How To Stop Bad Ads

hands typing on a laptop computer on a wooden desk next to a cup of tea

Hi everyone, let me introduce myself. I’m Nick, Ad Operations Specialist for Mediavine. I like to think of myself as Brad’s sidekick, helping hold down the fort in Ad Ops.

A big part of what I do on a daily basis is work with our Publisher Support team and other Mediaviners to maintain our industry-leading ad quality standards.

In English, we try to eliminate the bad ads. There are many criteria for what we consider a bad ad, but generally they fall into a few categories:

  • Adult or non-brand-safe content
  • Audio that the user has to turn off
  • Ads covering the page or content
  • Misleading information or spam

At some point, we’ve all dealt with bad ads in some way, shape or form — and most likely stopped visiting sites we associate with such negative experiences.

This is hugely important to Mediavine. If negative ad experiences are not acknowledged and mitigated, they can have long term effects on publishers’ traffic and revenue.

As the manager of advertising solutions for more than 5,800 publishers, it is our top priority to ensure positive experiences for new users and those loyal to your website.

We value our publishers and the content they’ve worked hard to create. It’s our job to help monetize that content in a non-intrusive, user-friendly way.

A woman using a laptop computer in a cafe.

A Proactive Approach

We have many lines of defense in this large-scale endeavor. First and foremost, Mediavine strives for family friendly, “brand-safe” ads exclusively.

This means we are proactively prohibiting any ad deemed inappropriate or beyond PG rated. These blocks are in place across the board with all of our ad partners.

Selecting the right partners is equally valuable in this mission. We work with companies who share our standards for quality and prioritizing positive user experiences.

Of course, what “inappropriate” means is subjective and varies from publisher to publisher and user to user. Not to fear, Mediavine accounts for this as well.

We offer additional “Opt-Outs” within the settings of the Mediavine Dashboard that give each website latitude to determine what ads are shown to their audience.

For example, healthy food blogs can block “fast food” ads, a vegetarian site can block “meat & poultry” and so on, increasing your control over your own blog.

Screenshot of the Mediavine Dashboard homepage, with an arrow pointing to the "Settings" icon

Screenshot of the Mediavine Dashboard with an arrow pointing to the "Opt-Out" setting

Your opt-outs proactively block these categories of ads from Google Ad Exchange, by far the largest buyer of Mediavine ad inventory, plus a few other connections.

All in all, this regulates around 60% of total ad inventory.

For the other 40%, even with filters in place, bad ads may surface via exploited loopholes – people miscategorizing ads, swapping out creative after audits, etc.

For these situations, our engineers have created the Mediavine Ad Reporter — a tool to report any individual ad that sneaks through our standard checks and balances.

How to use Mediavine Ad Reporter

The process of reporting a bad ad is very simple. Under every ad unit, on both desktop and mobile devices, you will see a “Report This Ad” button.

reporting an ad graphic

Clicking this will prompt you with a pop up to help us identify the offending partner.

A screen capture of the ad report section.

When the pop up appears on screen, you can input any relevant information starting with the “What’s wrong with this ad?” drop down.

The drop down menu allows you to select one of the usual suspects — the ad plays sound, covers the page, is adult content — or something else.

Once you select the problem, you can add a message. Don’t hold back. On our end, we can never have too much information when tracking these down.

Some key details to include would be the click through URL (if visible on the ad unit itself), text on the ad that identifies a possible advertiser, or a visual description of the ad.

You can include your email, which is optional but preferred, as it helps us identify you as a Mediavine publisher. (You can also check the “I’m a publisher at Mediavine” box.)

Once filled out, clicking on the “Report This Ad” button sends the report into our database. We then prioritize these and work with the appropriate partners to remove the ad.

When I say that we prioritize these, I mean that I personally check our Ad Reporter tool multiple times a day. I am on it. Submit as many ad reports as you want. Seriously.

You won’t break our system. I love blocking bad ads.

Mediavine’s goal is to eliminate bad ads as quickly as possible. We’ll never be able to catch all of them, but with our technology and your help, we’ll hopefully come pretty close.

Again, these reports are personally seen and reviewed. Send us a note if you see anything that you think might be bad and we’ll do all we can to ensure the highest ad quality.

Related Posts