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Creative Approval & Policy
Creative Approval & Policy

What is the approval process for ads and creatives? What advertiser categories and creative types are prohibited?

Mike Hauptman avatar
Written by Mike Hauptman
Updated over a week ago

The Creative Approval Process

Creatives that are submitted to AdLib will be marked as 'Under Review' until they complete the scanning and approval process. 

Please Note:

  • Accounts must have a connected and active payment method in order for creatives to be eligible for review

  • Creatives must be assigned to a live campaign in order to complete the review process

  • For new advertisers and 3rd party ad tags, this process may take 72 hours or more.

  • For existing advertisers with AdLib served ads, this process typically takes less than 24 hours.

This process includes:

  • Malware Scanning

  • Landing Page Scanning

  • Prohibited Category Audit (rotating advertisers, reselling, drugs, nudity)

  • Technical validation (Creative does not serve blank, does not click to a broken page, etc) 

  • Content classification (industry, advertiser, appropriate imagery, etc).

Prohibited & Regulated Categories

The following categories of Creatives are prohibited and/or highly regulated when using AdLib and may be rejected. “Creatives” refers to ad units, landing pages, and/or any other content related to or used in connection with the serving of Creatives using the Services. Many of these guidelines are industry-wide; none are unique to AdLib or its partners. 

Ad Fraud: Creatives associated with any activity designed to sell advertising under fraudulent pretenses, including but not limited to non-human traffic, tag hijacking, hidden Creative, domain spoofing, cookie stuffing, generating fake impressions or clicks, misrepresenting advertiser characteristics (such as the landing page URL, advertiser vertical, etc.), reselling of Creative under false pretenses, (e.g.,misrepresenting the publisher or the type of ad unit), etc. 

Adult: Creative that depicts, contains, or provides access to pornography, nudity, obscenity, and other adult or risqué material are prohibited. Ads for sex-related products and services and male enhancement products are included in this category.

Alcohol: Campaigns and/or creatives that promote alcohol or alcoholic beverages are restricted by region and may only be targeted to users that (i) reside in a jurisdiction where alcohol advertising is permitted, and (ii) are of the legal age to purchase alcohol within that jurisdiction. Alcohol-related Creative

  • Must not be designed, or appear to be designed, to appeal to underage purchasers.

  • Must not show or encourage heavy or excessive drinking

  • Must not promote alcohol as a mood enhancer, therapeutic solution, or contributor to success

  • Must not show alcohol being consumed during an activity that requires safety precautions (such as driving or operating heavy machinery)

Auto-audio: Creatives that automatically initiates audio without the user’s explicit engagement or action. 

Auto-downloads: Creatives that contains, or provides access to any files that execute or download software without intentional user interaction. Clicking on an ad must also not initiate a download of any type of file. 

Auto-redirects: Creatives that automatically redirects a user to other sites or applications, without the user’s explicit engagement or action. 

Deceptive or Misleading: Creatives that attempts to trick or deceive a user into taking some action (e.g., “clickbait” Ads, Creatives that resemble user interface elements, Creatives that displays fake errors or warnings, such as warnings about viruses, missing codecs, or corrupt disks, etc.) or markets false or unrealistic promises such as extreme weight loss, anti-aging, get rich quick, etc. 

Defamation: Creative that depicts, contains, or provides access to material that is damaging to the reputation of another. 

Delayed Load: Creative consistently taking more than two seconds to initiate the user ad experience.

Downloads:  Where Creatives link directly or indirectly to a site that contain software, the software must:

  • Not contain malware;

  • Provide the user with clear and conspicuous notice about all material functionality;

  • Obtain informed consent from the user prior to download or installation;

  • Provide an easy-to-use uninstall to the user; and

  • Allow the user to maintain control over his or her computing environment. 

Government Forms or Services: Creative that depicts, contains, or provides access to offers that charge for government forms or services that are available for a lesser charge or free from the government. 

