Latest Google Play Policy Update wrt Advertising

Usage of Android advertising ID

Google Play Services version 4.0 introduced new APIs and an ID for use by advertising and analytics providers. Terms for the use of these APIs and ID are below.

Usage. The Android advertising identifier must only be used for advertising and user analytics. The status of the “Opt out of Interest-based Advertising” setting must be verified on each access of the ID.
Association with personally-identifiable information or other identifiers. The advertising identifier must not be connected to personally-identifiable information or associated with any persistent device identifier (for example: SSAID, MAC address, IMEI, etc.,) without the explicit consent of the user.
Respecting users’ selections. Upon reset, a new advertising identifier must not be connected to a previous advertising identifier or data derived from a previous advertising identifier without the explicit consent of the user. Furthermore, you must abide by a user’s “opt out of interest-based advertising” setting. If a user has enabled this setting, you may not use the advertising identifier for creating user profiles for advertising purposes or for targeting users with interest-based advertising. Allowed activities include contextual advertising, frequency capping, conversion tracking, reporting and security and fraud detection.
Transparency to users. The collection and use of the advertising identifier and commitment to these terms must be disclosed to users in a legally adequate privacy notification.
Abiding by the terms of use. The advertising identifier may only be used in accordance with these terms, including by any party that you may share it with in the course of your business. Beginning August 1st 2014, all updates and new apps uploaded to the Play Store must use the advertising ID (when available on a device) in lieu of any other device identifiers for any advertising purposes.

More work for analytic companies, ad companies and of course developers. :slight_smile:

Am I the only one that thinks it’s hilarious that Google is hammering down on user profiles, when their entire company’s business model revolves around invading privacy to better target ads?

And the funny thing is whenever i browse a site with google ads i am always shown ads about ANDROID AD NETWORKS…:smiley:

How will we check if the ad networks SDKs abide this policy? :expressionless:


The collection and use of the advertising identifier and commitment to these terms must be disclosed to users in a legally adequate privacy notification.

Will including privacy policy on Google Play be enough for this? Or will every free app on Google Play will annoy us now with accept EULA dialog on start?

New user control over advertising identifier

To give users better controls and to provide you with a simple, standard system to continue to monetize your apps, this update contains a new, anonymous identifier for advertising purposes (to be used in place of Android ID). Google Settings now includes user controls that enable users to reset this identifier, or opt out of interest-based ads for Google Play app

Android Developers Blog

Google will allow user DISABLE the ads. I think this is the BIG problem with us

I dont think so , opt out of intrest based ads is only applicable to google ads , opting out actually means they will show random ads instead of targeted ads, thats what was happening till now , and i dont see why google would let users switch off ads , its worth millions and billions for huge companies,and google thrives only on ad revenue…

can someone explain to me what i have to do to comply by this new policy?

my main advertising methods are admob banner/interstatial. i have a few “adult” apps that use airpush banner/interstitial .

can someone explain to me what changed in the new policy? because i am completely confused, to me it seems like Google just said “you can only use our own advertising network starting aug 2014”


can anyone answer my question?

thank you.

In short just stick to ad networks for showing:

  • banner ads

  • interstitial ads (these too preferably ones which you can prefetch - which was always a good idea since without prefetch these ads can make user wait and they can easily press Back button to exit an ad even before it has shown some graphic etc. - but esp. true for interstitial-on-exit where you DO NOT want ad to show up after your app has SEEMINGLY exited and home screen is visible on screen)

  • avoid push networks

  • avoid home screen shortcuts

  • avoid browser bookmarks / home page updates (startapp)

Maybe some of the avoid list could become usable later - but for now is probably safer to avoid.

  • I would also be suspect about the overlaid-tab type of ad networks which are appearing (as that IS intrusive - and may also interfere with some new Google features which ALSO do something similar i.e.a contextual tab) - though others may be able to shed more light on this type of ad network …

Basically avoid anything that seems to happen OUTSIDE the app. And this includes using push ads to advertise even your other apps (let alone an ad network’s choice of apps etc.). HOWEVER you CAN use push notifications to advertise some new feature in your app or say the award of some coins or some feature become unlocked for the user - i.e. basically if it is something RELATED to the app and which maybe hopefully adds real value to the user so they would want to open your app again.

