What Is an Interstitial Ad? A Comprehensive Guide

An interstitial ad can increase engagement, click-through rate, and ad revenue. But what is an interstitial ad, and how does it work?

If you’re a smartphone user and have downloaded an app, you have probably encountered an interstitial ad. These ads are becoming increasingly popular with advertisers and have become a central part of the mobile advertising ecosystem.

In this blog post, we will take a comprehensive look at implementing interstitial ads, including the various types and best practices.

Key Takeaways

  • Interstitial ads are full-screen ads that appear during natural transitions within an app or website.
  • Types include interstitial video ads, static ads, mobile interstitial ads, and rich media ads, which offer higher engagement levels and improved click-through rates than banner ads or pop-up ads.
  • Best practices for interstitial ad usage include careful timing, ad type and placement, high-quality ad creatives, avoiding accidental clicks, setting a frequency cap, adhering to advertising policies, and measuring performance metrics such as user engagement and click-through rates.
what is an interstitial ad

Interstitial Ad Definition

An interstitial ad is a type of mobile advertising that appears in full-screen format, usually between app content or game levels.

These ads are more immersive than traditional banner or pop-up ads since they take over the entire screen. Interstitial ads can be static, animated, or video-based, and they can appear within a variety of mobile apps or websites.

Interstitial advertising typically appears after a user completes an action, during breaks in the mobile web content, or between levels of a game. They are strategic placements for advertisers since users are already engaged with the app or website content and, therefore, more likely to engage with the ad.

How Interstitial Advertisements Work

How an interstitial ad works depends on the type of ad and the ad network used. Generally, app developers can work with ad networks to integrate ads into their apps or websites. The network will provide the app developer with a code, which they insert into the app’s code.

When the app is used, the ad network will display the ads and distribute revenue based on performance.

Advertisers can also use interstitial advertisements for retargeting campaigns. In this case, the ads appear targeted to users who have already interacted with a brand online. Interstitial ads that leverage data such as browsing history or user behavior can be more engaging and relevant to users.

One of the main benefits of an interstitial ad is its ability to draw the user’s undivided attention, as they occupy the entire screen. Advertisers and publishers appreciate this feature, as it helps combat “banner blindness,” a phenomenon where users become so used to seeing banner ads that they begin to ignore them.

Benefits of Interstitial Ads

interstitial ad benefits

Interstitial advertising offers several advantages for both publishers and advertisers, making them a popular choice in the digital advertising landscape:

  • Higher visibility: Since these ads cover the entire screen, they command the user’s full attention. This heightened visibility can lead to better engagement rates and may increase the ad’s effectiveness.
  • Less intrusive: Unlike pop-ups that appear without warning, an interstitial ad appears during logical breaks in content, such as between game levels or when switching between articles. This strategic timing makes the ad experience less disruptive for users, potentially leading to more positive reactions.
  • Improved click-through rates: Due to their high visibility and less intrusive nature, interstitial advertising often boasts higher click-through rates (CTR) than traditional banner ads. Higher CTR means advertisers can potentially generate more conversions and achieve better campaign results.
  • Flexible creative options: An interstitial ad is not limited by the small sizes of typical banner ads, offering advertisers more flexibility in their creative designs. Rich media, such as interactive graphics and videos, can be incorporated into the ad content, making for a more engaging and immersive experience for users.
  • Monetization strategy: For publishers, an interstitial format presents an effective method for monetizing apps or websites. The larger ad format and higher CTR can lead to higher revenue generation, providing a valuable source of income to support the content creation process.

Types of Interstitial Ads

There are various interstitial ad types designed to grab the attention of users and effectively promote a brand, product, or service.

Static Image Interstitial Ads

Static ads are the simplest form of interstitial ads, featuring a high-quality image that takes up the entire screen. These ads typically contain a clear call-to-action (CTA) button, encouraging users to engage with the ad. Static ads are cost-effective and easy to create, making them an attractive choice for advertisers.

