Hey, Peter here from NativeAdBuzz!
Hope you’re having a great week – here in the office we’re as busy as ever, and we continue to roll out some BIG changes to the NativeAdBuzz interface!
In today’s post, we’re going to look at publisher guidelines, as part two of our 4-part series on ‘Staying Compliant With Your Native Ads’.
Last week we talked about general best practices for your ads, but today’s going to get a bit more specific.We’re going to look at prohibited content, imagery guidelines, title and headline rules, as well as landing page guidelines.
We’re going to be focusing mainly on guidelines set by Taboola, but most other networks will generally follow very similar rules.
All ad publishing networks have strict rules on what can and can’t be promoted, and while they each have their own varying terms, generally, they share most of the core rules you need to be aware of. We’re going to look at some of the most common forms of prohibited content – remember, this doesn’t just apply to your ad, but also your landing pages as well, so remember this when you’re setting up your campaigns.
Copyright Breaches – EVERY network will include a clause in their terms that warns you about infringing or violating the right of third parties. While slight modifications to headlines or imagery is generally tolerated, using another companies trademark, logo, or other personal or proprietary rights can land you and your business in big legal trouble.
Misleading Content–For your ads to be approved, you’ll need to make sure they’re not false, deceiving, or misleading. This means you can’t make false claims, unrealistic promises, or complete lies.
Illegal Content – This one should go without saying, but your ads must not link to, promote, or condone illegal activity in any form.
Nudity/Porn – While it’s possible to find small, niche-specific ad networks that will run pornographic ads, the big names including Taboola, Revcontent, and Outbrain don’t allow it. It’s important to realize that not every publishing network has the same rules, and your ad may get approved on one site, only to be rejected on another.
Always read the specific terms and conditions before you start promoting, as you’ll want to have a firm grasp on the rules from the start.
Again, while every publishing network will have their own specific rules for imagery, the industry standard rarely differs, and (especially) on the larger networks, you’ll notice they all have very similar guidelines.
First and foremost, the thumbnail images must not contain prohibited content – this is usually self-explanatory, but we’ll look at some examples below.
The following is a snippet from the Taboola ‘Advertiser guidelines’ part on their website. Follow this, and you should be fine with most networks.
- Imagery cannot give the impression of nudity, even if – on close inspection – there is no nudity present…
- Imagery may not show before/after photos
- Offensive language cannot be used
- Imagery must not be overly violent, grotesque, or depict dead bodies or harm to children…
- Images must not contain excessive text, arrows, or other eye-catching ‘gimmicks’…
- Imagery must be of a good quality
It’s easy to get caught up with worrying about how your ads appear, but as a general rule of thumb, if it’s clear, honest, and you’d be happy to show it to your parents, it’s probably OK.
The headline of your ad is equally important as the image, and as such, there are again, some rules you must follow.
Generally, the rules for your headlines is fairly similar to the image guidelines, which includes them not containing any prohibited content, deceptive or false claims, and profanity.
Some of the larger networks require you to use proper punctuation and grammar, although this is almost always judged on a case by case basis – as long as your ad is readable, and not just a collection of random words, you should be fine.
Another key point to remember is that your titles cannot be in all capitals.
You will also see that most major publishers are very hot on the punctuation used within the headline.
For example, ‘Weird Trick To Lose Weight Exposed!’ is acceptable, but ‘Weird Trick To Lose Weight Explained!!!!!!!’ isn’t.
Here’s some more details from the Taboola guidelines page:
- Titles should be properly written in the appropriate language for the territory that is targeted.
- For campaigns that link to a landing page that promotes a product or service, titles may not use the name of any celebrity or other real person without all necessary permissions.
- Titles should not make any specific weight loss, money-making, or money-saving claims.
Many marketers make the mistake of thinking their landing pages aren’t monitored by native ad networks.
This is simply untrue, and you should ALWAYS make sure your landers follow the publisher guidelines.
Big networks use both automated software and humans to check landing pages, and if you don’t adhere to the rules, the ‘Native Ad Police’ WILL catch you.
Your landing pages must NOT contain (or link to) any prohibited content. This includes promotion to prohibited content.
Landing pages shouldn’t contain excessive profanity or offensive language. While the ‘excessive profanity’ clause can lead some marketers into confusion, the general rule of thumb is to avoid swearing or foul language. Racist, homophobic, or hate language is of course, not allowed on any network.
Your landing pages should be optimized as much as possible for a high user experience. While you don’t have to spend hours tidying up every piece of code, or making sure it’s looks 100%, make sure the links work, it’s not crammed full of text, and your viewers can click OFF the page without being bombarded with hundreds of pop ups.
The Occasional Pop Up Is Fine, But More Than One And You May Run Into Problems
One of the things that catches a lot of marketers out, is that landing pages must have hyperlinks accurately labelled – this means you can’t trick users into clicking your links by hiding them – they need to appear as links.
It’s easy to get caught up worrying about the rules and regulations specific networks put in place.
As long as you use a degree of common-sense you’ll rarely run into any problems, but it’s worth making yourself aware of the rules so you don’t fall foul of them.
Below you’ll find links to guidelines from Taboola, Outbrain, and Revcontent.
In the next post we’re going to cover LEGAL requirements. These differ from the publisher guidelines in that certain advertising techniques may be perfectly legal in one country, while criminalized in another.
For this reason, it’s important you’re aware of the laws in YOUR country, and we’ll be covering this next Monday, so make sure to stay tuned!
Remember, if you want to get access to thousands of Native Ads (and detailed analysis about each ad) you can check out the NativeAdBuzz dashboard here .