Google has recently announced a sweep of changes on how developers deliver interstitial ads to end users through Google Play apps. Taking cues from new standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA), Google’s ‘Better Ad Experience’ policy aims to improve ad experiences for users by clamping down on disruptive and intrusive advertisements. 

Combating intrusive ads

While Google hasn't outright banned interstitial ads (full-screen videos, GIFs, images, banners, etc.), limitations are being imposed on when developers can trigger them. Interstitial ads must now only play at 'natural breaks', such as between levels in a game, and not at 'unexpected' moments in the user journey.

Google provided the following guidelines to prevent violations of the new policy:

  • Ads must not play at the beginning of a level or during the beginning of a content segment

  • Ads that appear before an app’s loading screen (splash screen) are not allowed

  • Interstitial ads of all formats must be closeable/skippable after 15 seconds (excluding opt-in interstitial ads).

Policy exceptions 

Opt-in ads such as Rewarded ads (ads that give the player in-game prizes/incentives) are unaffected by the policy changes. Ads that are not full-screen and do not disrupt the normal use and function of an app are also not affected by the policy.

Changing user expectations

Google’s new policy highlights how users are paying more attention to their ad experiences and how ads are delivered to them. Numerous studies throughout 2023 found a growing number of users who are favoring non-intrusive ad formats, such as audio ads, over more traditional ad formats.

A study on ‘Ad Suitability’ conducted by Integral Ad Science (IAS) found that 44% of users were open to hearing audio ads so long as it did not disrupt their content experience. Another report released by Dentsu on ‘Attention and brand recall’ found that audio ads scored 50% higher than video ads at garnering audience attention.

A study by Go Live Test examined user perceptions of in-game Rewarded audio and video ads. The study found that 100% of participants preferred Rewarded audio ads over video ones as they were less intrusive and did not pause the gameplay. It’s becoming more and more evident that non-intrusive ad experiences are leaving a positive impact on users, who are in turn embracing and engaging with ads more than ever before.

Audio, the future of non-intrusive ads?

The ‘Better Ad Experience’ policy is ultimately a positive step towards creating a better ad ecosystem for developers, brands, and users alike. Developers and brands must now prioritize and cater to their user base instead of focusing solely on monetization. 

Audio is a great method for developers and brands to deliver non-intrusive ads while still earning incremental revenue from games and apps. Audio ads are also non-interstitial by default, so aren't affected by the ‘Better Ad Experience’ policy.

Here at Audiomob, our audio ad solution is a bespoke, highly customizable package that allows developers to create the perfect ad experiences for their game and target audience. Developers can integrate our Rewarded and Skippable ad formats with dedicated support throughout and beyond the integration process.

Our ad solution has already been adopted by world-leading brands including Babbel and Warner Music Group, alongside game-changing developers such as Mad Hook and Lockwood Publishing.

After a six-week integration period, we brought our Skippable ad format to Mad Hook’s popular racing sim, Highway Drifter, leading to a 14% revenue uplift. 

If you are looking to secure your revenue in the wake of Google’s new policy, or you'd like to learn more about our non-intrusive audio solution, book a demo today