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Digital Ad Guidelines

Our Digital Advertising Guidelines are developed to provide a comprehensive overview of advertising opportunities based on platforms and technology. This document intends to set out all general rules (DOs and DON’Ts of advertising with Fairfax Media) and includes pointers to more specific documents and product specifications where applicable and intends to be consistent with the latest IAB Australia guidelines.

Fairfax Media’s standard digital ad units include the units of the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) Universal Ad Package (UAP) as well as a wide range of additional formats.

General Rules

Advertising Creative Material

Must not:

  • destroy, disrespect or pretend to be content
  • contain nudity, profanity, violence
  • contain strobing effects and rapid image sequences
  • contain auto-sound
  • disable form fields, navigation or other site functionality
  • contain or prompt download of executable / installation files
  • set third, fourth etc. party cookies for pre- or re-targeting purposes is not permitted


  • be of sufficient quality – i.e. meeting professional design standards, using suitable image resolutions etc
  • leave users to remain in full control of rich media units, i.e. able to terminate, shut down or minimise overlays, players etc
  • include a 1px solid border with at least 20% contrast against its environment. Note that custom and integrated ad shapes and executions may be excluded at the discretion of Fairfax
  • include a static or animated fallback creative format to be served to users with low-powered devices, without sufficient plugins or where JavaScript disabled


  • Animation can loop twice (play through 3 times)


  • Fairfax reserves the right to remove or request the removal / revision of any creative that is deemed unsuitable
  • Fairfax may at its absolute discretion refuse to publish any advertisement
  • Fairfax reserves the right to reject / remove any rich media ad from the rotation that does not meet creative specifications, contravenes guidelines or adversely affects site performance other ad placements or user experience

Building, Hosting & Reporting

We operate under the statement -“We build, we serve, we report. You build, you serve, you report”.

With this in mind,  if a creative unit is built by Fairfax we will also host/ad serve and report on the creative unit. If however, 3rd parties (to Fairfax) build a creative unit, such as client and/or creative agency, we expect 3rd party ad server tags, meaning the client/agency hosts/ad serves and reports on said creative unit.

Note: some Fairfax executions are comprised of multiple creative units, coming together to form one product, which in turn may be a mix of 3rd party and Fairfax built/hosted assets.

Rich Media Guide

Rich media creatives are interactive, highly engaging ad formats, usually combining a number of technologies, such as HTML5, video etc.

Rich Media Rules

Our overall goal here is to ensure the best user experience. This will avoid negative impact on both our clients & Fairfax brand(s).

  • All rich media creative must be loaded “politely”, i.e. following the completion of the parent page’s load
  • All out of banner ads (expanding) are required to have a standard close button & be user initiated. Audio is included in this
  • Strobing effects and fast animations aren’t allowed
  • Please note that CPU load limitations apply to all Rich Media creative. The recommended peak CPU load by IAB is 40%. Creative above this load may be rejected by Fairfax’s Ad Operations. Below is an overview of frequently encountered Rich Media related problems regarding unreasonably high CPU load

HTML5 Guide for 3rd party hosted

The combination of HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, SVG etc. enables rich animation and features similar or identical to Flash technology, hence you may refer to the relevant ad product specifications for details regarding rules, expected behaviour and deliverables with respect to user experience, hardware load (CPU performance considerations, file sizes) etc.

HTML5 Guide for Fairfax hosted

  • SVG and WebFonts are not accepted at the moment
  • Each individual creative need to be it’s own zip file
  • All files need to be in the root folder, no sub-folder allowed
  • Must follow W3C standards, and your HTML file should have<!DOCTYPE html>, <html> and <body> tags
  • Declare the clickTag variable in your HTML file, e.g. <script type=”text/javascript”>var clickTag = “”;</script>
  • Use this clickTag variable as your click through URL, e.g. <a href=””></a> OR <div id=”clickArea” style=”width: 300px; height: 250px” onclick=” ,’_blank’);”>
  • Put meta data in your <head> session, e.g. <meta name=”ad.size” content=”width=300,height=250″>
  • No cross-domain scripting allowed
  • No local storage or session storage libraries allowed
  • Must be SSL compliant

The following HTML5 specs are a living document and will change according to IAB guidance.

If you’re building using Google Web Designer or Adobe Animate, please follow this guide on how to build HTML5 creative to DFP specs.


