AdSense has a new revised policy for how publishers utilize images next to their ad units on a blog entry right before Christmas. This is a revised policy from what they had allowed in 2005 when I first ask for clarification on the policy.
We ask that publishers not line up images and ads in a way that suggests a relationship between the images and the ads. If your visitors believe that the images and the ads are directly associated, or that the advertiser is offering the exact item found in the neighboring image, they may click the ad expecting to find something that isn’t actually being offered. That’s not a good experience for users or advertisers.
There was the old rule that a line separating the ads from the images, either an ad unit border or another kind of line, would be fine to meet the policies. However, this has changed if the images still appear to be somehow related to the ads.
No. If the ads and the images appear to be associated, inserting a small space or a line between the images and ads will not make the implementation compliant.
This doesn’t really come as much of a surprise… Yahoo Publisher Network stopped allowing publishers to do this last year, despite the fact it increases CTR for most publishers who utilize it.
And from an advertiser perspective, I can completely understand why they have made this decision. If an image next to an ad is for an iPod, there were definitely surfers who clicked on the ad “associated” with the iPod, and expected to see iPods for sale on that landing page, even if the ad had nothing to do with anything iPods. So that advertiser would be paying for a non-converting click by a visitor who was actually looking for iPods.
So now that you are back from holidays, it is time to make sure your images are all in compliance with the new rules and policies