Which Interstitial Ads Placements are Allowed? New Insights on Google Policy Changes
Wondering how to use Interstitial ads and be compliant with Google's new policy update? We're setting the record straight.
Božo Janković

Last month, Google updated its policy guidelines to ensure a more enjoyable mobile gaming experience. However, some of these policies seemed particularly worrying for developers.

The policies related to new rules and limitations regarding interstitial ads and how and when they are triggered were especially concerning.

Developers who generate a significant portion of their revenue via interstitial ads were particularly concerned. All hyper-casual game developers certainly fall into this category, but other game developers are not exempt either.

What Caused The Concern?

Referring to the Coalition of Better Ads' Better Ad Standards, Google listed some common interstitial ads example placements that clearly violated this code.

However, some of their guidelines were unclear and not detailed enough. While they provided examples of what you cannot do, there were no interstitial ad examples showing a proper interstitial ad placement.

This had many app and game developers wondering whether their current interstitial ad placement implementations were in violation of these policies or not.

The policy is so broadly written that it got developers worried even about the most common interstitial ad implementations.

For example:

· After the level. The user finishes an activity (for example, completes a level). The user then goes through the Results screen and then presses the “Next,” “Continue,” or “x” button to move on from that screen.

· Before the level. The user presses a button that opens a new activity (for example, press “Play” to start a match). Can you show interstitial ads and then show the match?

· Changing scenes. Let's say the user moves from one section of the game to another, when they click on the section where they want to move, this is when the developer shows an interstitial ad.

What We Learned About New Interstitial Ads Policies

During the Developer Policy Updates webinar, Google answered some of the most common questions regarding the new policies and Interstitial ad placements.

We’ll cover the examples shown and whether they are compliant with the new interstitial ads policies or not.

After The Level

This case was the one developers were the least worried about because even per Google’s initial announcement, which you can read more about in our previous article on interstitial ads, it was pretty clear that this implementation is compliant.

In this Webinar, Google explicitly confirms that there is no issue with showing an interstitial ad as described in the first point. During the webinar, Google also mentioned that showing an interstitial ad after the content segment (after level can be interpreted as a sub-category) is also fully compliant.

Verdict: Compliant

Before The Level

This implementation has caused the most discussions in the industry. We’ve seen a lot of commentary from developers suspecting that Google will not allow this implementation.

However, it seems the interstitial ad implementation will be allowed on one condition. That condition is that if the ad starts before the actual level starts.

At least, this is the unofficial information provided.

Officially, during the webinar, Google representatives said that compliance will be judged from game to game. They clarified that compliance will depend on exact implementation.

Verdict: Depends

Changing scenes

Google hasn’t commented on this implementation in the webinar itself or elsewhere. We are still waiting on guidelines regarding this one.

Verdict: Unknown

Apart from the most common implementations, we listed above, Google commented on other common interstitial ad implementations. We are listing them all below.

Start Of The App

The app or game shows an interstitial ad immediately after the user starts the app.

Verdict: Non-Compliant

Bonus tip: If you have this kind of implementation, we recommend replacing it with an app-open ad by AdMob.

This implementation would be compliant because app open ads take over only 80% of the screen.

If you need some help implementing this relatively new ad format or need some insights before you start the implementation, feel free to reach out to our team.

Splash Screen

During the loading process, some apps may display a splash screen rather than taking users directly to the home screen. The splash screen may include text, images, or the company logo.

As long as a static interstitial ad complies with Google Play's Ads policy, it can be shown after the app has loaded. Wait until the home screen has loaded before showing any ads if your app does not feature a splash screen.

Verdict: Compliant

Playing an Interstitial Ad During the Level

The user has started playing the level, and an interstitial ad appears in the middle of the gameplay.

Verdict: Non-Compliant

Going Back To The Home Screen

The player chooses to go back to the home screen after doing something else in the navigation menu.

Verdict: Compliant

How Can You Apply This to Your Game or App?

The general advice Google representatives were able to give is to move all interstitial ads to the end of the level.

The deadline for developers to comply with these new Interstitial ads policies is September 30th.

During the webinar, Google representatives said that there will be an option to submit an app for a compliance check to the Google team. However, they didn’t specify whether that would be before you actually submit your app for the official review.

Overall, these clarifications should help developers create a better experience for their users. At the same time, they should still be able to monetize their games effectively.

If you need help understanding if your implementation is compliant or need help with aligning yourself with the new Google interstitial ads policy, we are here to help!

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