The high CPMs and opportunity to increase inventory mean that Video advertising is a central part of many website publishers monetization strategies. Whilst the rewards can be solid, there are risks too. Google policy around video advertising is necessarily strict and there are common pitfalls that can cause policy issues for unsuspecting publishers. Below are some of the common policy violations that we see around Google video ads. Avoiding these is a great step to ensuring your account remains in good standing and that you attract top advertisers.
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Showing in-stream video ads out-stream
Most Google video ads are sold as in-stream video ads. That is to say that the advert is sold as playing before, during or after some other video content. In-stream video ads are comparable to standard broadcast TV advertising: Viewers tune in for the content but see an advert in that content stream. Out-stream ads, by contrast, are ads that are played outside the stream of other content. This usually means that they appear in an ad unit or player that only contains adverting, not other content. This is more analogous to tuning into a shopping channel where all the “content” is advertising.
Both in-stream and out-stream are legitimate formats, but it is important that advertisers are only served into the format that they paid for. For this reason, it is against policy to sell video ad inventory as in-stream if it is not part of a video content stream. In Google terms, that means that standard video ads are for in-stream use only.
Video player not being the main page content
Video ads that are sold as in-stream should be placed before, after or during video content that is the main attraction of the page, similar to the YouTube experience. The video player must be the main element of the page and not placed in the sidebar or banner.
Overloading the page with video ads
When monetizing with video ads, similar to display ads, it is against Google’s policies to overload the user with video ads. This means that at any given time, no more that one video ad placement may play at once. Additionally, the length of the video ad must be less than the length of the publishers’ video content.
Using sticky video ads that don’t start within the content
Sticky video ads remain in the user’s viewport as they scroll up and down the page. When implementing them on-page, sticky video ads must initially begin in in-page video players that are not sticky. Once a user has scrolled past the video player and it is no longer in the viewport, the video can then transition into a sticky video player and anchor to a specific location where it will remain in-view to the user as they navigate the page. To close the sticky video ad, the dismissal feature must be clearly visible without users needing to interact with the video.
Autoplaying video ads below-the-fold
Below-the-fold refers to the portion of the page that is only visible when the user scrolls down. If video ads are placed below-the-fold, they must not auto-play without the user actioning until they are in-view. When viewing on desktop, ads must not autoplay until at least 50% of the ad unit is visible on a 1024×768 viewport. When viewing from a mobile device, video ads can only autoplay when at least 50% of the ad unit is visible on a 360×600 viewport.
Muting ads without declaring it
According to Google, an ad is audible when the audio level greater than or equal to 10% at some point during the ad playback. Video ads must be audible and cannot be muted by default without declaring to Google that the placement is muted. This is because video ads are more engaging with sound.
As a publisher, it is important to ensure that you are knowledgeable when it comes to Google policies so that you can avoid making these mistakes when monetizing your website with video ads and prevent Google from disabling or suspending your ad serving.