Quality Criteria: In-Stream (Germany)

The following quality criteria are obligatory and serve as a guideline for best possible monetisation of In-Stream inventory. The contents of this guideline are based on market developments over the past 24 months. The performance values are assessed by smartclip’s proprietary systems as well as well-known ad verification providers.

The concept of “premium” is based on proven performance values that significantly profit from placement within editorial content and in a clutter-free environment. Infringement or violation of these guidelines could lead to exclusion from monetisation and/or to a loss of revenue. However, buyers evaluate the criteria individually and smartclip conducts detailed analyses of intentional or unintentional violation of the criteria on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, complying with these guidelines can ensure the best possible revenue generation for the publisher’s inventory.

Player Requirements

  • Player size for desktop and tablet: min. 400×320 pixel (16:9)
  • Player size for smartphone: full-screen, in portrait mode the player needs to fill the full-screen width (see section below “recommendation for ad delivery on smartphone & tablet”)
  • Responsive design for ideal mobile usage
  • Support of IAB Open Measurement (VAST 4)
  • Support of interactive campaigns
  • Standard complies with click-to-play and sound-on format
  • No unfriendly iFrames
  • The player pauses when less than 50% of the ad is viewable or the tab is switched
  • Delivery of the referrer URLs (in case of apps delivery of Bundle ID)
  • Desktop: the player needs to have player controls: volume control, full-screen option, pause button (mouse-over or per click)
  • Player controls (start, pause, mute, etc.) are viewable and clickable but do not overlay the content (except in case of mouse-over)
  • In case of mouse-over: max. five seconds overlay of content
  • Fly-Out players only upon agreement
  • The player does not overlay with other page elements or advertisements

Content Quality — Requirements for the Environment

  • No integration in pop-up/pop-under/autostart/banner ads (unforced views)
  • Editorial player environment and video content
  • Pre-Rolls: length of content is at minimum, three times longer than the ad (IAB standard)
  • In case the content is shorter, integration of bumper ads is possible
  • High quality of picture, sound and audio
  • Content should be moving images – commented picture slideshows offer only moderate quality
  • Video is viewable and visible; ads pause when the tab is switched
  • All KPIs (video start, click, quartiles, completed view) need to be delivered to smartclip adserver
  • Acceptable video starts:
    • Standard click-to-play: click on play button within player
    • Pre-click-to-play: click on a teaser/button makes it evident that a video follows
    • Click on article teaser: a play button implies that an article including video follows upon clicking
  • No direct borders to other ad placements on the website
  • The player needs to include player controls and an advertising reference
  • No skippable ads
  • If technically possible, third-party targeting or access to first-party targeting is enabled
  • Only video player apart from editorial content video on respective website (no Taboola, Ligatus, ShowHeroes, Playbuzz, etc. – backfill cooperations via smartclip competence centre)
  • No overlapping ad
  • Acceptance for agile integration of new In-Stream formats (upon prior approval by smartclip also considering Better Ads)
  • Implementation of player between header and footer on the body of the website
  • Ad clutter in player environment needs to be avoided
  • Invalid traffic in the form of auto-redirects and click fraud is not allowed, e.g. unwanted redirection of the user when clicking on the play button
  • Data centre traffic needs to be avoided
  • Implementation of ads.txt or app.ads.txt for programmatic advertising

Brand Protection & Brand Safety

  • No violation of applicable law
  • The following contents are not monetised:
    • Contents that are racist and disparage individuals, groups or organisations
    • Contents that glorify violence and are sexual or extraordinarily vulgar
    • Contents dealing with illegal drugs and/or drug accessories
    • Contents dealing with sales of arms or munition, e.g. firearms, weapon accessories, combat knives, stun guns
    • Contents dealing with illegal gambling and/or casinos
    • Contents dealing with illegal downloads
    • Contents dealing with sales of tobacco and/or tobacco products
    • Contents dealing with sales of prescription drugs
    • Contents dealing with sales of replicas or imitated brand products or other products
    • Contents dealing with programs that reward users for clicking on ads or offers, carrying out searches, visiting websites or reading emails
  • The following contents are only monetised considering legal guidelines:
    • Political contents
    • Contents dealing with sales of beer and liquor
    • Contents dealing with sales or distribution of term papers or other student papers
  • The following inventory is not appropriate for monetisation:
    • Traffic that does not comply with legal safety requirements as per definition
    • Traffic that is considered SIVT due to ad verification tools (e.g. Data Center Traffic, Hijacked Devices)
    • Measurement of all kinds of bot traffic (also considered SIVT)
    • Inventory coming from websites with ad clutter
    • Inventory coming from websites that have not been agreed with smartclip beforehand
    • Inventory coming from websites that are considered “ad fraud, porn, warez, file-sharing, malware, spyware, illegal activity, streaming/torrent, violence & weapons” in the common ad verification tools
    • Autoplay placements that have not been agreed with smartclip beforehand
    • Delivery on user-generated content that has not been agreed with smartclip beforehand
    • Delivery of campaigns in pop-unders, iFrames, layers or other ad placements increasing reach
    • Multiple call of same ad call which has not been agreed with smartclip beforehand


Content rated R-18 must be labelled accordingly or addressed separately.

If circumstances require — for example in the event of catastrophes, terror attacks, etc. — the publisher needs to deactivate the ad delivery on a short-term basis (especially news-related environments specifically addressing such topics).

Recommendation for ad delivery on smartphone & tablet

  • In case of an invisible navigation bar/player controls, a navigation bar needs to appear on the first click and include both an advertising disclaimer and a redirect disclaimer to the advertiser’s website (e.g. “learn more” or “get to advertiser’s website”). A further click should redirect the user to the advertiser’s website. The navigation bar/player controls, including advertising reference, need to be automatically hidden after three seconds of user interaction. Neither the navigation bar nor the disclaimers must overlay the video once the ad has started playing.
  • In case the advertising disclaimer (incl. player controls) is permanently visible (only allowed if the player controls are positioned outside of the player), the first click can either redirect user directly to the advertiser’s website or trigger a request regarding an external redirect (e.g. “do you really want to visit the advertiser’s website?”).

Download our In-Stream Quality Criteria Guide here.

Martin Voss

Martin was formerly the Head of Ad Verification & Analytics at smartclip.

Martin Voss
Head of Ad Verification & Analytics

Lisa-Theresia Rischke is the Head of Brand at smartclip Europe and responsible for the smartclip brand. She leads the design team and oversees collateral, social media, and strategic content marketing initiatives across Europe. 

Lisa Rischke
Head of Brand