Ad Portfolio


Autotrader has developed a comprehensive guide to advertising and rich media for the consumer site. Our goal is to support a wide variety of products that can be used to satisfy the growing demands of our automotive advertisers.

Autotrader will only accept secured tags for core and mobile.

All Ads should adhere to LEAN Ad Standards as defined by IAB New Ad Portfolio

All Ads should adhere to LEAN Ad Standards as defined by IAB New Ad Portfolio.

Autotrader has developed a comprehensive guide to advertising and rich media for the consumer site. This includes supported vendors, formats, and governing standards. Our goal is to support a wide variety of product that can be used to satisfy the growing demands of our automotive advertisers. Product Management serves as an advocate for every area of the business, facilitating the connection between media vendors, sales and our advertisers.

Autotrader is committed to maintaining the following principles in advertising:

  • Autotrader provides a stronger ROI for our customers’ advertising dollars than traditional media and online competitors
  • Autotrader strives to maintain a quality consumer experience at all times
  • Autotrader utilizes the most effective technology solutions to serve targeted advertising content
  • Autotrader offers a streamlined product set to simplify the business process
  • Autotrader adheres to strict standard of decency in advertising content
  • Autotrader is committed to continuously developing and delivering innovative online advertising solutions to remain a market leader

Ads must conform to specifications outlined herein. Elements not meeting specifications will be returned for revision, which may delay the launch date.

All Ads should adhere to LEAN Ad Standards as defined by IAB New Ad Portfolio .

The new guidance creates a positive user experience of advertising by way of maximizing page load performance. This should also improve the performance of the ad. In general, LEAN Guidance dictates the following:

  1. Use light weight file loads during initial load of the page
  2. Eliminate or minimize render blocking scripts like CSS, JavaScripts during initial load
  3. Use subload for rendering ad experiences that require heavy file weights
  4. Minimize number of files requested during initial load
  5. Make user initiation required for ad functionality that needs large file downloads
  6. The maximum number of Initial Load file requests allowed is 10

Autotrader only accepts secured tags for core and mobile. All tags need to be secure format, including creative/image tags, impression tags and click trackers.

Creative Lead Times:

  • Standard IAB ad units: creative materials must be received 5 business days prior to start date.
  • Custom ad units: Non-rich media creative materials must be received 5 days prior to start date.
  • Custom ad units: Rich media creative materials must be received 25 business days prior to start date.
  • Client provided homepage creative must be received 7 days prior to start date for thorough QA.

New Rich Media Vendors/Tags:

  • New vendor tags must be submitted 30 days prior to launch to enable thorough testing.
  • A site deployment may be required for new vendor tags, please plan accordingly.
  • Third-party tags must be live at the time of submission to enable thorough testing before launch.
  • For third party served creative, please provide fully formed tags including any tracking pixels, as well as ad server macros*, within the javascript or HTML5 creative code.
  • For dynamic creative, please refer to the fourth party agreement process to embed the appropriate pattern match macros in the JS clob before sending creative assets to the publisher.

Advertisers CANNOT set cookies on Autotrader sites without written permission.

  • Autotrader reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to reject or discontinue, for any reason and at any time, any advertising for any product or service.
  • Autotrader reserves the right to make changes and/or exceptions to these guidelines at any time in its sole discretion.
  • Advertisers must agree to be bound by any such changes.
  • Nothing in this document is intended to constitute an offer to enter into a binding agreement, and this document should not be viewed as such.
  • Autotrader reserves the right to reject any ad on behalf of, or which promotes Autotrader competitors or products, services or activities contrary to Autotrader’s competitive position or interests (e.g. ads which disparage the Internet as a medium).
  • Avoid deceptive messaging; Ads may not use faux operational error messaging or symbols, i.e., a “your system may be vulnerable” message, icons signifying system problems, system folders or icons, system status indicators/message, etc
  • Autotrader requires that all advertisements be in ‘good taste’ (as determined by the publisher’) and not include vulgarity, hate, and/or sexually explicit content.
  • All ads should have a clear distinction from Autotrader and must have:
    • Distinct border to clearly identify where the page ends and the advertisement begins.
    • Advertiser name
    • Logo
    • Ads may not be designed to blend into the screen to give the appearance of Autotrader content/functionality.
  • The sponsor of the advertising message must be clearly identified in the ad unit.
  • It is the advertiser’s responsibility to ensure that all product claims, warranties, guarantees or other assurances comply with applicable laws & regulations.

