Interstitial Ads vs Banner Ads: Choosing the Right Ad Format

It’s not a surprise anymore that advertising has the power of making or breaking your app. The right kind of ads can attract your customers, ultimately leading to conversions. However, the wrong ones can drive them away. Hence, advertising in the right format is crucial to monetizing your site or app without losing customers. While there are numerous ad formats to choose from, interstitial ads and Banner ads are the most popular ones preferred by the site owners.

Interstitials

These ads are full-screen visuals which cover the entire screen of the user’s app or site.  They usually pop up during natural switch points in the flow of surfing, such as in between games, while browsing between web pages, or even prior to reaching a search destination. Normally the interstitial ads show a countdown timer where users can tap the close button to skip the ad once the timer ends. The major thing that works in favor of the interstitial ad is that they take up the entire screen space, making the message visually compelling.

Banners

These ads are basically rectangular graphic displays that extend across the top, bottom, down right or left sidebar of a site or app.  Banner ads are not text-based. They are rather image-based and hence are popular ad formats for website advertising. The main objective of banners is to promote brands or products for attracting visitors from the host website to the advertiser’s website. This generates traffic to the particular website by linking to it.

Choosing a particular ad format among others is largely dominated by the type of product you want to promote. So before finalizing your desired ad formats, it is critical to realize that no ad format is competent enough to encapsulate your entire list of demands. In fact, every format has its pros and cons. Let’s compare these two in terms of few significant factors –

  • Placement:

While you are targeting to maximize your consumer reach with visually appealing ads, poor ad placement can ruin all for you. Deciding on when and where to place an ad is equally important as garnishing the ad with high-impact messages. Though there is no clear cut barometer to plan this. However, there are certainly certain aspects you can consider given the type of ad format you are working on.

  • Banner Ads are like those silent guests. These ads wordlessly sit on any edge of the users’ screens without interfering with the content. That is either on the top, bottom, down right or left sidebar of a site or app.
  • Interstitial ads, on the other hand, wrap the entire screen space. Being highly compelling and 10 times the size of the banner ads help to get gain complete user attention.

Performance:

Now, Performance is indeed an important criterion to decide on an ad format. There are several dynamics to take into account, such as –

  1. eCPM (effective cost per mile): refers to what you earn for every 1000 impressions (higher the better).
  2. CTR (click-through rate): refers to the percentage of users clicking on your ad after viewing it (higher the better).
  3. Impressions: refers to each instance when an ad is displayed.
  4. Fill rate: refers to the percentage of times when an app publisher displays an ad successfully out of the number of times an ad is requested (higher the better).

Here’s a data excerpted from AdtoApp.com on the performance of both the formats –

Banner Ads CPM Rates vs Interstitial Ads CPM Rates

  • Banner Ads
  1. eCPM (USA): $1.2 on iPhone/$0.57 on Android
  2. CTR (per 100K Impressions): 0.23%
  3. Impressions: Billions
  4. Fill rate: 20-30%
  • Interstitial ads
  1. eCPM (USA): $7.2 on iPhone/$3.50 on Android
  2. CTR (per 100K Impressions): 5.7%
  3. Impressions: Millions
  4. Fill rate: 80-90%

So, you can see that interstitial ads clearly beat banner ads by a mile in terms of engagement. However, not to forget, when it comes to the whole UX, Banners give the brands opportunity to be in the presence of the user without intrusions.

UX (User Experience):

Well, it all comes to UX ultimately. Because as an advertiser, winning audience is all you are aiming for, an ad should be designed as such it delivers an overall soothing experience to the user. It must not be intrusive at all. So planning the journey of an ad UX can help you instilling brand loyalty.

  • Banner Ads are prone to what is known as “banner blindness”. That is because users barely pay attention to the banners appearing in the corners of their screens. The user simply dismisses it. Also due to the size of the ads, users accidentally tend to click on it instead of closing.
  • Interstitial ads, although intrude the user attention because of its bigger size, but they do so in very logical instances like natural transitions during levels of a game or while surfing from one page to another.

Here’s a quick list of Pros & Cons of Banner Ads:

  • Banner Ads

PROS:

    1. Cost-effective
    2. No Interruptions
    3. Higher Delivery
    4. Tailored to user specifics

CONS:

    1. Less Engaging – Users do not click on the ads
    2. Less Noticeable – Very Small

Here’s a quick list of Pros & Cons of Interstitial Ads:

  • Interstitial ads

PROS:

  1. Larger space
  2. Visually compelling
  3. High conversions
  4. Broader message, exposure and memorization rate

CONS:

  1. Users bounce – Ad gets in their way
  2. Can be little intrusive depending on user specifics

High converting traffic would yield better CPM rates for both banner and interstitial ads.

Final Thoughts!

Well, practically there is no ideal ad format available. Publishers are required to research and experiment with the formats to develop an effective ad strategy depending upon individual requirements. For some, CTR might be more important than revenue. For some, the brand promotion might be of greater value even if it means a higher bounce rate. There’ll always be risks involved. Moreover, marketing is a field highly influenced by customer behavior. So it would be best to study how your target audience will respond to a particular ad format or a combination of formats suitable for your brand.

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Abhishek is an ad optimization consultant helping publishers get better payoff. Increase your website's ad revenue in next 30 minutes. All Blognife viewers get a FREE Skype consultation. SKYPE ID: ronniedey This site runs on Rehub Theme framework.

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