Video Interstitial Ads

These are full-screen video ads that autoplay when displayed, offering an engaging and immersive experience for users. These are one of the more popular mobile ad formats commonly used in mobile apps and games during moments of transition, such as between levels or during loading screens.

Video interstitial ads have a higher production cost than static image ads, but they often result in better user engagement and higher conversion rates. You will want to optimize for both Apple and Android full-screen ads to ensure the best video experience across devices.

Rich Media Interstitial Ads

Rich media ads incorporate interactive elements, such as animations, games, or quizzes, to create an engaging experience for users. These ads often allow users to interact with the ad content, resulting in higher engagement and brand recall.

Rich media ads can be more complex to produce, but they provide advertisers with the opportunity to create more creative and memorable ad experiences.

Custom Ads

In addition to these primary categories, mobile interstitial ads can also be customized to fit specific devices (such as smartphones or tablets) and platforms, optimizing the user experience and maximizing ad performance.

For instance, some interstitial advertisements may be designed for vertical or horizontal orientation, depending on the device used. Fitting ads into popular mobile ad formats helps ensure better results.

User Experience With Interstitial Ads

interstitial advertising

Too many ads are bad for user experience — but you also need to consider other elements, like transition points and flow. Learn how to improve user experience with interstitial advertisements.

Natural Transition Points

Interstitial ads are designed to enhance the user experience on mobile apps and sites by appearing at natural transition points. These full-screen ads cover the interface of their host app or site and usually appear between content, such as game levels or during breaks.

By using natural pauses or breaks in the content, these ads garner the full attention of users without interrupting the flow of their engagement with the app or site.

Advantages of placing ads at natural transition points include:

  • Less disruptive experience: Users are more receptive to ads when they appear during breaks or pauses, as their engagement with the content is not interrupted.
  • Increased attention: During natural transitions, users typically refocus their attention on the next piece of content or task, providing a prime opportunity for advertisers to capture their interest.

Seamless Flow

To create a seamless flow in the user experience, interstitial advertisements must be carefully timed and placed.

The following considerations can help achieve the desired balance between ad placement, engagement, and user satisfaction:

  • Timing: Display interstitial ads at appropriate moments, such as when content loads or after a user completes a level in a game. Avoid displaying back-to-back ads, as this can lead to a negative user experience from seeing too many ads in a short period of time.
  • Loading time: Ensure interstitial advertisements load quickly to minimize waiting time and potential user frustration. This is especially important for mobile devices, where users expect swift and smooth interactions with apps and sites.
  • Relevance: Tailoring ad content to be contextually relevant and engaging can help maintain the user’s interest and avoid annoyance or disengagement.
  • Frequency: Monitor the frequency of interstitial advertisements to maintain a balance between monetization efforts and user satisfaction. Overloading users with ads can lead to dissatisfaction, disengagement, and adverse effects on app or site performance.

Interstitial Ad Metrics

How will you know if your interstitial advertisements are working? Track the following metrics:

Click-Through Rates

Click-through rates (CTRs) measure the number of times users click on interstitial advertisements compared to the total number of ad impressions. A high CTR is desirable, as it indicates that the ad is engaging and relevant to the audience.

Interstitial ads often have higher CTRs than standard banner or pop-ups, as they tend to be more noticeable due to their full-screen placement.

Conversion Rates

Conversion rates refer to the percentage of users who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter after clicking on an interstitial ad. A high conversion rate indicates that the ad effectively drives the desired user behavior.

When compared to other ad formats like a banner ad or pop-up, interstitial advertisements may result in higher conversion rates due to their prominence in the user’s experience.

Impression Rates

Impression rates represent the number of times an interstitial ad is displayed to unique users. These metrics are essential for advertisers to determine the reach and frequency of their campaigns.

A high impression rate may be an indicator of a successful ad campaign, but it is essential to consider other metrics, such as CTRs and conversion rates, to evaluate the effectiveness of interstitial ads comprehensively.

