Ad Specs: Guidelines

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For the AOL Homepage Rich Media opportunities, your regionally aligned Digital Project Manager will coordinate a kick-off call with client and vendor to outline AOL Homepage execution, specs, review creative concepts and set a timeline for launch.


1 host initiated expansion per day

No host initiated audio allowed

3rd Party Serving is NOT accepted

3rd Party Tracking allowed

The use of Approved Research Vendors is allowed on AOL Homepage Campaigns. No recruiting may be directly performed from the Homepages and no javascript tagging is allowed. IMAGE ONLY tags may be supplied for cookieing exposed users to be recruited through companion ROS banners implemented on channel pages.

Pop-Ups: Homepage ads may not trigger pop-ups or pop-unders upon one click of the ad.
Exit popups are allowed only if they are more than one click away from the ad, and are directly related to the content clicked on. They may not be triggered by simply closing the landing page (i.e., second click from homepage ad) without the user going deeper into the advertiser site.

  • Example: A user clicks on an ad to sign up for a magazine subscription, starts the registration process, but then exits for whatever reason before completion of the registration. An exit pop-up would be allowed if it advised that the subscription would not go through unless they finish the registration process.

Graphics and design must be of a premium professional quality. This standard applies to all "back-up" creatives and applicable landing pages.
The brand or advertiser name must be clear, readable and recognizable. The creative must include clear company attribution and logo.
Creatives and graphics must be related to the product/service being advertised (and to the applicable landing page).

No attention grabbing mechanisms that are unrelated to do the nature of the product being advertised. This includes prohibiting the use of implied celebrity and/or corporate endorsements, as well as "attention grabbing through annoyance" tactics (bizarre images, excessive looping animation, strobing colors or images, etc.)

No page manipulation allowed

Transparent Layers: Content that is visible through transparent layers must be accessible to the user. The transparent layer must collapse if the user attempts to access content. The transparent layer must click-thru to the advertiser's site and/or direct the user away from the AOL content page.

Ads may not be designed to blend into the screen in order to give the appearance of AOL content/functionality

  • Ads may not use the AOL font family in creatives unless the same typeface is part of their brand/identity or website
  • Ads may not emulate AOL controls or style buttons.


  • Animation time is limited to 15 seconds. Graphics may not continuously or incessantly loop for the entire duration of the animation.
  • Repeat animation is generally not allowed but consideration will be given to the degree of distraction and subtler executions may be offered more flexibility.
  • Animations with the appearance of blinking or flashing are not acceptable.

Messaging and offers (price, terms, etc) must be clear to the consumer. Misleading ads/offers will be rejected. This includes the use of hidden and/or punitive negative option pricing techniques.

Faux functionality on the Homepage is strictly prohibited. ANY element which has the appearance of functionality (listbox, dropdown, etc.) must function as expected and deliver on that function.

Creatives must not be cluttered nor have the look/feel normally associated with classified ads.

The AOL Homepage is a mass-market, broad reach platform. As such, advertising that is targeted to a particular ethnicity, religion, cultural or sexual orientation will not be approved.

Prescription Drug / Pharmaceutical Ads: The FDA requires that advertising for prescription drug products must carry a "brief summary" of all necessary information related to usage, side effects and contraindications. In order to meet this requirement, some ads may animate beyond the 15 second limit. For those ads which do "overanimate", they must still be submitted to the Ad Policy team for review prior to launch.

AOL Right of Refusal: AOL's advertising policy teams reserves the right at any time, in its sole discretion, to revoke its approval of, and to require the elimination of, any advertisement or campaign running on any of the Homepages.