The Impact of Location on Ad Content Control in AdTech

When it comes to ad content control, location matters. GeoEdge explores ad blocking dynamics around the world.

Political Landmines in the US

In the US, the diversity of blocked creatives—from gambling and weapons to health and political content—mirrors the complex social and regulatory environment in which American publishers operate. GeoEdge delved into the data to unearth insights into ad content filtering, pinpointing gambling as the most blocked content across digital advertising. The significant blocking of gambling ads (35%) highlights the complexities surrounding online betting. This requires publishers to be agile, adapting to foster reader trust.

Weapons ranked as the second most blocked category, accounting for 14%, followed by news at 10%. The restriction of politically-sensitive content, including news and election-related ads, underscores the need for transparency and neutrality, particularly in an era of heightened political polarization. Publishers must balance reader engagement with the risk of spreading misinformation, which highlights the importance of vetted and reliable creatives.

Cultural and Regulatory Norms in the EU

Europe’s digital advertising landscape is heavily influenced by stringent regulations and cultural sensitivities. Unsurprisingly, these standards are reflected in the ad content categories most frequently blocked. Gambling ads are at the forefront, accounting for 40% of blocked ads. This highlights the EU’s strict anti-gambling stance and its steadfast commitment to consumer protection. Swimwear and intimate apparel make up 22% of blocked ads, indicating a prudent approach to the depiction of the human body in media, which aligns with European norms and privacy laws.

Ads pertaining to legal, government, and political matters are also significantly restricted (9%) This speaks to the EU’s concerted effort to safeguard political integrity and prevent undue influence through advertising. Health-related advertisements are closely monitored as well (8%), aiming to ensure the public receives accurate and objective health information.
Weight loss products are blocked at a rate of 6%, reflecting concern over misleading claims and the promotion of unrealistic body standards. Weapons advertising (4%) is restricted due to public safety concerns and the EU’s strict policies on arms control.

Cryptocurrency ads, along with ads related to religion and tobacco, each account for 3% of the blocks. These restrictions highlight the EU’s cautious approach towards emerging financial technologies, its respect for religious sensitivities, and public health initiatives against smoking. News content, also blocked at a rate of 3%, highlights the ongoing challenge of balancing freedom of information with the need to prevent the spread of misinformation. The EU’s extensive ad filtering approach aims to protect consumers while ensuring that advertising practices align with the region’s ethical standards and values.

Maintaining Standards in APAC

APAC encompasses a range of countries with varying standards and sensitivities. Gambling ads top the list of restricted ad content in the Asia-Pacific region, constituting 50% of blocked ads. This measure aligns closely with the strict laws in many APAC countries designed to curb gambling and protect public welfare. Tobacco advertising is also substantially restricted at a rate of 27%, underscoring the region’s aggressive public health campaigns to curb smoking and its associated health risks.

News, pharmaceuticals, and law, government, and politics each account for 5% of blocked ads. This highlights APAC countries’ need to manage sensitive information that could impact public opinion, health, and legal integrity. Religious advertising is blocked at a moderate 3%, reflecting the region’s diverse religious landscape and the potential for ad content to disrupt communal harmony.
Ads for swimwear and intimate apparel, along with weapons ads, are each blocked at rates of 2%, pointing to conservative values regarding decency and public safety. Cryptocurrency ads and ads for fashion and beauty face minimal blocks (1% each), indicating a more permissive stance towards these growing industries, while still remaining cautious of regulatory and cultural requirements.
APAC’s ad blocking practices illustrate a strategic approach to aligning advertising with societal norms and legal frameworks, ensuring that marketing efforts are both respectful and effective.

A Global Tapestry of Ad Filtering Trends

Digital publishers face the complex challenge of balancing advertising with user experience and country-specific norms. By aligning their advertising content with local laws, cultural expectations, and consumer behavior, publishers can ensure advertising experiences resonate with audiences while maintaining high ethical standards.

GeoEdge provides essential control that enable platforms and publishers to block undesirable ad content and bypass advertiser-declared categories, preventing offensive creatives from reaching users. This proactive approach not only safeguards brand reputation, it also fosters a positive, respectful digital environment for advertising stakeholders around the world.

GeoEdge is the trusted cyber security and ad quality partner for publishers and platforms in the digital advertising industry. With more than a decade of experience, we’ve built solutions to prevent tomorrow’s threats, today.‎

Malvertising, the practice of sprinkling malicious code into legitimate-looking ads is growing more sophisticated. GeoEdge’s holistic ad quality solution has you covered.


450+ Publishers & Platforms