Criteria

To ensure transparency and fairness, the following rules have and will always apply to everyone without exceptions:

  • Participants cannot pay to avoid the criteria. Every ad has to comply with the criteria.
  • For transparency reasons, we add all Acceptable Ads to our forum to provide our community with the opportunity to submit feedback. We greatly value feedback and read all comments.
  • Adblock Plus users are valuable to us and we listen to them. If, for valid reasons, any Acceptable Ads proposal is rejected by our community, the ad(s) will be removed from our whitelist.

We are able to keep our open source product free by charging large entities a fee for whitelisting services. For the other 90% of our partners, these services are offered free of charge.

Placement

Acceptable ads 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. 1


  1. The 'Primary Content' is defined as (based on Mozilla's description of the <main> HTML element): The Primary Content consists of content that is directly related to, or expands upon the central topic of a document or the central functionality of an application. This content should be unique to the document, excluding any content that is repeated across a set of documents such as sidebars, navigation links, copyright information, site logos, and search forms (unless, of course, the document's main function is a search form). 

Distinction

Acceptable ads criteria label

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.

Size

Acceptable ads criteria percentage

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 1366x768 for desktop, 360x640 for mobile devices and 768x1024 for tablets. 1 2 3

All ads that are placed above the fold (the portion of the webpage 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.


  1. The 'common screen size' for desktop is 1366x768, based on data from StatCounter

  2. The 'common screen size' for mobile is 360x640, based on data from StatCounter

  3. The 'common screen size' for tablets is 768x1024, based on data from StatCounter

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 Ads

Placement requirements
  • Static ad types (e.g. 6x1 banner and 1x1 tile ad) are allowed to be placed anywhere on the mobile page.
  • Small ads (6x1 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. 1 2
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. 3
  • 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. 4
Animations

Animations are allowed for the 6x1 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. 5

Other Acceptable Ads formats?

Are your ads displayed on alternative screens, or are you convinced that you have an innovative Acceptable Ads format which doesn't fit the ads outlined above? Let us know!


  1. Large ad: any ad >300px height 

  2. The 'Primary Content' is defined as (based on Mozilla's description of the <main> HTML element): The Primary Content consists of content that is directly related to, or expands upon the central topic of a document or the central functionality of an application. This content should be unique to the document, excluding any content that is repeated across a set of documents such as sidebars, navigation links, copyright information, site logos, and search forms (unless, of course, the document's main function is a search form). 

  3. The visible portion of the webpage is defined as a standard CSS pixel size of 360x512px (Samsung Galaxy S7 with the SBrowser), which is based on the standard viewport of 360x640px, but with the OS- and browser UI elements deducted. 

  4. This means that users can scroll past the primary content and an ad unit served after it can take up the whole screen; but following this ad unit, additional ads cannot be implemented. 

  5. From: IAB New Standard Ad Unit Portfolio (2017).pdf 

What is not considered an Acceptable Ad?

The following types of ads are currently unacceptable, and cannot be considered for inclusion on the whitelist: 1

  • Ads that visibly load new ads if the Primary Content does not change
  • Ads with excessive or non user-initiated hover effects
  • Animated ads 2
  • Autoplay-sound or video ads
  • Expanding ads
  • Generally oversized image ads
  • Interstitial page ads
  • Overlay ads
  • Overlay in-video ads
  • Pop-ups
  • Pop-unders
  • Pre-roll video ads
  • Rich media ads (e.g. Flash ads, Shockwave ads, etc.)

  1. Except when the user intentionally interacts with the ad (e.g. clicks on the ad to see a video ad playing). 

  2. With one exception, please see 06 Mobile Ads