general criteria differ depending on:

  • Placement requirements
    Ads are permitted in between entries and feeds.
  • Size requirements
    In-feed ads are permitted to take up more space, as long as they are not substantially larger than other elements in the list or feed.
Search ads

For search ads—ads displayed following a user-initiated search query—the criteria differ depending on:

  • Size requirements
    Search ads are permitted to be larger and take up additional screen space.
Ads on pages with no primary content

Only text ads are allowed. For webpages without any primary content (e.g. error or parking pages), the criteria differ depending on:

  • Placement requirements
    No placement limitations.
  • Size requirements
    No size limitations.

Mobile criteria

Placement Requirements
  • Static ad types (e.g. 6×1 banner and 1×1 tile ad) are allowed to be placed anywhere on the mobile page
  • Small ads (6×1 banner or smaller) are allowed to be placed as a sticky ad on the bottom of the screen. Other formats are not allowed to stick.
  • Large ad types (e.g. native tile ads) are only allowed to be placed under the Primary Content.
Size Requirements

Ads showing on mobile screens are bound to the following size restrictions:

  • Ads implemented on the scrollable portion of the webpage must not occupy in total more than 50 percent of the visible portion of the webpage.
  • Ads implemented as a ‘sticky ad’ have a maximum height restriction of 75px (or 15%).
  • Below the Primary Content, ads are limited to 100% of the screen space.
Animations

Animations are allowed for the 6×1 ad type when placed as a ‘sticky’ ad on the bottom of the screen. Animations have to comply with the LEAN standard for animations, and a close button or some other closing mechanism must be included.

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