What are interstitial ads?

Interstitial ads are full-screen ads that cover the interface apps. They’re typically displayed at natural transition points in the flow of an app, such as between activities or during the pause between levels in a game. When an app shows an interstitial ad, the user has the choice to either tap on the ad and continue to its destination or close it and return to the app.

Interstitial Ads Benefits

  • Larger sizes leave larger impressions on users
  • Higher impression rates mean higher click-through rates
  • Increased click-through rates lead to increased conversion rates

Interstitial ads have great potential to increase conversion rates and are often displayed in-between levels in mobile games and apps.

These types of ads can include video, image and text, and rich media features (audio or other ad elements). Users can also close these ads, but the option to close them varies depending on their content. For example, video ads may not have an immediate close option, while non-video ads will.

The full-screen potential of an interstitial ad is the key benefit here. App developers like them as they clearly separate their app from the ad; meanwhile, advertisers enjoy the benefit of having a user’s full attention, allowing them to advertise without hindrance.

With all of that said, interstitial ads must be used with caution. Google has released penalties for interstitial ads that significantly intrude on a user’s experience. These include interstitial ads that require being closed before access to the central content is granted, and interstitial ads that are found on the web and in apps where the ad stays above the fold — the main content is only accessible when a user scrolls down to view it.

In other words, employed correctly, interstitial advertising can be very beneficial, but it needs to be used responsibly. Advertisers need to remember that you annoy a mobile user at your peril. Integrating interstitial ads that enhance the experience will always be the key to success, and the mobile user will reward advertisers and developers in return.

Interstitials can have downfalls too if not used following some best practices. Without following the rules and recommendations below, your ads may generate less traffic and conversions, and apps may see lower user retention.

Some best practices

Consider whether interstitial ads are the right type of ad for your app.

Interstitial ads work best in apps with natural transition points. The conclusion of a task within an app, like sharing an image or completing a game level, creates such a point. Because the user is expecting a break in the action, it’s easy to present an interstitial ad without disrupting their experience. Make sure you consider at which points in your app’s workflow you’ll display interstitial ads and how the user is likely to respond.

Pause the action when displaying an interstitial ad.

It’s important to make sure that when your app displays an interstitial ad, it also suspends its use of some resources to allow the ad to take advantage of them. For example, when you make the call to display an interstitial ad, be sure to pause any audio output being produced by your app.

Allow for adequate loading time.

It’s also important to make sure the user doesn’t have to wait for them to load.

Don’t flood the user with ads.

While increasing the frequency of interstitial ads in your app might seem like a great way to increase revenue, it can also degrade the user experience and lower clickthrough rates. Make sure that users aren’t so frequently interrupted that they’re no longer able to enjoy the use of your app.

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