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    Why was my content rejected?

    All content being amplified across the Outbrain network must pass through a thorough content review process. With such guidelines in place, you may face content rejection at some point during your Outbrain journey.

    We want your content approval process to go as seamlessly as possible; In order to ensure you can decipher what went wrong and avoid making the same mistakes in the future, we have compiled all possible reasons for rejection along with their respective solutions.

    These rejection reasons fall into 6 categories: Inaccessible Content, Offer Category, Headlines, Images, Landing Page, and Additional Rejections for Publishers.

    Inaccessible Content

    Broken URL

    • What does it mean? The page does not open or returns a 404 error even after manually checking the ad URL.
    • How do I fix it? Make sure the page is available. If the error was temporary, you can resubmit and your ads will go back through the review process. If there was an error in the URL, you can duplicate the ads or upload new ones to resubmit- just make sure they have the correct URL this time.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes, unless there was an error in the URL (in which case you must create duplicates or upload new ads)

    Link Leads to a PDF Page

    • What does it mean? The link you submitted leads to a PDF page, and these pages cannot be amplified in the Outbrain network.
    • How do I fix it? The content must be in a web format. Please upload new ads that lead to a compliant page.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? No

    Crawling Error or Server Error

    • What does it mean? Your site may be experiencing a temporary server issue, or our system may be unable to crawl your content due to blocked crawlers or user-agents. Therefore, your ads have been automatically rejected.
    • How do I fix it? Double check on your end to ensure there aren’t any server issues. If all looks good, follow the steps in this article to make sure Outbrain’s crawlers’ IPs and user-agents are allow-listed.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Product or Offer Category

    High Risk Financial Products

    • What does it mean? The ad promotes a financial offer that has been deemed high-risk and therefore not permitted on our network (e.g. Forex, Payday loans, etc). This rejection reason is also used for financial lead generation campaigns (open to managed accounts only).
    • How do I fix it? If the offer is for one of the prohibited financial services according to Outbrain’s Advertising Guidelines, it will not be able to run on our network. If the rejection pertains to a financial lead generation campaign, please reach out to your dedicated Outbrain Account Manager for more details.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? No

    Adult Content

    • What does it mean? The ads promote adult products or dating sites that promote adultery or casual encounters, which are not permitted our network.
    • How do I fix it? The offer cannot be promoted because these products are prohibited on our network.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? No

    Controversial Content

    • What does it mean? The landing page contains fake news or offensive, inflammatory, discriminatory, or negative claims.
    • How do I fix it? If possible, rephrase or remove the controversial claims and reach out to your dedicated Outbrain Account Manager. Otherwise, the content will not be permitted on our network.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? No.

    Controlled Substances

    • What does it mean? The ad promotes illegal, prescription, or recreational drugs, or tobacco-related products such as cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, vaporizers, or hookahs.
    • How do I fix it? This offer cannot be promoted on our network because it does not follow our advertiser guidelines.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? No

    Regionally Restricted Offer/Product

    • What does it mean? The ad targets a market that does not allow this type of product or offer.
    • How do I fix it? The offer cannot be promoted within the specific markets where it is not allowed.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? No

    Gambling

    • What does it mean? The ad promotes a product or offer associated with gambling, a category that is generally prohibited on the network except within certain geos like the UK and US, but only after the offer has been pre-approved upon submitted proper documentation. This category is only open to managed accounts.
    • How do I fix it? If you do not have a managed account, you are unable to promote any offers or products related to gambling. However if you do have a managed account, please reach out to your designated Outbrain Account Manager for next steps regarding proper documentation.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? No

    Unsafe Health Products or Supplements

    • What does it mean? This ad promotes an unsafe or unverified health product that violates our guidelines, such as steroids or brain boosters.
    • How do I fix it? This offer cannot be promoted because this category is not permitted on our network.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? No

    Headlines and Descriptions

    Inaccurate or Misleading

    • What does it mean? Your headline contains one of the following violations:
      • Language is different from landing page language (the languages must match)
      • Contains a misleading or fake deadline
      • States incorrect facts (e.g. wrong currency, incorrect information)
      • Uses a dynamic parameter in a way that gives the impression of fake news
      • Mentions something that cannot be found on the landing page
      • Ad is promoting a search engine results page and the headline gives the impression the users will be driven to editorial content
    • How do I fix it? Rephrase the headline in a compliant fashion.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? No