Hate Speech: Creative that depicts, contains, or provides access to content that incites violence or prejudicial action towards a protected individual or group; or content that disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group. 

Illegal: Creative that is, or that AdLib reasonably believes is, likely to be in violation of any applicable law, regulation or court order. 

Illegal Drugs: Creative featuring or promoting the sale of illegal drugs, pharmaceuticals, or drug paraphernalia. As marijuana remains illegal under United States federal law, this Ad Policy prohibits Creative featuring or promoting the sale of marijuana even in those states where marijuana use is permitted under state law. 

Implied Knowledge: Creative that implies knowledge of personally identifiable information or any of the following sensitive characteristics about the user to whom the Creative was targeted. 

  • Adult activities (including alcohol, gambling, adult dating, etc.)

  • Commission or alleged commission of any crime

  • Divorce or marital separation

  • Health or medical information

  • Negative financial status or situation

  • Political affiliation (other than the public registration information of United States voters)

  • Precise location of the user at that moment or at any time in the past

  • Racial or ethnic information

  • Religion or religious belief

  • Sexual behavior or orientation

  • Status as a child (“Child") under the age defined in that jurisdiction. For example, in the US, Children are defined by COPPA as those under the age of 13.

  • Trade union membership or affiliation

For example, an Ad may not state “Are you suffering from chronic pain?" because this implies knowledge of the user’s condition. An Ad stating “Learn about Chronic Pain Relief” would be allowed. Similarly, an Ad for coffee may be delivered when a consumer is near a coffee shop, but the Ad may not state “Coffee is just a few steps away” because this implies knowledge of the user’s precise location at that moment. 

Interferes with User Navigation: Creative that disrupts the user’s ability to navigate their experience, e.g., by preventing a user from leaving a page by opening modal dialogs or pop-up windows. 

Interferes with Another Party’s Content: Creative that obscures, replaces, or modifies another party’s ads or content. 

Invalid or Improper Classification: Creative that is improperly classified with respect to its characteristics, including:

  • Improper classification of Creative that cycles through multiple advertisers

  • Improper classification of Creative running in-banner video (i.e., video ads running within standard display units)

  • Improper classification of a Creative’s landing pageURL

  • Improper classification of Creative that auto-plays (i.e., Ads that initiates video play without the user’s explicit engagement or action)

  • Improper classification of Creative action, such as expandable or pop-up action

  • Improper classification of Creative descriptors, such as the advertiser vertical, language, etc. 

Lost Video Impression Opportunities: Video ads where an auction is won but the impression does not serve / ad does not load (e.g., because the VAST is blank or the ad server opts out after winning the impression). 

Malware: Creative that contains, installs, links to, or prompts the download of any malware, Trojan horse, virus, or any other malicious code. 

Morally Reprehensible: Creative that AdLib reasonably deems to be morally reprehensible or patently offensive, and without redeeming social value. 

Personal Information: Creative that requests or collects personally identifiable information (PII) from a user such as their name, email address, phone number, or postal address.

Phishing: Creative designed to obtain information from a user under false pretenses (e.g., attempting to extract financial information by posing as a legitimate company, etc.). 

Piracy: Creative that AdLib reasonably believes (a) contains content that does, or is likely to, infringe or misappropriate a copyright, trademark, trade secret, or patent of a third party or (b) promotes or induces infringement or misappropriation of a copyright, trademark, trade secret, or patent of a third party. 

Pornography: Creative that depicts, contains or provides access to pornography, nudity, obscenity, and other adult or risqué material. 

Reselling: Creative involved in any transaction in which the buyer of an impression triggers a subsequent external auction or Creative where the original restrictions and constraints of the seller/publisher are not respected (e.g., buying a display ad and reselling as video ad). 

Violence: Creative that depicts, contains, or provides access to violent content or content that glorifies human suffering, death, self-harm, violence against animals, or contains graphic or violent images. 

Weapons: Creative that features the use, training, sale of, or instructions to create, bombs, guns, firearms, ammunition, or other weapons.


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