Creative 20+ QA Checklist for Ad Ops

Written by Roy
Jun 11, 2021 • 3 min read

Here's a great tool for Ad Ops and publishers: a creative quality assurance checklist containing more than 28 tests.

Nr. Test Name How to check?
#1 Load Size (Total) In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Network tab. In the status bar at the bottom, check the total amount of bytes loaded.
#2 Initial Load In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Network tab. Count all bytes loaded before the DOMContentLoaded event + 1 second.
#3 Host-initiated Subload In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Network tab. Count all bytes loaded after the DOMContentLoaded event + 1 second.
#4 Network Requests In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Network tab. Load the ad and count how many HTTP requests are made.
#5 CPU Usage In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Performance tab. Press the record button and load the ad. Check how much CPU time is spend on rendering, scripting, painting, etc.
#6 Load Speed In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Network tab. In the status bar at the bottom, check the DOMContentLoaded event.
#7 Ad Dimensions Load the ad on a test page, then right-click on it and select Inspect. Chrome automatically shows the width and height of the container. Does it match your expectations?
#8 Has Animation Load the ad tag on a test page, and visually check if the creative has contains moving elements.
#9 Memory Usage In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Memory tab. Check the amount of MBs used to load the ad. Aim for no more than 5MB of RAM usage.
#10 SSL-Compliant In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Console tab. Load the ad tag on an SSL test page. Do you see any mixed-content issues logged in the console?
#11 Iframe Count In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Elements tab. Go through each container and look for iframes.
#12 Cookies Dropped In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Application tab and go to Storage arrow_forward Cookies. Load the ad tag on a test page. If cookies are dropped, ask your advertiser for cookie-free tags. In 2022, 3P cookies will likely be gone.
#13 Chrome's Heavy Ad Intervention Load the ad in Chrome, and wait for 15 seconds or more. If the iframe turns blank, Google may have removed the ad.
#14 Plays Video Check if the ad plays videos. In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Network tab and filter for Media. Check if any video files are loaded (mp4, webm).
#15 JavaScript Errors In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Console tab. Load the ad tag on a test page. Do you see any errors logged in the console?
#16 Console Warnings In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Console tab. Load the ad tag on a test page. Do you see any warnings logged in the console?
#17 Mobile Friendly In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Device icon at the left (next to Elements). Is the ad responsive?
#18 Visual Artifacts Load the ad on a test page, right-click and choose Inspect. Check if the size of the container element equals the expected dimensions.
#19 Creative Rendered Check if the ad tag actually returns an ad. Load the ad tag on a test page, or use this ad validation scanner.
#20 Blocked by AdBlock Enable your ad blocker and run the tag on a test page. Alternatively, use this ad validation scanner to automatically detect if an ad tag will be blocked by most ad blockers.
#21 Uses document.write() In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Console tab. Do you see any warnings indicating the use of synchronous requests?
#22 Creative Border Load the ad tag on a test page, and visually check if the creative has a high-contrast border.
#23 3PAS Vendor Manually review the code to see if you recognize code snippets that are known to be used by a certain 3P vendor.
#24 Missing Assets In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Network tab. Check if any of the requests have a 404 status code.
#25 Dialogs & Modals Run the ad on a test page, and check if any modals or pop-ups show up.
#26 Pixels Fired In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Network tab. Load the ad and count how many HTTP requests are made that are less than 1KB in size.
#27 Local Storage In Chrome, press CTRL + SHIFT + J, then click the Application tab and go to Storage arrow_forward Local Storage. Load the ad tag on a test page. If Local Storage items are set, you may want to be sure they don't contain unique identifiers (GDPR/CCPA).
#28 Click Tracking Macro Manually verify if the click macro has been added to the ad tag. The ad tag usually has a placeholder where the macro should be added.

Ad Validation Tool for HTML5 Ads

You can use this HTML5 ad validation tool to scan a creative and see if your ad complies with your specifications. It measures a couple of things that Ad Ops check manually when validating ads before they go live.

HTML5 Ad Validation Test Tool (CreativeQA.io)

Automated Creative QA via an API

If scanning each creative takes too much time, why not automate the whole QA process? Ask the development team within your company to integrate the APIs of creativeQA.io in your platform. Each time you receive a new creative, you'll see within seconds if it passed all QA tests, right from your own portal.

Imagine the amount of time you would save on a yearly basis.

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IAB Advertising Guidelines

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has guidelines regarding the performance of HTML5 ads created with Google Web Designer or any other rich media builder. You can find them in this PDF.

Conclusion

Creative quality assurance is an important process to validate ads before they go live. As a publisher, you want to be sure ads are loading fast, secure and without flaws. Automated ad validation tools can help Ad Ops to save valuable time and make the QA process less boring.

External Resources