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Microsoft Advertising policies

Creative specs

February 14, 2022

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Display ads creative specs

In some markets, regulatory restrictions exist for certain types of family planning products and services.

 
 
Border
Creative must feature a 1-pixel border (gray [#666666] or black recommended, though any color that clearly distinguishes the ad from the content may be used).
Animation/Looping Limit (GIF)
Allowed; duration 15 seconds
Audio Specifications/Limit
Allowed; user initiated only
Audio
Audio must be user-initiated and never automatic.
Audio on/off toggle button must be always present when sound is available.
All ad audio must be muted or paused on click-through.
Video
Minimum video controls required for all video players:
Play/Pause and Mute/Unmute button.
HTML5 Required
Conform to all IAB standards
Flash
Not Supported
SSL
SSL is required.
Both ads and tracking tags must be SSL compliant. Ads that are not SSL compliant will not be accepted. All 3rd party content must serve SSL (https) compliant ads.
Close Button (970x250 Billboard and Custom Header Only)
A ‘X Hide Ad’ button is required in the language the ad will be served in the upper right corner.
Show Ad Button (970x250 Billboard and Custom Header Only)
A standard 88x31 pixel IAB Leave-behind “Show Ad” icon is required in the language the ad will be served when the ad is hidden. The width of the Leave-behind may be slightly larger to accommodate the language characters used.
Open/Close Persistence (970x250 Billboard and Custom Header Only)
The Open/Close state of the ad must persist when the page is reloaded or revisited.
Z-index
<30,000 is required so the service bar and mega menu do not drop behind the ad.
Click URLs
Click destination URL must open in a new browser.
Important Call-outs
728x90 Leaderboard

Any 728x90 Ad in 2-column view on MSN will be clipped by 100 pixels on the right side. It is up to the Advertiser to ensure that the creative design elements such as Advertiser branding, logos, and CTAs are not positioned in the right 100 pixels if desired. In 3-column view and 4-column view (full screen), the 728x90 Ad appears in full.

970x250 Billboard

In 3-column view and 4-column view (full screen), the Billboard appears in full by default. In 2-column view, the Billboard will appear clipped on the right by 342 pixels. Upon browser page scroll, the user will be able to see the full ad and interact. The Advertiser must ensure that the creative design elements such as Advertiser branding, logos, and CTAs are not positioned in the right 342 pixels, if desired.
Data Reported
3rd Party Rich Media partners will typically provide impressions and click-through data, as well as enhanced metrics. Please consult your Certified Rich Media partner of choice for more details.
Data Collection
Microsoft permits advertisers to collect user-provided personal information (for example, through web forms embedded in ads). Advertisers may be required to modify ad units or provide additional disclosure in order to be acceptable for advertising on Microsoft sites. Advertisers wishing to collect personal information within advertisements (according to specifications above) must follow these guidelines: Clearly identify the organization, provide link to privacy policy, Identify purpose for collection information.

Supported Ad Dimensions

 
MSN
Outlook
Mobile
Xbox
320x50
Mobile Banner
 
 
 
300x250
Inline Rectangle
 
300x600
Half-page
 
 
160x600
Skyscraper
 
 
 
970x250
Billboard
 
 
 
728x90
Leaderboard
 
 
416x216
Xbox Home
 
 
 
468x263
Xbox Store
 
 
 
1920x1080
Xbox Video Gallery
 
 
 

Deliverables

MSN, Outlook, Mobile

File
Required Format
Dimensions
Maximum File Size
Backup Image
GIF, JPEG
300x250
728x90
300x600
970x250 (970x70)
320x50
150 KB
100 KB
250 KB
250 KB
50 KB
Initial File Download
HTML5
300x250
728x90
300x600
970x250
320x50
150 KB
150 KB
200 KB
250 KB
50 KB
Secondary (Polite) File Download
HTML5
300x250
728x90
300x600
970x250
320x50
300 KB
300 KB
400 KB
500 KB
100 KB
User-initiated File Download
HTML5
300x250
728x90
300x600
970x250
1.5 MB
Host Initiated Video
MP4
15 Seconds
1.1 MB
User Initiated Video
MP4
30 Seconds
Progressive: 2.2MB
Streaming: No Limit

