Creative Content Guidelines

Creative Quality:

  • “Attention grabbing" mechanisms and/or animation with the sole purpose of distracting the user via repetitive, rapid flashing or blinking tactics or that has the potential to significantly distract users from editorial content or user experience is not acceptable. This includes images unrelated to the nature of the product being advertised.  Words and phrases including but not limited to “Shocking”, “Breaking News”, “Special Report”, “Alert”, “Stop!”, “Consumer Alert”, and “HATE” are not acceptable. Loud, clashing or disruptive color combinations are not acceptable.
  • High-annoyance design elements such as arrows and circles that needlessly call attention to the advertisement are not acceptable.
  • Advertisements must clearly display the name, brand or product being advertised on the creative to avoid the appearance of an Oath offering and/or to ensure the user is clear regarding the sponsor and responsibility for said advertisement. All ads large enough to fit branding must include it within the ad unit. All other ads must have clear branding on the landing page.
  • Display ads should have a 1-pixel black border, or solid background color, to help distinguish them from page content.
  • All offers presented must be consistent with the offers presented on the corresponding landing pages. All offers presented must correlate to the images being presented as part of the same advertisement.
  • Advertising must deliver a relevant, positive and expected experience for consumers seeking products, services and content. Ads must be relevant to the product or service being offered on the landing page; offers depicted in an ad must be visible/available on the click-through landing page of the ad.
  • Images may not imitate editorial content, emails, Messenger content, Flickr messaging or any other AOL/MSFT/Yahoo features which make it difficult for users to distinguish between the ad and OATH products.
  • Before and after images are not allowed without review by the Oath Ad Policy Team.
  • Landing pages cannot only contain a lengthy video that must be watched in order to learn about the offer.

Sexually Suggestive or Graphic Content:

  • Cleavage: Cleavage is acceptable if: a) the person is clearly 18+, b) there is no disembodiment, c) it is not coupled with a sexual innuendo in the tagline, d) the breasts are not the focus of the advertisement, and e) the image is in good taste.              
  • Disembodiment: Advertisements that use images that focus on specific body parts or use exaggerated body parts to gain attention are not acceptable. Disembodiment of the human form to display only the breast, groin or buttock regions is unacceptable. Models should be shown in complete form including their head.
  • Partial Nudity/Semi-Revealing Attire: Partial nudity, including scantily clad women/men in swimsuits, is acceptable, provided a) the person is clearly 18+, b) there is no disembodiment, c) garments are not transparent, d) men may not be bare-chested, e) garments/poses are not considered erotic, f) it is not coupled with a sexual innuendo in the tagline, and g) graphic is in good taste.
  • Sex/Sexual Situation: Any sexually suggestive images of children/teenagers/adults (male or female) are not allowed.
  • Violence: Graphics or images containing gore are not allowed. Weapons cannot be presented in a violent or threatening manner. Weapons may not be pointing outward towards the user.

Ad Text Guidelines:

  • Capitalization
    • Ads must use proper, grammatically correct capitalization.
    • Ads may not use excessive or random capitalization, such as BIG SALE or AmAzinG.
    • Acronyms may be capitalized.
  • Grammar, sentence structure and spelling
    • Spelling and grammar in the ad title and ad text must be correct, unless the incorrect grammar is part of the corporate or product branding.
    • Ads cannot include excessive repetition (such as "free, free, free").
    • Use of numbers or letters in place of words (Back 2 School Sale; Gr8 Deals 4 U) is prohibited unless part of a brand name, such as Toys ‘R Us.
  • Punctuation
    • Ads must include logical, correct punctuation.
    • Ads cannot contain repeated and unnecessary punctuation, such as "Is someone looking for you?!?”
    • Ad titles may not contain exclamation points.
    • Exclamation points cannot be used in the title of any ad.
  • Symbols
    • The use of all symbols, numbers or letters must adhere to the true meaning of the symbol and ads cannot contain repeated and unnecessary symbols.          
    • Symbols may be used if the symbol is part of the product or brand name, paired with a dollar amount (e.g. "Save $50 today") or if the # symbol is used for comparative phrases (e.g. "Voted the #1").
    • Masked vulgarity is not acceptable (e.g., “Huge A** Savings Today”, “Party Your Fu**in’ Pants Off”).
    • Icons in ads (ex: bullets, arrows, markers, radio buttons) cannot distract users or that make the ad appear cluttered.
    • Numbers – Prices & Percentages
    • Only one price or % allowed per product. This includes discounts and price reductions, such as 25% 50% off! or $99.99 $89.99 $79.99!
  • Use of fonts – font variety
    • The use of multiple fonts in an ad should be limited to no more than three, and should be consistent throughout the creative (i.e. one font per ad text category – heading, call to action, body).
    • Use of drop shadow or glow on ad text is not acceptable.
    • Use of uncommon fonts or multiple font colors for the sole purpose of drawing attention/distracting the user is no acceptable..
    • The font type guidelines above do not apply to corporate or product branding / logos, fonts within creative images, or legal/required disclosure text within the ad.
  • Use of fonts – font size
    • Depending on location, certain publishers may require adherence to specific font size guidelines, in order to safeguard the user experience (example: Xbox Console).
    • Advertisements must not have the look or feel normally associated with classified advertisements (i.e., cluttered and/or hard to read).
    • Advertisements that contain strobing will be examined by the Accessibility team, and excessive strobing will not be accepted on Oath sites.  For advertisers with managed accounts, please contact your Account Manager.


  • Personalization ad techniques: Ads cannot include “personalization” or personalized ad messaging and image techniques (including head shots) that give the user the impression that they will interact specifically with the person(s) highlighted within the campaign; includes the use of stacked, rotated, scrolling or layered images of multiple individuals (including head shots) representing their product. This restriction only applies to standard banner ads, not to native ads that are approved by the publisher to have stacked content (for example, the MSN Shopping Stripe)

Images and video quality:

  • Video Ad Quality: Video advertising images and audio must be clear, high quality and play smoothly. Video content must be suitable for a general audience. The language of the video must match the language of the ad copy and landing page of the ad. In general, the video language should match the language spoken by the majority of people in the targeted market of the respective ad campaign.
  • Poor resolution, grainy looking images are not acceptable.
  • Undecipherable or unidentifiable images are not acceptable.
  • No interfering background or fuzzy logos; clean text required.
  • Images and video cannot include phone numbers or contact information unless part of the company name (e.g., 1-800-Contacts).

Display URL - Search:

  • The display URL cannot mislead the consumer into believing they are going to a site not controlled or owned by our advertiser. The display URL cannot be used as another line of text or as an email address field.

Sitelink Extensions - Search Only:

  • The landing page promoted by each Sitelink should be relevant to the Sitelink text and each Sitelink needs to have a unique title. Each Sitelink needs to lead to unique content at your site. In addition, no Sitelink can direct the user to the same landing page as the destination URL of the main part of your ad.