Google announces update to Video publisher policy

Google has recently announced an upcoming update to its Video publisher policy, set to take effect on April 1, 2024. This update will impact all video inventory monetized through Google ad code, including AdSense, Ad Manager, and AdMob. The goal of the update is to align Google’s policies with industry standards, such as IAB OpenRTB, and streamline them across various Google products. If you have video inventory and want to see if there will be any impact, make sure to check out the revised policies. Additionally, if your previously disapproved Video Inventory now complies with the updated policies, you can request a review or appeal starting from April 1, 2024.

How the Video publisher policy is changing

Google is planning to update its Video publisher policy on April 1, 2024. These updates will affect all video inventory monetized with Google ad code through AdSense, Ad Manager, and AdMob, in accordance with the Google Publisher Policies.

The purpose of these changes is to streamline policies across various Google products and align them with current industry standards, such as IAB OpenRTB. It is important for publishers to understand and comply with these policy updates to ensure their video inventory remains in compliance and eligible for monetization.

Accurately describe inventory

One of the key requirements in the updated policy is that video inventory must provide declarations with accurate signals. This means that publishers need to accurately declare the audibility of ad placements, whether they are audible by default or muted. For Ad Manager, specific VAST ad tag URL parameters need to be used to provide this information.

Additionally, publishers need to accurately declare the type of ad placement. Video ads serving into video players with video content must be correctly declared as either “In-stream” or “Accompanying Content” placements. “In-stream” refers to ads that are played within the stream of video or audio content, while “Accompanying Content” refers to ads played within the stream of video content accompanying the main content of the user’s visit. It is important to use the appropriate terms and parameters specified in the policy to ensure accurate declaration.

Use supported implementations

The updated policy also requires that in-stream or accompanying content placements use the Google Interactive Media Ads SDK or Google Programmatic Access Library on supported platforms. This means that publishers will need to integrate these supported implementations to monetize their video inventory effectively. It is important to note that partners and publishers cannot use Interactive Media Ads products to monetize YouTube content, as YouTube content must be monetized through the YouTube Partner Program.

For interstitial or standalone placements, publishers must use Google-provided solutions. This means that on the web, Google Publisher Tags should be used, and in-app, the Google Mobile Ads SDK should be used for both Ad Manager and AdMob. It is worth mentioning that the Interactive Media Ads SDK is not allowed for interstitial or standalone placements, except for placements in games.

Protect advertiser value

To protect the value for advertisers, the policy states that video inventory content or controls, including ad content or controls, must not be obstructed, hidden, or non-functional. This ensures that ads are displayed properly and that users have the ability to interact with the content and controls as intended.

Additionally, for in-stream placements, audio ads must not be requested or served in muted placements. This ensures that the audio component of the ad is audible to the user, providing a better advertising experience.

Respect the user

The updated policy includes guidelines to respect the user’s experience. Video inventory may autoplay with sound, but there are specific requirements that need to be met. Only one video inventory, across all placement types, may autoplay with sound at any given time. This ensures that users are not bombarded with multiple autoplaying videos with sound simultaneously.

In addition, the ad must not autoplay until at least 50% of the ad unit is visible. This ensures that the ad has a higher chance of being seen by the user before it starts playing automatically.

Furthermore, video inventory may be sticky, meaning it remains fixed or visible on the screen while the user scrolls or interacts with the content. However, a dismiss option must be presented for the entire duration of the video or ad content, and it must not be hidden, obstructed, or non-functional. This gives users the ability to easily dismiss the sticky video if they choose to do so.

Terminology update

The policy update also includes a terminology update for Ad Manager users. Terms like “instream” or “in-stream” now include both “In-stream” and “Accompanying Content” placements. Ad Manager Video Inventory categorized as “In-stream” or “Accompanying Content” must comply with the corresponding requirements outlined in the policies.

This terminology update aims to provide clarity and ensure consistency in how these placements are categorized and managed within Ad Manager.

What Google is saying

According to a Google spokesperson, “We’re updating our Video Publisher policies to align with new IAB standards around audibility and video placement, which we helped develop.” They also mentioned that they have previously shared with partners their intention to adopt these standards and are now formally updating their policies to reflect the updates.

Google’s adoption of these industry standards underscores their commitment to providing a high-quality advertising environment for both advertisers and publishers.

Deep dive

For a more detailed understanding of the changes in the Video publisher policy, publishers are encouraged to read Google’s current Video publisher policy and compare it with the planned updates that will come into effect next year. This will allow publishers to ensure compliance and prepare for the policy changes well in advance.

In conclusion, Google’s Video publisher policy updates are aimed at aligning with industry standards and providing a better advertising experience for users. It is important for publishers to familiarize themselves with these updates and make any necessary adjustments to their video inventory to maintain compliance and maximize monetization opportunities.

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