XBOX

File
Required Format
Dimensions
Maximum File Size
Static Banner
PSD
416x216 (Home)
468x263 (Store)
N/A
Full Screen Video
Any Video
1920x1080
N/A

Display Ads Performance Standards

This section describes the methodology, metrics, and standards Microsoft uses to assess the performance of display ads, where ad performance in this context refers to the weight or heaviness of an ad. The standards documented below are in alignment with the IAB Guidelines published in July 2017. Ads that do not comply with the performance standards outlined below will be prohibited from displaying on Microsoft online properties.


Background: Why Display Ad Performance is Important

Better ad performance is a win-win for ad providers and publishers. Said another way:

  • Poor ad performance impacts publisher business metrics
  • Poor ad performance impacts ad business metrics
  • Poor ad performance contributes to the use of ad blockers.

Heavy Ad Detection Methodology

At Microsoft we use a system called ADA (Ad Analyzer) to analyze each ad in isolation in a controlled lab environment to ensure the accuracy of results. ADA assesses an ad’s performance impact on two dimensions:

  • Network — a heavy network tax delays loading of page content and other functionality on the page.
    Metrics: Total Bytes, Total Requests
  • Interactivity — a heavy interactivity tax impacts the ability to provide a smooth and responsive experience.
    Metrics: CPU.

In addition to the metrics listed above, ADA generates detailed diagnostics including network waterfalls, CPU traces, and JavaScript call stacks that are useful for pinpointing the root cause of why an ad is heavy. We have found these diagnostics to be critical functionality that enables the ad ecosystem to improve ad performance.


Performance Standards

This section describes each of the three ADA metrics in more detail, including the thresholds used for flagging heavy ads.

  1. Total Bytes — the total number of bytes (KB) downloaded over the network for all ad-related assets, including HTML, JS, CSS, images, analytics calls, etc. Total Bytes thresholds are clearly defined in the Microsoft Display ad specs and shown below.
     
    Microsoft
    IAB Guidelines
    Bytes Threshold

    The combination of Initial and Subload (Polite) cannot exceed the KB limits defined in MSN Ad Specs.

    User initiated content is not factored into the size measurement.

    If the ad contains a video element, this size is separately considered and not calculated in the Banner KB size.

    Identical. See IAB Guidelines

    Banner MAX Combined Size
    300x250 - 450 KB
    728x90 - 450 KB
    300x600 - 600 KB
    970x250 - 750 KB

    Video Max Size
    1.1MB

  2. Total Requests — the total number of HTTP requests over the network for all ad-related assets, including HTML, JS, CSS, images, pixels, event beacons, etc.
     
    Microsoft
    IAB Guidelines
    Requests Threshold

    The sum of all HTTP Requests made by an ad which include calls for ad assets, pixels, event beacons, etc. cannot exceed 100.

    Note that DSP’s and Ad Networks may add additional HTTP requests to an ad which are included in this threshold.

    Maximum number of initial load file requests is 10. See IAB Guidelines.

    Note: Microsoft has found that 10 is quite strict when considering all pixels, beacons, etc. that are commonly included with the ad and/or added by DSPs.

  3. CPU — the amount of CPU consumed by the main browser thread over a 30s period when the ad is loaded. A common cause of excessive CPU is JavaScript code/libraries. Because it’s impossible to represent CPU performance across the full spectrum of user machines, we take a conservative approach and choose a threshold that errs on the lenient side.
     
    Microsoft
    IAB Guidelines
    CPU Threshold

    An ad should not impose more than an average of 30% CPU utilization during the first 30s when the ad is loaded. This translates to a total of 12s of CPU consumed on a PC with average CPU power.

    30% CPU load max (based on the average CPU of the user base) per active ad. Please refer to the IAB Guidelines for additional information.