Interstitial Ads a Major Factor in Digital Advertising

Interstitial Mobile Advertising

Interstitial advertising has become especially powerful on mobile. Image via Flickr user JoetheGoatFarmer.com.

If you have ever attempted a transition from one page to another on a website, or from one function to another in a mobile app, it is likely you have been targeted by interstitial advertising. This message format typically includes a full-page or splash page (some people include pop-up ads) banner image delivered during the transition or intermission in a content experience. Interstitials have become increasingly pervasive based on their blend of transitional engagement and high visibility.

Interstitial Advertising Basics

It is the timing of interstitial delivery that really defines it as a message format, more so than the size of the advertisement. In contrast to prestitial messages, which are delivered upon first contact with site or mobile content, interstitial ads target you after initial engagement. On a website, for instance, you may spend three to four minutes reading an article, and then an ad appears following a click to a related article on the site. On mobile, the ad may take over the screen during a transition from one function or feature to another.

Interstitial Ads on Websites vs. Mobile Apps

The timing of website-based interstitial advertising is simple. As you shift from one Web page to another, the ad takes over your screen. At that point, you have two choices: engage the ad by clicking on it or opt-out by selecting a link that says something like “Continue to Website”.

In a mobile app or game, the ad normally appears in natural transitions during your experience. In a game, for instance, you may see an ad appear after selecting to play the game, and before you actually make the initial game move. It is common for interstitial ads on mobile games to include advertisements for similar games.

Primary Benefits of Interstitial Ads

One of the major benefits of interstitial ads is their seamless position in the middle of a content experience. A user encountering a full splash page ad upon first visit to a site may find it intrusive and leave. However, a user who finds an article useful and relevant may stick through an ad to transition to another desired article. Even better for the advertiser, the user might find the message appealing based on its natural relevance to the content theme. For instance, an ad promoting apparel for your favorite sports team might appeal to you while interacting on a sports-related website.

Additional benefits of interstitial ads include:

High Engagement – Based on the size, relevance and timing of delivery, interstital ads often gain much higher engagement than prestitial ads. Users are essentially forced to make a choice between the ad and continuing to the Web page, as opposed to simply ignoring the ad or clicking an “X”.

High Conversion Rates – People who interact with interstitial ads tend to convert to buyers or users at higher rates relative to other online ad formats. This advertising method has been especially impactful in the mobile gaming market.

Flexible Delivery – Advertisers have a lot of flexibility on the timing and structure of interstitial ads. Compelling images, interactive quizzes or polls, and other creative engagement mechanisms are all possible.

Conclusions on Interstitial Advertising

The look and feel of interstitial is nothing new for online advertising. It is the timing and engagement advantages that make it an effective tactic in a digital strategy. Potential drawbacks include size and bandwidth requirements. However, well-coordinated loading setups are used to offset this challenge. Publishers also appreciate the ability to generate income on ad revenue while potentially hooking a reader for ongoing site or app activity.

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Neil Kokemuller

Neil Kokemuller has been a Professor of Marketing at Des Moines Area Community College since 2004. Prior to teaching, he worked as a marketing specialist and retail manager. He holds an MBA from Iowa State University

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