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Microsoft Advertising policies

Media formats

14 February 2022

Image

Image quality

  • Images must meet average industry standards, including proper image quality and resolution. For example, images may not be fuzzy, obscured, or non-readable.
  • Imagery within the ad must be high quality / high definition.
  • Image may not resolve in “image not available” or similar.
  • The image must be relevant to the product that is being promoted, a direct correlation between the product that is being promoted and the image must exist.  For example: If an ad headline is about seeing a celebrity’s home that s/he shares with a partner, the ad image should show the celebrity either alone or with that celebrity’s real-life partner.
  • Advertisers should use accurate brand or logos. For example, do not use old, outdated logos, or logos that do not match the product or service advertised (for example image of a Windows Phone associated to a Microsoft Surface ad text). Microsoft Advertising Intellectual property policies and Promotion of third-party products and services also apply.
  • In ads with multiple product and price offerings, offers and associated images must be consistent in quality, theme, and relevance to each other.
    • Examples of acceptable products/offers may include florists showing images of multiple bouquets; retailers showing images relevant to the theme of the campaign (i.e., beach wear and beach merchandise images in a 4th of July Sale ad or multiple images of clothing from a specific designer).
    • All offers/images must be clearly legible and uncrowded within the ad space.
    • Each of the images/offers within the same ad creative must be relevant to each other as well as to the campaign theme.
  • Images may not be crude or inappropriate.
  • Images may not be political or religious in nature.
  • Images may not contain symbols or imagery of hate speech.

DISPLAY DISPLAY

  • Graphical content ads (tiered/stacked ads): Non-brand marketers promoting separate products/services or companies in a tiered/stacked format that may or may not include different landing pages and points of purchase, within the same ad unit are not allowed. In this example, Best Buy would still be allowed to run an ad promoting multiple products offered, assuming there is a consistent theme and product offering, at their retail store or online. This restriction only applies to standard banner ads, not to native ads that are approved by the publisher to have stacked content (for example, the MSN Shopping Stripe).
  • Borders: Ads with a similar color as the background of the site must have a border or otherwise be distinct as advertisements (see the individual product creative specs for details).

NATIVE NATIVE

  • Images in localized native ad headlines should be reflective of the local area mentioned in ad headline. Example: A localized ad headline that appears in Pennsylvania should not show an image of a desert landscape.
  • Publisher specific: MSN and Outlook: Images should not contain headlines or text unless required.

Nudity, offensive advertising

  • Nudity is prohibited with the exception of nudity in landing pages for approved Search advertisers in the Adult Advertising Program.
  • Sexually suggestive images are generally disallowed.
  • Images focusing on or showing cleavage, genitals, buttocks, and female nipples are not allowed.
  • Scary, distasteful, or overly graphic images, cartoons, or animations, including depiction of body parts or bodily functions, are not allowed. For example, this may include images of accidents or dead bodies.

Except for India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam, selected advertisements, such as ads for lingerie and bathing suits may present a certain amount of skin provided that:

  • The image directly relates to the product promoted.
  • The image is reasonably expected by the user.
  • All intimate parts (such as breasts and genitals) are covered by clothing.
  • The image itself is not sexually suggestive, as defined above.

XBOX XBOX

Advertising for swimsuits, lingerie and underwear is not allowed.

DISPLAY DISPLAY

Advertising for swimsuits, lingerie, and underwear requires pre-approval.

NATIVE NATIVE

Advertising for swimsuits, lingerie, and underwear requires pre-approval.

Endorsements and testimonials

  • Endorsement and testimonials must be truthful and not misleading. Advertisers must comply with all applicable rules and regulations. For example, you must include a disclaimer indicating that the results of using your product may vary from those advertised, unless you can provide proof that results may be the same or similar as those advertised.
  • Ads may not suggest or imply endorsement from a well-known entity when such endorsement is untrue. For example, images may not feature a known actor in conjunction with a product unless that actor has agreed to promote or endorse the product, and the advertiser has permission to promote the same.

Animation

DISPLAY DISPLAY

  • No animation in-excess of 30 seconds or that exceeds creative file specs. (ex. maximum of 30 seconds for cycling of sequences/ looping/ repeat animation)- see the individual creative product specs.

NATIVE NATIVE

  • Animation allowed on native advertisements only in the Cinemagraph animated format.

Audio

Users should be in control of the audio experience, on click for instance, both within ad copy and landing page. A mute button or toggle must be present so users can re-mute.

Audio must adhere to all other policies and content guidelines and must be appropriate for all Microsoft audiences. For example, the use of racial or religious epithets, or language that advocates doing physical harm to people or their property, would be disallowed based upon our defamatory, slanderous, libelous, or threatening content policy.

Video

  • Video must be relevant to your ad, relating to your product, service, or brand.
  • Users should be in control of the video experience, both within ad copy and landing page. 
    • Audio must be muted on load.
    • Must allow users to rewind, pause, forward, or mute the video.
    • Visual indicators about the video length must be visible.
  • Video content must be suited for the targeted audience or query it is served for. For example, nudity is generally prohibited.
  • All movie trailers must be Green Band (or market equivalent) or preceded by applicable ratings (displayed in advance of the actual video play).
  • Video ads must adhere to all other policies. For example, showing actions that result in fatalities, or showing of blood or dismemberment is disallowed based upon our Suffering and violence policy.

DISPLAY DISPLAY

  • In-banner video ads must have user-initiated sound and motion controls.
  • Streaming pre-roll ads which are served to a streaming content session (i.e., Video hub), can (and should have) non-user-initiated audio, as this delivery of the ad matches the delivery and expectations of the user experience.

SEARCH SEARCH

  • Videos cannot auto-play.