Ad Specs: Guidelines

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“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 “Shocking”, “Breaking News”, “Special Report”, “Alert”, “Stop!”, “Consumer Alert”, and “HATE” are not acceptable.

Advertisements that contain strobing will be examined by the Accessibility team, and excessive strobing will not be accepted on AOL.  Please contact with any issues.

Advertisements must not have the look or feel normally associated with classified advertisements (i.e., cluttered and/or hard to read).

Advertisements must clearly display the name, brand or product being advertised on the creative to avoid the appearance of an AOL offering and/or to ensure the user is clear regarding the sponsor and responsibility for said advertisement.

Advertisements may not use disparaging language or intimate that use of the advertised product or service will help avoid compliance with a law or promote illegal activity.

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.

Before and after images are not allowed without review by the Ad Policy Team (

All ads must include a click-to-URL within the creative that opens the URL in a new browser window. 

General 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 uncommon fonts or multiple font colors for the sole purpose of drawing attention/distracting the user is prohibited.
  • 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).

• No interfering background; clean text required

• No drop shadow or glow on ad text