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10 mobile advertising practices that can land you in a pickle

Building and scaling an app involves a lot of challenges - choosing the right publishing forum, marketing the app, increasing the users, and many more complexities. Adding to this are policy violations that can result in your app being taken down from the app stores. The ads you show must adhere to certain ad policies, which, if not done, lead to critical policy violations. Like they say, you reap what you s(h)ow (pun intended).

So here’s a complete list of all the mobile ad practices that could get your app a bad remark.

1. Ads covering most of the screen

These ads take up most of the screen space, leaving little room for the actual app content and no obvious way to dismiss them. Ideally, the ads must not cover more than 40% of the app screen. Here’s an example:

In contrast to the challenges, we provided solutions that helped CricFlix improve its user base, Daily Active Users (DAU), app store ranking, and ad revenue. Let’s see how.

Image showing ads that cover most of the screen

2. Ads disguised as app content

There could be two types of violations here.

  • Ads that may seem like app content.
  • Buttons or ads that promote your other Google Play Store listings but are indistinguishable from app content.

In the example below, the app content is disguised as an ad for another app listing, which is a big no.

Image showing ads disguised as app content

3. Ads overlapping the app content

It’s a bad practice to have ads that overlap the app content. For instance,

  • Ads floating or hovering over the buttons in the app or other content.
  • Banner ads popping up or placed over the content of a scrolling menu.
Image showing ads that are overlapping the app content

4. Disruptive ads

Disruptive ads are those that are displayed abruptly, resulting in inadvertent clicks. They could also cause impairing or interference with the usability of the device functions. Here are a few examples:

  • Ads that interfere with the normal use and do not provide a clear dismiss button.
  • Ads that force the user to click using a false dismiss button.
  • Ads that suddenly appear in the areas of the app where the user usually taps for another function.

5. Mislabeled ads

Ads that are placed under misleading headers are termed mislabeled ads. This can happen in two ways:

  • Text that could be mistaken for regular help links but is an ad in reality. For example, labels reading ‘Helpful links’ instead of ‘Sponsored links’.
  • Labels that lead the users to click an ad. For example, ‘Do your part by clicking an ad’, ‘Click this ad’.
Image showing mislabeled ads

6. Modified ad code

This is a policy violation specific to Google Ads where it is unalllowed to alter the Google Ads behavior in any way. Modified ad code may involve behavior such as resized ad frames to chop off a part of the ad, content shifts, expanded placements, etc.

Image depicting modified ad code behavior

7. More ads than app content

Users install your app for a purpose, and the purpose is destroyed if you try to integrate more ads than the actual content. For example, having multiple start or exit screens only to place ads could be a serious policy violation.

Policy violation where there are more ads than app content

8. Multiple ads on a single screen

It is not recommended for mobile apps to show multiple banners or video ads on the same screen at the same time. Additionally, mobile ads cannot promote multiple offers in a single placement.

Policy violation where there are multiple ads on a single screen

9. Recurring and unexpected interstitials

Since interstitial ads are displayed in full screen, playing them abruptly can hamper the user experience. For instance, consider a gaming app. Playing interstitial ads in the middle of a game interrupts the user’s gaming experience. Furthermore, you must avoid having recurring interstitials. For example, users may find it annoying to see an ad between every screen navigation.

A little self-plug: With our ad revenue optimization platform - SDK X, you don’t have to worry about ads hampering the user experience. SDK X is enabled with the Smart Refresh feature, using which the platform automatically finds the right refresh value for each ad unit.

10. Unnatural attention to ads

This violation includes implementations such as placing borders around ads, adding flashy animations, or having arrows pointing to the ads. Similar practices to grab the users’ attention to the ads lead to a policy violation.

Policy violation with unnatural attention to ads

If you violate any of the policies mentioned above, ad serving is restricted for your account. You may get a limited number of ads, and in some cases, your account may even be suspended.

Now that you know what you shouldn’t be doing with ads, here are a few things that you can do to avoid policy violations and improve the user experience.

  • Avoid placing two banner ads on a single screen.
  • Have a clear dismiss button on the ads.
  • Mute auto-playing ads by default.
  • Have skippable video ads with the Skip option appearing not more than 5 seconds later.
  • Label ads appropriately so they can be identified.
  • Test ad formats before taking them live.
  • Avoid having bot traffic interact with your ads.
  • Have a clear distinction between ads and app content. For example, the ad and app content should be in different colors.
  • Stay updated about ad policy changes.
  • Consult experts who can help you avoid ad policy violations. GreedyGame’s ad experts analyze your app to identify possible violations and suggest suitable changes.
QA-Ticket for policy violation
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GreedyGame Media Private Limited,
4th Floor, No.04, Zed Pentagon,
Hosur Main Road, Bommanahalli,
Bengaluru 560068 Karnataka
GreedyGame Media Private Limited,
4th Floor, No.04, Zed Pentagon,
Hosur Main Road, Bommanahalli,
Bengaluru 560068 Karnataka