Interstitial Ads: Everything You Need To Know

October 10, 2023
5 minutes

Interstitial ads, evolving from early pop-up ads, have become a key format in digital advertising.

In this article, we focus on how interstitial ads work, implementing this ad type and how to avoid penalties when running these ads.

What are Interstitial ads?

Interstitial ads are full-screen ads that appear during natural breaks in app or website use, like between game levels. 

They're designed to capture attention without being overly intrusive, offering a potential balance between effective advertising and user experience.

Interstitial ads is an innovative format that is effective in capturing attention. 

Unlike smaller banner ads that sit in a screen corner, these ads capture the user's full attention by temporarily appearing across the entire screen. 

These ad types are shown during natural pauses, such as when transitioning between game levels or while a page is loading.

One of the key benefits of interstitial ads is the potential for higher click-through rates,as the ads take up the entire screen and are hard to miss. 

For publishers focused on user experience, interstitial ads that are highly relevant and timed correctly can strike the right balance between advertising and user engagement.

In the world of gaming, interstitial ads are particularly effective. This ad type appears as players move between levels or during pauses, introducing them to new games or in-game purchases.  

This ensures the ads are both relevant and visible to the players, while also generating revenue for the publishers.

And this brings us to our next point. What are the characteristics of interstitial ads?

What are the characteristics of interstitial ads?

Interstitial ads are an interplay of design, timing, and user experience. 

Their characteristics include:

  • Highly visible: These ads take up the full screen they're hard to miss. Giving advertisers a large canvas to communicate their message and drive action.
  • Well-timed: Showcased at natural transition points these ads can easily integrate into the gaming experience without disrupting the user.
  • Content versatility: Advertisers can get creative with this format.  Interstitial ads are perfect for experimenting with everything from simple images to interactive videos and animations.
  • User respect: Good interstitial ads always have a clear "skip" or “exit” button. Putting users in the driver's seat when it comes to their experience by giving them the choice to exit.
  • Engagement potential: Thanks to their strategic placement and design, interstitial ads often see higher engagement and retention rates than other types.

ICYMI | What are Rewarded Video Ads?

How Interstitial Ads Work

In simple terms, it's like an auction for a prime spot on your screen when you're using an app or website. 

The highest paying advertiser gets to show you their ad, which is designed to fill your entire screen for maximum impact.

Here is a more detailed outline of the process:

  1. User visits a site or app: When someone opens a website or an app, it triggers a process to show an interstitial ad.
  2. Ad request sent: This action sends a request to an ad platform (like an ad exchange or network), asking for an interstitial ad.
  3. Checking device size: Next, the ad platform determines the size of the user's screen. This is important because the ad needs to fit on the screen.
  4. Advertisers bid for space: Different advertisers offer their prices to place their ad on the available screen space. They submit their ads, which are designed to fit the ad placement’s criteria such as screen size.
  5. Highest bidder gets the spot: The advertiser who offers the most for the placement wins the chance to show their ad.
  6. Ad is displayed to the user: Finally, the winning ad is sent from the ad platform to the website or app. It is then displayed on the user's screen.

Don’t Miss It! | Which is Better? Interstitial Ads vs Rewarded Ads

Why Should Game Publishers Use Interstitial Ads?

Interstitial ads offer diverse features that publishers can use to ramp up the revenue for their games. 

Here's why they're so effective:

  1. High visibility: Since interstitial ads run in full-screen, they offer one of the highest visibility rates compared to other ad formats. As gaming audiences can’t ignore a full-screen ad on their screen, this reduces banner blindness.
  2. Increased user retention: Many interstitial ads include interactive elements like clickable calls-to-action. This interaction can create a more enjoyable experience for gamers, in fact this format can be used to enhance the player’s journey. This is a great way to enhance retention rates as players engage with advertised content.
  3. Reward opportunities: A smart way to use these ads is by offering in-game bonuses, like currency or special content, for watching them. This approach benefits both players and publishers, as it keeps players engaged and leads to higher retention rates.
  4. In high demand: Interstitial ads have emerged as one of the top ad formats in the AdTech industry. DSPs are seeing a surge in interest in this format from advertisers.
  5. Drives more revenue: Interstitial ads offer improved visibility, engagement, and demand, which directly contributes to publisher revenue. These ads tend to outperform other top ad formats, especially traditional banner ads.

Penalties for Interstitial Ads and How to Avoid Them

Google has started penalizing pages that showcase interstitial ads that go against their interstitial ad guidelines.

This is more likely to happen if the ads are not executed well.

Here’s what you need to know to keep your ads penalty-free:

  • Google discourages showing interstitial ads as soon as the user enters or excites the digital space. The ads should prevent or hinder the user from performing an action.
  • Another interstitial ad mistake is triggering ads after every user action such as clicks, swipes, and other actions.
  • Interstitial ads should not disrupt the user’s browsing experience. Rather place ads at natural pauses or transition points.
  • These ads should not encourage accidental clicks. Make sure that any engagement with your ads is intentional. Users shouldn't be tricked into clicking on ads.

Interstitial Ads: Best Practices

If used incorrectly, interstitial ads can reduce engagement, increase turnover rates, and negatively impact revenue.

To avoid the negative impact of poorly executed interstitial ads, here’s a few things to consider:

Choose the right placements: Carefully consider the placements of your ads to avoid disrupting the user experience. Avoid interstitial ads that pop up during swipes or clicks, as these can lead to accidental clicks.

Check ad frequency settings: Users dislike constant ads interrupting their experience. Set limits on how often a user sees ads. Google recommends showing one interstitial ad per hour for each user.

Reduce ad loading time: Interstitial ads are often graphics-heavy, they can slow down loading times. Ensure your ads load quickly to minimize disruption. Pre-loading ads can help save time.

Make exiting easy: Prioritize user experience by making it easy to close ads. For standard interstitial ads, either show a close button immediately or after a short delay (like 5 seconds). Note: This doesn't apply to rewarded interstitial ads.

Maximize Your Revenue with Interstitial Ads

Interstitial ads offer significant benefits for publishers, from higher engagement to increased revenue. 

However, the success of this ad type depends on thoughtful integration and understanding your audience.

interstitial ads can be the catalyst you need to grow revenue if executed correctly. 

Not sure how?

With iion's game monetization solution, fusiion, publishers can maximize game revenue by implementing the right game advertising strategy, while making sure the experience is not hampered. 

With fusiion game publishers can:

  • Utilize non-intrusive and quality ad placements in your games among multiple rich media formats.
  • Activate fresh revenue streams from brand campaigns by unlocking direct and programmatic demand sources.
  • Improve your ad monetization playbook with expert support.
  • Enhance monetization resilience through revenue diversification, powered by additional brand and agency campaign budgets.

fusiion offers a range of non-intrusive ad formats, ensuring effective ad placements and unique demand from our partner brands and agencies, all while keeping players engaged. Want to explore our next-gen solutions? 

Request a callback today!

Similar posts

Get access to the best monetization & advertising hacks, news, and updates for free

Hit your revenue target, achieve higher margins

The best solutions and strategic partner to power your growth
Accelerate growth now