Advertisements cannot:

  • Contain pixilated or unclear designs/logos/images
  • Imagery that appears to have functionality but does not; such as drop-down menus, radio buttons, etc…. No fake or simulated HTML interactivity.
  • Ads cannot mimic the colors or look & feel of Autotrader without approval
  • Imagery that does not accurately reflect what is being offered which could mislead the consumer.
  • Creative cannot use the Autotrader name or logo without pre-approval from Autotrader
  • National and Regional advertisers cannot call out a specific dealer(s) in messaging within their advertisement. Ads can click through to landing pages that allow a shopper to choose a dealer, but no reference to a specific dealer can be made within an advertisement on Autotrader.
  • No host-initiated banner audio is permitted.
  • All audio must be user initiated by click
  • Where Host-initiated animation is permitted; accompanying audio must be off until user-initiated by click
  • Visible Stop/Play and pause or mute functionality MUST be visible
  • Looping: User can select additional loops by using play functionality
  • Length: 30 seconds maximum on audio served in conjunction with a video stream. Audio served independent of a video stream may be 15 or 30 seconds.

Following are requirements for submitting HTML5 creative:

  • Ads must be live and fully functioning at time of submission
  • No JavaScript except for on Change events (No <SCRIPT> tags)
  • No nested TABLEs
  • Reference images locally and submit image fragments along with the HTML code
  • Do not include <HTML>, <META>, <HEAD>, <TITLE> or <BODY> tags
  • No divs (No <div> tags)
  • No cascading style sheets(CSS)
  • No flash fragments
  • The only acceptable FORM method is GET. Method=POST is not allowed
  • Image maps must be client-side
  • No “mailto” tags
  • Forms must have a unique name
  • The arrangement of the form and table tags should be as follows: <FORM><TABLE></TABLE></FORM>
  • Target URL may not exceed 200 characters
  • Use a color palette of 256 or less adaptive colors with flat, web-safe colors
  • Designer must test creative across all major browsers and versions prior to submission. At minimum, Firefox versions 3.5 and higher, Internet Explorer versions 6.0 and higher, and Safari 3.0 and higher must be tested.

A majority of the time, clients send third party tags or ask Autotrader to design and host creative. There are, however, some agencies that send creative code and ask Autotrader to host it on their behalf. With HTML5, hosting this code is made more complex. Read below for the impacts regarding Adobe Edge and Google Swiffy.

At this time, Autotrader will not be accepting client creative developed in Adobe Edge nor Google Web Developer for 1st Party Serving.

  • Adobe Edge Animate is a software that has become a favorite tool for designers to do their HTML5 creative development work. This was intended to replace the tools which developed Flash.
  • Why is it causing issues? The issues our Operations teams are experiencing include when agencies ask Autotrader to host the creative which eliminates the ability to include tracking tags which makes first party click and impression tracking not possible.
  • Ad Operations will be sending back any creative developed in Adobe Edge until further notice.
  • Third party served Ads served by tags work as intended.

Google Swiffy

  • Swiffy is a web-based tool developed by Google that converts SWF or Flash files to HTML5.
  • Before being served, Swiffy converted ads must be sent to the Ad Ops Design team to modify the code so that click tracking works properly in DFP.
Full Expanded
Initial Load; Sub-load
Max File Sizes     
Load Max File Size
728×90 728×315 150k; 300k 200k down*
180×150 300×250 150k; 300k 200k  center
300×250 560×300 150k; 300k  200k  left
300×100 300×250  50k; 100k  200k up**

Preferred Rich Media Partners: Sizmek, EyeBlaster/MediaMind, DoubleClick, EyeWonder, Unicast, Atlas, MediaPlex, Linkstorm

Tag Types Accepted: Javascript (preferred format), Standard, and 1×1. Iframe tags not permitted.

*See expansion guidelines.

Expansion Guidelines

  • There is a 200k total Max Weight on the page at any given time.
  • The roll over ” hot spot” can only take up to 33% of the ad space
  • The ad must have a clearly marked “call to action” Ex. ‘Rollover to Expand’
  • The action that causes the panel to expand MUST also cause the panel to retract.
  • Click open/click close: The creative can be set to expand with the user click; the panel retracts when the user clicks a clearly marked close button.
  • Mouse over/mouse off: When a user passes a mouse over the creative, the panel expands; the panel retracts when the mouse is removed. The creative still needs a clearly marked close button that closes the panel upon click.
  • *If 728×90 In-Line Promo ad expands, the rich media provider must package this placement with Push Down functionality as opposed to Expandable functionality.

Video/Animation (In-Banner)

  • Video may be host initiated.
  • Max Time: 15 seconds
  • File Size Restrictions: 200k
  • Audio is defaulted to “Off” and must be user initiated by click
  • Must be built by an approved Rich Media vendor.
  • Animation/Looping: Allowed; unlimited looping within 15 seconds
  • Video must be engineered to load after all page elements have loaded (JavaScript “onLoad)”

User Initiated Video (In-Banner)

  • Available in all Autotrader approved ad sizes.
  • File Size: Alt image GIF/JPG = 20k; Initial HTML5 = 200k; User Initiated File Size = 2.2MB (with video)
  • Must contain functioning stop/pause and play, and audio controls
  • Max Time: 30 seconds
  • Video: True Streaming; progressive download available on click only
  • Audio: Available on click only; 30 seconds maximum on audio served in conjunction with a video stream.