Google is cracking down on unexpected, annoying ads that users face while playing Android games, along with several other new ads guidelines to ensure high-quality experiences for users on Play Store.
Effective from September 30, developers cannot show full-screen ads of all formats (video, GIF, static, etc.) that show unexpectedly, typically when the user has chosen to do something else, are not allowed.
“Ads that appear during game play at the beginning of a level or during the beginning of a content segment are not allowed and full-screen video interstitial ads that appear before an app’s loading screen (splash screen) are not allowed,” Google said in its developer policy update.
Such ads are unexpected for users, as they expect to begin a game or engage in content instead.
Full screen ads of all formats that are not “closeable after 15 seconds are not allowed”, said Google.
“Opt-in full screen interstitials or full screen interstitials that do not interrupt users in their actions (for example, after the score screen in a game app) may persist more than 15 seconds,” said Google.
This policy does not apply to rewarded ads, monetisation and advertising that does not interfere with normal app use or game play.
Effective from November 1, all apps distributed on Google Play are required to respect the Flag_Secure declaration of other apps for security and privacy purposes.
“Apps must not facilitate or create workarounds to bypass the Flag_Secure settings in other apps,” the company said.
Flag_Secure is a display flag declared in an app’s code to indicate that its user interface (UI) contains sensitive data intended to be limited to a secure surface while using the app.
Google will not allow apps that mislead users by impersonating someone else (another developer, company, entity) or another app from August 31.
“Don’t imply that your app is related to or authorised by someone that it isn’t. Be careful not to use app icons, descriptions, titles, or in-app elements that could mislead users about your app’s relationship to someone else or another app,” said Google.
Effective from September 30, if developers sell subscriptions in apps, they must ensure that the apps clearly disclose how a user can manage or cancel their subscription.
“You must also include in your app access to an easy-to-use, online method to cancel the subscription,” the company said.
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