A couple of weeks ago, Google updated their Play Store Developer Program Policies with a few substantial changes, notably in terms of app content, app store promotion and advertising. While this is somewhat old news, there are a few points we’d like to focus on more specifically for what they mean for the industry as a whole, and for native advertising in particular. First of all, it seems that Google continues to tighten its grip on its developer and publisher ecosystem by further cracking down on shady advertising techniques. In the previous major update, light was cast upon advertising carried through changes made to the device outside of the original app, such as icon drops, shortcut creation or system-level push notifications.With the latest update, Google targets the following additional points:
- Promotion via deceptive ads on websites, apps or other properties, including simulated system, service, or app notifications or alerts (close to what was already enforced)
- Promotion or install tactics which cause redirection to Google Play or the download of the app without informed user action. (so-called “redirects”)
- Unsolicited promotion via SMS services.
- If your product description on Google Play refers to in-app features to which a specific or additional charge applies, your description must clearly notify users that payment is required to access those features.
- Ads must not simulate or impersonate the user interface of any app, or notification and warning elements of an operating system. It must be clear to the user which app each ad is associated with or implemented in.
“Commonly used disclosure language for in-feed ads includes: “Advertisement” or “AD“ (Google, YouTube), “Promoted” or “Promoted by [brand]” (Twitter, Sharethrough), “Sponsored” or “Sponsored by [brand]” or “Sponsored Content” (LinkedIn, Yahoo), “Presented by [brand]” + “Featured Partner” tag (BuzzFeed, Huffington Post), and “Suggested Post” + a “Sponsored” tag (Facebook).”Google and Facebook disclose search and in-feed ads with, respectively, the terms “Ad” and “Sponsored”: