Images above ad units & complying with the AdSense terms

It has become popular over the last few months to place images above or next to ad units, with individual images lining up with each invidiual ad in an ad unit. For example, a leaderboard would have four small images above it. But some publishers have received compliance warnings about using images, since they are making them appear to be a part of the ad unit, and being asked to make changes to comply with the AdSense terms and policies.

So what exactly is within the terms and what isn’t? I went straight to Google for the scoop.

Publishers are still welcome to place images above the ads. The only exception is if it’s in such a way that it looks like the images are part of the ads.

When something like that comes to our attention, we’ll ask that the publisher place a visible border between the ads and the images, to make it clear that the images are not being served by Google on behalf of the advertisers. We generally do not ask publishers to remove the images completely, we just ask that they add borders to avoid confusion.

So it seems the complaint is that the images appear to be trigger by the individual ads and are reflecting on the individual ad itself. This could potentially cause problems when a user clicks an ad expecting it to be about the image, even if they didn’t fully read the ad text they happened to be clicking. And this could result in a lot of unqualified clicks to advertisers ads.

So to be fully complaint with the AdSense terms and policies while using the added images technique, you must have a border between the ads and the images, whether it be a bordered ad unit, or an on-page border you add yourself.

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