Asset Max File Size (KB) File Type Max File Size (KB) of shared library files
HTML5 Standard
Banner 80kb HTML5, JPG, PNG, GIF.
(SVG & WebFonts are not supported at this time)
100 kb
HTML5 Rich Desktop / Tablet
Initial Load 100kb HTML5, JPG, PNG, GIF 100 kb
Backup Image 40kb JPG, PNG, GIF
Polite Load / Panel 2.2 MB HTML5
User Initiated Load / Expansion 2.0 MB HTML5
Video (optional) 2.0 MB – User initiated 30sec Max MP4, OGG, WebM
HTML5 Rich Mobile
Initial Load 80kb HTML5, JPG, PNG, GIF 100 kb
Backup Image 40kb JPG, PNG, GIF
Polite Load / Panel 200kb HTML5
User Initiated Load / Expansion 2.0 MB HTML5
Video (optional) 2.0 MB – User initiated 30sec Max MP4, OGG, WebM

HTML5 Ad Specifications Notes

  • A HTML5 Standard banner is defined as a basic banner with single click through with contained behavior. Anything beyond this is considered Rich HTML5.
  • Max File Size includes all ad assets such as HTML, CSS, JS & images. Shared libraries that are hosted by approved 3rd Party Vendors are not included in the Max File Size. Contact your vendor representative for a list of supported libraries.
  • A backup image is required to display for unsupported environments, such as older versions of IE.

Approved HTML5 Ad host vendors

  • Google DoubleClick
  • Sizmek

HTML5 Recommendations

  • Additional content such as CSS, JS, images, etc, be politely loaded, including shared libraries
  • Preferred to use internal CSS Style sheets within the <HEAD> of your HTML code
  • Use CSS for animations where possible

To reduce file sizes, please consider using:

  • HTML, JS & CSS code minifiers
  • Sprites, SVG or compressing images using ‘Save for Web’. ( see above hosting options in regards to SVG files )
  • Web fonts. Consider only loading the characters that the creative is using. ( see above hosting options in regards to Web fonts)

Video Guidelines

Fairfax offers two types of video advertising, in-stream and in-banner. In-stream serves a traditional video Ad within the content video player. In-banner allows for a user-initiated video to be embedded directly within a rich media banner Ad.


  • Must be user-initiated
  • No auto-play/auto-sound
  • Max 30 seconds duration
  • Under 2.0 MB

Note: in certain design situations, it may be appropriate to use video assets within the artwork to create complex animations. In this case it would play automatically but cannot have sound.


Fairfax is VAST 3.0 and VPAID 2.0 compliant.

Approved Video ad host vendors


  • Google DoubleClick (DCM)
  • Sizmek


  • Google DoubleClick (DCM)
  • Sizmek
  • Innovid
  • Telemetry
  • Tubemogul

Creative Delivery Lead Times

Ad products are classified into a three tier system to determine their delivery deadlines and governing business rules. Delivery deadlines are: 

  • Tier 1 – 3 business days prior to live date
    For standard banner and text / HTML (non-rich media) ad creative
  • Tier 2 – 5 business days prior to live date
    For standard rich media creative (e.g. Rich Media without custom functionality)
  • Tier 3 – 10+ business days prior to live date
    For any non standard / custom executions: Lead time may vary depending on the nature and complexity of the execution. Minimum lead time is 10 business days.

Ads within the Fairfax network may be served through either iframe or JavaScript ad-tags. All Fairfax approved third party vendors support both methods; however a member of the Ad Operations team will inform you if a specific execution requires a particular tag type / delivery method. Third party redirect tags must be live when submitted.

Third Party Ad Tag Types

Supported desktop web browsers

  • Chrome [latest official release]
  • Mozilla Firefox [latest official release]
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer version 11 [Windows OS only]
  • Safari 4+ [Apple OS only]


Polite Download

To preserve user experience on our digital properties, initial ad creative file load sizes are constrained across the board. These are broken out into two categories for file size: subsequent polite load and subsequent user-initiated load.

Subsequent Polite Download

The initial ad file size is restricted, typically to a standard banner’s file size. This first phase of the ad usually comprises the first key-frame of the ad animation or similar placeholder asset. A larger secondary download occurs after the requesting parent page has loaded completely (i.e. the [document.body.onload] JavaScript event is fired). This secondary download file size is also limited, typically to 100 KB.

User Initiated Download

Includes all files that load as a result of the viewer further interacting with the rich media ad creative.

Get in touch

Contact us for more information on our brands, audiences and products.