Revenue and Monetization

Revenue generated from interstitial ads is a critical metric for publishers and advertisers. Ad revenue is based on factors like the number of impressions, CTRs, and conversion rates. Monetization is influenced by where you place interstitial ads, ad format, and targeting strategies, among other factors.

When compared to other ad formats, interstitial ads may generate higher revenue due to their size, attention-grabbing nature, and higher CTRs.

Best Practices for Interstitial Ads

interstitial ads best practices

Interstitial ads are a widely used ad format in the digital advertising world, popular for their full-screen display and ability to engage users effectively.

To ensure a positive user experience while maximizing the impact of interstitial ads, it’s essential to follow these best practices:

Timing and Placement

Placing interstitial ads at natural transition points in your content or app is crucial, such as between levels in a game or after a user completes a specific action. This minimizes disruptions and ensures users are more receptive to the ad.

Ad Content

Ensure your ad creatives are captivating, relevant, and high-quality. Use a mix of images, text, and even video to capture user attention and encourage engagement. Optimize ads for both mobile and desktop platforms.

Avoid Accidental Clicks

Design your ads in such a way that the close option is clearly visible and easy to access, to prevent users from unintentionally engaging with the ad, leading to false metrics and poor user experience.

Ad Frequency and Capping

Be mindful of how often your interstitial ads are displayed to a user. Excessive ad frequency can lead to a negative user experience and potential penalties from advertising platforms like Google.

Implementing a frequency cap helps strike a balance between engagement and user satisfaction.

Compliance With Advertising Policies

Adhere to the guidelines of advertising platforms where you display interstitial ads. Non-compliance can result in penalties or removal of your ads.

Familiarize yourself with the policies of each platform, including Google’s guidelines for interstitial ad usage.

Measuring Effectiveness

Regularly analyze the performance of your interstitial ads, including metrics like engagement, click-through rates, and conversions.

This data helps you optimize your ad strategy and make informed decisions on ad placements, creatives, and targeting.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do interstitial ads differ from pop-up ads?

Interstitial ads are full-screen ad placements that appear between standard interactions within a site, app, or game. They are separate from the main content and usually have a close button for users to easily exit. A pop-up ad, on the other hand, unexpectedly appears in front of users during their browsing experience, often obstructing the main content and causing annoyance. Interstitial ads are more user-friendly than pop-up ads, as they typically appear at logical breaks in content or transitions and are less intrusive.

When should interstitial ads be displayed?

Interstitial ads should be displayed during natural breaks in user interactions to minimize disruption. For instance, in mobile games, these interstitial video ads can be shown between levels or during transitions within the game. On news websites or content platforms, interstitial ads may appear during navigation between articles or sections. Designing well-timed interstitial ads can enhance engagement and reduce the chances of users dismissing the ads without interacting.

How do interstitial ads affect revenue?

Interstitial ads, when implemented effectively, can contribute to increased ad revenue. They not only offer higher click-through rates compared to other formats like banner ads but also generate higher revenues per impression. Interstitial ads can be lucrative for publishers owing to their full-screen format and focused attention from users. However, it’s crucial to maintain a balance between ads and user experience, as excessive or poorly timed interstitial ads may lead to a negative impact on user retention and overall revenue.

What is the typical size for an interstitial ad?

The size of an interstitial ad varies depending on the device. On smartphones, they generally take up the entire screen, with margins surrounding the ad content to accommodate a close button. For desktops, interstitial ads usually cover around 80% of the screen, with the size adjustable based on publisher preferences. It’s essential to optimize the ad size and layout for different platforms and devices to ensure a seamless user experience.

Final Thoughts

Interstitial ads offer high engagement and versatility for advertisers. By using full-screen promos in strategic placements, interstitial ads capture the user’s attention and provide a non-intrusive way to deliver promotional content.

Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is an interstitial ad?” you know they’re great for retargeting campaigns, easy to integrate, and have proven to be an efficient channel to promote products and services.

Ad networks, app developers, and advertisers can work together to create compelling interstitial ad campaigns that drive higher ROI and build brand awareness.