    Sensational

    • What does it mean? The headline contains one of the following:
      • Absolute or misleading health claims
      • “Too good to be true” or overpromising claims
      • Exaggerated words or sensational phrases, such as shocked, speechless, stunned, blow your mind etc.
      • Celebrity rumors or speculation
      • Negative statements about competitors
      • Suggestive or offensive, typically in combination with an image of a woman
      • Discredits, insults, or speaks negatively of a particular organization or profession
    • How do I fix it? Rephrase the headline in a compliant fashion.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Improper Grammar

    • What does it mean? The headline falls into one or more of the below categories:
      • Contains grammatical errors or translation is off (sounds unnatural in the target language)
      • Contains excessive punctuation
      • Headline is incomplete
    • How do I fix it? Correct the grammatical mistakes, fix the translation, remove excessive punctuation, and/or complete the headlines.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Misuse of Capitalization

    • What does it mean? The headline contains fully capitalized words such as FREE or OFF. Capitalization is only allowed if it announces a type of content such as VIDEO or WATCH, or if it is a registered name such as NASA.
    • How do I fix it? Remove the excessive capitalization.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Offensive

    • What does it mean? The headline contains offensive words or phrases, or are aimed negatively toward particular individuals, groups, or companies.
    • How do I fix it? Rephrase the headline in a compliant fashion.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Prohibited Words or Phrases

    • What does it mean? The headline was automatically rejected because it contains a prohibited word/group of words.
    • How do I fix it? Rephrase the headline in a compliant fashion.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Headline Not Accepted in Targeted Region

    • What does it mean? The headline was rejected due to restrictions within its targeted market. It should fall into one of the below categories:
      • Campaign targets France:
        • Capitalization must follow French grammatical rules, e.g. only the first letter of the sentence and the first letter of proper nouns should be capitalized
        • Mentioning doctors or specific diseases in headlines is prohibited
        • The word “révolutionnaire” is considered too sensational
      • Campaign targets the DACH region:
        • Headlines cannot contain exact price points unless a price range is given
    • How can I fix it? Make the necessary corrections to resubmit.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Rejected Description

    • What does it mean? The ad was automatically rejected because the ad description contains a prohibited word/group of words.
    • How do I fix it? Rephrase the ad description in a compliant fashion.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Images

    Prohibited

    • What does it mean? The ad image shows one of the following elements (this is not a complete list):
      • Accidents, fires, or natural disasters
      • Before and after images
      • Injuries
      • Weapons
      • Religious symbols
      • Cannabis leaves, drugs
      • Smoking
      • People in distress
      • Close-up of insects or animals biting/attacking humans
      • Arrows or circles that emphasize a specific element of the image
      • Showing real people or celebrities endorsing an offer or product without the required consent to use their image
    • How do I fix it? Replace the ad image with something that abides by Outbrain’s Advertising Guidelines.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Inaccurate or Misleading

    • What does it mean? The ad image shows a different product or method than the one being promoted.
    • How do I fix it? Replace the ad image with something that abides by Outbrain’s Advertising Guidelines.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Suggestive or Inappropriate

    • What does it mean? The ad image shows nudity (including cleavage), sexual imagery, or people in compromising positions.
    • How do I fix it? Replace the ad image with something that abides by Outbrain’s Advertising Guidelines.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Quality or Appearance

    • What does it mean? The ad image shows one or more of the following elements:
      • Blurriness
      • Incorrect cropping
      • Photoshopped elements
    • How do I fix it? Replace the ad image with something that abides by Outbrain’s Advertising Guidelines.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Overly Zoomed In (Unrecognizable)

    • What does it mean? The ad image contains an image that is overly zoomed, making it unrecognizable (e.g. body part).
    • How do I fix it? Replace the ad image with something that abides by Outbrain’s Advertising Guidelines.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Disturbing or Unpleasant

    • What does it mean? The ad image features elements that are unpalatable, including (but not limited to):
      • Unidentifiable liquids or items
      • Medical conditions
      • Wounded animals
    • How do I fix it? Replace the ad image with something that abides by Outbrain’s Advertising Guidelines.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Image Not Acceptable in Targeted Regions

    • What does it mean? The ad image features elements that are prohibited in the target market. It should fall into one of the below categories:
      • Campaign targets France: Images should not show any official state signs or excessive amounts of money.
      • Campaign targets the DACH region: Images cannot be banner-like or contain calls-to-action (within the image itself), pricing, text, or dominant logos.
    • How do I fix it? Replace the ad image with something that abides by Outbrain’s Advertising Guidelines.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Adult Image

