Google updated its Developer Policy in December 2017 which now prohibits Android Lockscreen Ads and much more.
With this update, Google has explicitly called out developers and prohibited apps from showing advertising on Android mobile lock screens. Google’s Developer Policy Center did the responsible duty of not only describing, but showing what sort of advertising is not wanted. A new section has appeared on the page, specifically targeting everyone’s new favourite ad type.
Lock Screen Monetization Policy
Google’s new Lockscreen Monetization policy prohibits app developers from showing advertisements; or other such features on the smartphone’s lock screen unless it is a launcher or lock screen app. It says, “Ads must only be displayed within the app serving them.” This means apps and games; which are not exclusively made for the lock screen cannot show advertisements on the lock screen.
Google is also coming down on apps with deceptive advertisements. It prohibits apps from showing advertisements; which simulate or impersonate the user interface (UI) of another app; or notification/pop up window of an operating system.
It also warns app developers against deceptive advertisements which make false claims. Also, advertisements inside apps meant for a certain age group has to be appropriate for that age group.
Ad Dismissible without Penalty
Another disruptive tactic employed by app developers to get users to click on advertisements is by showing them in a way that would compel users to click on them. This can include anything that blocks the entire screen. Or interface and provide no option to dismiss them; and the user ends up tapping multiple times on them in frustration. The Google policy clearly says, “If an app uses full-screen advertisements to interfere with normal use, they must be easily dismissible without penalty.”
While Google has tools to identify such apps and take action; Android users can also flag apps which have been violating any of these rules on the Play Store. To do this, scroll down to the end of the landing page of that app; until you see the option “Flag as inappropriate.” Here you can report the violation in the other objection section.
Mandatory instructions to Apps About Ads
Also, to warn users against apps with advertisements; Google has made it mandatory for apps to mention if they carry advertisements right under the install button so a user can see them clearly.
These changes are effective from 2018 and apply to both Google Play and other app markets. If you do not meet the requirements; warnings may be shown on user devices through Google Play Protect or on web pages that lead to these apps. So if you’re a developer; and your app collects personal data; you need to get your apps to comply with these new rules.