Definition: Acceptable Ads

Acceptable Ads is a set of criteria for placing ads on a website. It was created by the parent company of AdBlock Plus, and is a set of standards that are intended to stop ads from being intrusive and annoying. The point is that if websites live up to this standard then ad blockers may not block ads on them.

There are three main parts to the standard:

  1. Ads should not appear within the main content of a page. They are only allowed to appear above or beside content.
  2. Ads should be marked as ads (by having “Advertisement” or equivalent written next to them).
  3. Ads must not be too large or take up too high a percentage of the screen.
    1. This means ads should take up less than 15% above the fold, and less than 25% below the fold (these are easy to follow)
    2. Ads above content can’t be more than 200px tall (this means you should use a 728×90 and not a 970×250)
    3. Ads beside content can’t be more than 350px wide (which no standard ads are)
    4. Ads below content can’t be more than 400px tall (you shouldn’t put ads below content anyway as they perform badly).

You can find out more about the rest of the Acceptable Ads criteria here.


Should I Join Acceptable Ads?

These Acceptable Ads standard is not that tough to meet so there is little reason to avoid them. You want your users to have a good time on your site and you don’t want your ads to be blocked so following these guidelines is not a bad idea.

However, in terms of Acceptable Ads itself – there is not a lot of reasons to recommend them. If you do follow this standard then by all means join up. Joining Acceptable Ads is free to publishers with less than 10 million monthly ad impressions.

However, you should know that AdBlock Plus users can still choose to block your ads, and other ad blockers aren’t necessarily part of this scheme. In fact, other ad blockers make a big deal about how AdBlock Plus lets through some ads but they don’t.

I’ve also not found any stats to say why this scheme is a good idea (if you find some, please let me know). There have been no reports released saying how much extra money sites have made since joining this scheme. This is unsurprising as an ad-blocking company doesn’t want to talk about how many ads they haven’t blocked, but it’s still not a ringing endorsement.

While I don’t think you will lose money from not using the ads placements they mention, there are setup costs to consider. You may need to go back and mark all your ads with “advertisement” or remove them from your content. The time it takes to do this can be considerable depending on your setup and shouldn’t be discounted.



A blue image with the definition for Acceptable Ads, which reads "A standard for placing non-annoying ads on websites that has been agreed between publishers, ad networks, and ad blockers. If websites live up to this standard, then ad blockers won't block ads on them."

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