    • What does it mean? The ad was automatically rejected by an image filter that is used to identify non-compliant, suggestive images.
    • How do I fix it? Replace the ad image with something that abides by Outbrain’s Advertising Guidelines. Reach out to your dedicated Account Manager if you think this was mistakenly rejected.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    No Image

    • What does it mean? The image is missing from your ad.
    • How do I fix it? Add an image.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Landing Page

    Misleading Advertising Techniques

    • What does it mean? The submitted landing page features one or more of the following elements:
      • Earned media logos that don’t click and run through to the relevant media sources, or it says “Ads seen on” which is misleading
      • Before and after images which are missing a disclaimer stating that results may vary or are not typical
      • Countdown clock which creates a sense of urgency
      • Facebook comments that don’t link to the users’ profiles or brand’s pages
      • Combination of several rejections (e.g. page navigation isn’t functioning properly, disclaimers are missing, earned media logos that don’t click, misleading claims, etc.)
      • For health campaigns targeting France: the product type is not clearly disclosed at the top of the page
    • How do I fix it? Check if your landing page contains any of the elements mentioned above, and make the required changes before resubmitting your ads. Please note, the landing page should be fully functional with working navigation and all disclaimers, and free of any misleading statements/elements.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Absolute or Misleading Claims

    • What does it mean? The submitted landing page contains one or more overpromising health-related terms, such as:
      • Cure
      • Prevent
      • Treat
      • Diagnose
      • Destroy
      • Get rid of
      • Eliminate
      • Erase
      • Stop
      • Trick
      • Fix
      • Regrow
      • Reverse
      • End years of
    • How do I fix it? Check to see if your page contains any of the mentioned words. If so, you can rephrase the non-compliant terms by using their softer alternatives, such as:
      • Relieve
      • Improve
      • Reduce
      • Alleviate
      • Address
      • Combat
      • Tackle
      • Fight
      • Feel better
      • For health campaigns targeting France: it is permitted to mention “health experts” instead of doctors, if relevant, to mention general health conditions (e.g. high blood sugar) instead of a specific disease (e.g. diabetes).
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Misleading Navigation

    • What does it mean? The navigation on the submitted landing page is not functioning properly. For example, the CTAs, social media buttons, Private Policy, Contact Us, or any other links on the landing page do not work or do not lead to the corresponding pages.
    • How do I fix it? Check to make sure all navigation is working properly and if not, fix the links to ensure they are accessible and lead to the relevant pages.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Missing Advertorial Disclosure

    • What does it mean? The landing page is missing the required “Advertorial Disclosure.”
    • How do I fix it? Add the missing verbiage to your landing page. It should be visibly located at the top of the page (legible font and size).
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Missing or Incomplete Impressum (DACH Region)

    • What does it mean? For content running in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), an Impressum is required by law. This section is either missing or incomplete on the submitted landing page.
    • How do I fix it? Add or complete the Impressum. It should contain the following information:
      • Name of the website owner
      • Registered address
      • Valid contact information (phone number or email address)
      • Name of a point of contact or company representative
      • VAT number
      • Company registration number

    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Missing Privacy Policy Section

    • Possible rejection reasons: 
      • The Privacy Policy section is either missing or incomplete on the submitted landing page
      • The privacy policy page is not working (404 / redirects to an irrelevant page).
    • How do I fix it? Add a link to the Privacy Policy section in the footer of the page, or add a Privacy Policy section to your Terms and Conditions section (that should be accessible from the landing page itself) that describes which data you collect from users, and how you store, protect, and use it.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Missing Contact Us Section

    • Possible rejection reasons: 
      • The Contact Us section is either missing or incomplete on the submitted landing page.
      • Contact us page is not working (404 / redirects to an irrelevant page).
      • Contact us page contains only a form, and not an email address.
      • For financial content, the contact us section should include both an email address and a physical address.
    • How do I fix it? Add a Contact Us section (either independent, or as part of your general Terms and Conditions/Privacy Policy, that should be accessible from the landing page itself) that contains the following necessary information:
      • Email address or phone number (a contact form is not enough)
      • Physical address for campaigns related to financial investments or weight loss supplements
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Missing Health or Finance Disclaimer

    • What does it mean? The submitted landing page is missing the required health or finance disclaimer.
    • How do I fix it? Add the required disclaimer to the landing page. This is only required for financial and health-related offers. The disclaimer should address the following points, but wording can be adjusted to reflect the specificities of your product and the advice of your legal team.
      • Health:
        • This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
        • Results may vary/may not be typical. Reviews or testimonials may be fictionalized. “Results may vary” or “Results may not be typical” should also be placed next to any before/after images on the landing page.
        • This information does not constitute medical advice and it should not be relied upon as such. Consult with your doctor before modifying your regular medical regime.
      • Finance:
        • This is not considered to be investment advice.
        • Testimonials and success stories may be fictionalized/should not be viewed as expected results.
        • Campaigns targeting France: the disclaimer should clearly disclose the risks of the specific investment type with percentages (%).
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Inappropriate Images