Having some ad appear on home screen of phone is MAJORLY prohibited by Google - for example if your app has a service which wakes up and does something - but you happen to show an ad occasionally there - that ad will have NO CONTEXT (from the view of the user) - and they will be confused - so this type of ad is ALSO PROHIBITED by Google.

In fact interstitial-on-exit ads should be examined carefully that you can be SURE the ad will be shown very fast (and there is no delay or something and then ad appears) - for this reason AppBrain-type “Do you wish to see more apps ?” type screen (before the actual ads are shown) are probably a good way to show interstitial-on-exit also …

I think this basically covers it - as far as I have understood it.

Fantastic summary and explanation as usual and I fully agree.

Thank you for the reply, but that wasn’t the answer i was looking for. its my fault for not making my question clear, i was referring to the new Android advertising ID .

this is the policy i am referring to:

“We would like to notify you that we have updated the Google Play Developer Program Policy (“Content Policy”). On Oct 31, 2013, we introduced a new policy governing the usage of the new Android advertising ID feature. This policy is in effect immediately. Developers are asked to ensure their apps exclusively use this advertising ID in place of any other device identifiers by the deadline of Aug 1, 2014.”

I am confused as to what it’s used for, can i just stick to my current implementation of banner/interstitial? in the there is now a “play” and a “android” category. this confuses this shit out of me as google’s documentation is garbage.

or am i barking up the wrong tree and getting confused with Google Play Services policy and the regular Google play App/dev policy. as far as i know i do not use “Google Play Services” if Google Play Services = Google Play Game Services

thank you.

I am not using any ANDROID_ID for advertising purposes - so I don’t see where this enters consideration by most developers just showing:

  • banner ads
  • interstitial ads

It is possible that this Google instruction may relate MORE with what the ad network SDKs do - i.e. how they track the users. Instead of using ANDROID_ID, it seems Google is recommending using the advertising ID.

Searching led to some urls:

Advertising ID | Android Developers
Google Replacing “Android ID” With “Advertising ID” Similar To Apple’s IDFA
Google’s new Advertising ID (for apps but not the mobile browser) is a long, anonymous string of digits that will allow tracking and ad targeting without relying on an identifier uniquely married to the device. It abstracts targeting up a level and introduces additional user control.

Which suggests that the advertising ID may relate to when an ad network is trying to show “interest-based” ads (don’t know where this would happen - but as with Admob where user can it seems specify their interests via Settings now - see second link above ?) - or maintain some type of “profile” for the user (which the ad network would do).

It seems for most developers just doing generic non-fancy implementations of banner/interstitial ads - this issue may relate more to the advertising network and HOW they are tracking the users (or maintaining “user profiles” for users on an individual basis - perhaps based on their location, what types of ads they clicked or some such thing).

Android will it seems have a Settings - Ad option where users can specify what type of ads they can be shown etc. - so the user profile would be tied to the user this way - which is different from having Admob or other ad networks maintaining that info locally themselves (!?) - does this mean that Google is wanting for users to concentrate the “user profile” info by the user themselves - this way the SAME user preferences (in a generic/industry-standard way) may become visible to all the ad networks (is this what it is ?).

As far as I understand it, as a developer you have to make sure that any advertising SDK you deploy as part of your app after 2014-08-01 complies with the new Google policy, i.e. it’s using that new advertising ID to track particular devices.

Yeah, this is what I meant to say with that long post above as well :slight_smile: - i.e. developer should make sure the ad networks are “compliant” with this policy.

I don’t know how developers will be really assured that the ad network is doing this - in truth, a developer can NEVER really be assured UNLESS a third-party validator (who Google ALSO believes in) is the guarantor of this compliance (or Google does the compliance certification).

The only thing going in favor of this change is that the timeline is far - August 2014 - and should be enough time for most ad networks to migrate to using the new id etc.