    • What does it mean? The submitted landing page contains inappropriate images (e.g. graphic images of medical conditions, adult images etc).
    • How do I fix it? Remove the problematic images from your landing page.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Missing Landing Page Requirements or Functionalities (Video)

    • What does it mean? The submitted landing page contains a video but is missing the required functionalities.
    • How do I fix it? Add the required functionalities to support video:
      • Indication of length (total and/or remaining time)
      • Time bar should allow jumping forward or backward
      • Play/pause button(s)
      • Volume/mute button(s)
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Inaccurate Source Name

    • What does it mean? The source name is the branding text which appears directly beneath the headline. It is used to share additional information about the promoted content with users. This rejection reason indicates the source name is incorrect.
    • How do I fix it? Correct the source name in accordance with Outbrain’s guidelines outlined below before resubmitting the ads:
      • If the advertiser owns the content landing page: Example – the source name could read as “BRAND NAME” or “brandname.com” (domain name)
      • If the advertiser does NOT own the landing page: Example – the source name should read “BRAND NAME on CNN Money”
      • Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs): If the landing page hosts a list of sponsored search results, disclosure should include one of the following –  “Sponsored Listings,” “Sponsored Results,” “Sponsored Links.”
        • Example – the source name for a SERP ad showing results for dental implants should read as “Dental Implants – Sponsored Listings.”
      • App Download Pages: The source name should also include either (1) the app title or (2) “Download on” (or a translation of this for the relevant language)
        • Example – an English-language ad for an app could use “APP NAME on App Store” or “Download on App Store.” A French-language ad could use “APP NAME sur App Store” or “Téléchargez sur App Store.”
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Improper Grammar (Editorial)

    • What does it mean? The submitted landing page contains grammatical and/or language errors that make the text difficult to read or understand.
    • How do I fix it? Make the necessary corrections to ensure your landing page is understandable, easy to read, and grammatically correct.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Unsupported Languages (Editorial)

    • What does it mean? The submitted landing page is in a language that is not supported by Outbrain.
    • How do I fix it? Unfortunately, we are not able to support any languages outside of our list of supported languages. If you’re able, you can promote your content in one of our supported language, as our publishers are global. If not, we continue to add languages, so keep an eye on the list for any changes.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue?  No.

    Additional Rejections for Publishers

    Competitor Widget

    • What does it mean? The landing page contains a competitor (of Outbrain) widget.
    • How do I fix it? Check the widget displayed on your landing page. If it is a competitor’s widget, remove it or swap it for the Outbrain widget.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Controversial

    • What does it mean? The ad promotes a story about:
      • Suicide, substance abuse, alcoholism, physical abuse, animal abuse, child abuse, or similar topics
      • Celebrity content about marital affairs, infidelities, scandals, divorce settlements, or similar topics
      • Physical deformities, plastic surgery, body transformation (weight loss, weight gain, celebrities without makeup) or objectifying slideshows (with suggestive images and objectifying comments, such as bombshell or sex bomb)
      • Personal bankruptcy
      • Discriminatory or racist content/slideshows
      • Content about minors and their sexuality or gender identity
    • How do I fix it? The content and/or slideshow cannot be promoted because it violates our network guidelines.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? No

    Missing Slideshow Notation

    • What does it mean? The ad drives to a slideshow, but it is not properly notated in the headline.
    • How do I fix it? Add the proper slideshow notation ([Gallery], [Photos]) at the beginning of the headline, or rephrase the headline in plural form (e.g. “Pictures” instead of “Picture”).
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Inaccurate or Misleading Headline

    • What does it mean? The ad headline contains one of the following issues:
      • It does not match the topic of the slideshow
      • It mentions a number of slides that is different than the actual number of slides
      • It inaccurately implies breaking news
      • It uses dynamic parameters in a misleading fashion
    • How do I fix it? Rephrase the headline to address the issue.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

    Inaccurate or Misleading Image

    • What does it mean? The ad image contains one of the following elements:
      • Imagery that doesn’t match the story’s timeline
      • A person that is not included in the slideshow
    • How do I fix it? Replace the ad image to something that complies with our guidelines.
    • Can I resubmit my ads after correcting the issue? Yes

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