Google's latest algorithm is not a fan of interstitial ads — the search engine now penalizes sites that use “intrusive interstitials” as it calls them. But what are interstitial ads anyways? And can you find a decent alternative to it in the interscroller ad format? Dig in!
Over the past few years, Google gave several warnings about the possibility of banning banner ads or intrusive interstitials as it calls them. While many considered this a bluff, the latest Google algorithm has made this a reality — now Google penalizes sites that use mobile pop-up ads.
For the average mobile internet user, this calls for celebration. However, for publishers and marketers, this is not the case. While this will hurt companies that rely on these advertising strategies, it's important to remember that as marketers, our responsibility is to solve customer pain points, and not create them. Instead of heavily focusing on conversion rates or web traffic, more focus should be on the user experience like Google is doing.
“The single most important thing is to make people happy. If you are making people happy, as a side effect, they will be happy to open up their wallets and pay you.” — Derek Sivers, Founder, CD Baby
This comprehensive article provides a detailed comparison between interstitial and interscroller mobile ads to help you get the most out of these ad formats without crossing the coalition of better ads (CBA) guidelines as well as Google's Better Ads standards.
No time to read the whole article? Watch this short and to the point 2-minute video instead:
What are Interstitial Ads?
There is no one-size-fits-all interstitial ad definition. Put simply, they are a type of banner or rich media ad that suddenly covers the entire smartphone screen, forcing the user to pay attention to the ad. The user is left with no option but to click on a button to either close the ad and proceed with their content or follow up with the ad's demands.
While this can be advantageous for advertisers, for the most part, interstitials have earned a bad reputation among users. To reduce their intrusiveness, they are often placed at natural transition points on a page or app, for instance, between two subtopics. In gaming apps, they are placed between the levels, where you transition to the next one.
Users can skip text and image interstitials by immediately clicking on the close option. For video ads, the close option is usually available a few seconds after the video has started playing.
Interstitial ad example
What are Interscroller Ads?
These mobile ads blend the power of high-impact interstitial ads with scroll interaction. According to this interscroller definition, that means they are not intrusive. Unlike interstitials that often disturb the user experience, interscroller ad format (image, video, or product carousel) is located behind the content and is displayed on the full screen as the user scrolls the page.
When the user scrolls to reveal 85% of the placement, it can snap to take over the entire screen. The user can opt out of the screen simply by scrolling to dismiss the ad. It's also worth noting that interscroller ads earn over 200% more engagement compared to conventional mobile display ads.
Interscroller ad example
Where and How to Implement Interscroller Ads?
This ad format easily integrates with different layouts, thus it's applicable both on mobile and desktop. If you want to advertise your brand without being intrusive, interscroller ads are your best shot. Users appreciate and respect this ad format because it keeps them in control and provides a sense of trust. Therefore in most cases, they would most likely buy the product or service because it's their decision.
Interscroller vs. Interstitial: The Difference [+QUIZ]
Both interscroller and interstitial ads are invaluable marketing resources. With the right application, you don't necessarily have to choose one for the other. Interscroller is subtle and can be used in any situation, anytime. Having more of a native ad look, it wins a point for a better user experience.
Interstitial on the other hand, if applied at the right time and to the right audience, has significantly better chances to grab the user's attention and convert. Poor targeting for interstitials would result in users' frustration, hence advertisers should be cautious when using them.
Check Yourself: Interscroller or Interstitial? [QUIZ]
Now that you know what mobile interstitial and interscroller are, we'll put your knowledge on the test. Guess whether the following are interscroller or interstitial:
Now that you know what mobile interstitial and interscroller are, we'll put your knowledge on the test. Guess whether the following are interscroller or interstitial:
Interscroller or Interstitial?
What are the Benefits of Interscroller Ads?
There are several perks to using these innovative ad formats.
They are not intrusive
Unlike the interstitial banner, interscroller banners are less intrusive. They are noticeable yet easily skippable without disrupting the user experience. That means interscroller ads do not just show up any time unannounced, they give the user more control over their browsing experience and buying decisions. The user can easily scroll past the ad and proceed with their content if they don't want to watch the ad.
They have higher CTRs
Compared to other banner ads, mobile interscroller ads have a higher click-through rate. This is because they place the ad seamlessly within the flow of the content, enabling advertisers to deliver small doses of effective advertising without being intrusive. Research has revealed that these small “gulps” actually work best with how the human brain functions.
In as much as we often frown at distractions, research has revealed that, sometimes, the brain actually needs them to efficiently process information. A study in Psychology Today revealed that students only efficiently focused for three minutes at a time.
Furthermore, since they are subtle and not trying too hard, buyers often trust brands that use interscroller ads. Consumers understand that the brand respects their decision, thus they are more likely to make a purchase without any doubts.
They are interactive
Interscroller ads often include animated content which users find interactive and would love to engage with. This content makes the visitors come for more, and it can also help them in making purchasing decisions. Interactive content also goes a long way in enhancing the conversion rate.
What are the Benefits of Interstitial Mobile Ads
They have better viewability
The fact that interstitials occupy an entire screen means they go beyond the limits of the smartphone's small screen. This gives them better chances at engaging the audience to take action.
They have better conversion rates
Interstitials cannot easily be ignored, therefore, if placed at the right position, and with good timing, they capture the user's attention fully and have a better chance at conversion.
Good for rewarded experiences
Interstitials are often used in games, after completing a specific level and the user is waiting to move to the next one. The user is offered a game reward if they would watch the interstitial video. In this case, interstitials are not intrusive and play very well with the user's consent.
Disadvantages of Using Interstitial Ads
The downside to interstitial ads is that they may hamper the user experience. If the timing and placement are wrong, users may be annoyed, leave the website or uninstall the application.
Moreover, the use of interstitial ads can attract penalties which will negatively affect SEO rankings. If not used per the stipulated best practices, they can also weigh down the ad campaign effectiveness, lower traffic, reduce conversion rate, and sometimes may even result in low user retention.
Interscroller vs. Interstitial Ads CPM Rates in 2021
There are many factors to consider when it comes to CPM rates — device type, location, category, and traffic volume among many others. Thus, it's difficult to determine the CPM rate difference between interscroller and interstitial ad units.
For instance, the interstitial unit CPM rate for iOS devices goes up to $11, whereas Android interstitial ads have a CPM of about $6. It's also important to note that the rates for traffic from the US or the UK will often be higher than that from Asia for both iOS interstitial ads and Android.
Interscroller Interstitial Ads Best Practices
To maximize the potential of your campaigns in 2023, try to implement the following best practices:
Use responsive creatives
Make sure your ads have a responsive design, one that will give users the same quality experience regardless of the device they are using, mobile, tablet, or desktop. It's especially relevant if you are going to run cross-device ad campaigns, where your ad will be shown on all mentioned devices simultaneously. In case you are interested, here is a brief video tutorial on how to launch them on an ad server:
Humans are getting more and more addicted to high-resolution images and videos. That means anything out of their ordinary resolution threshold might not be motivating enough to grab attention.
Make audio optional
The play sound should be muted by default and could be played only if the user wants so. Nothing is more distracting than the loud music playing in a suddenly emerging interstitial video.
Put frequency and timing into consideration
The frequency and timing can affect a user's experience with an application or website. The frequency must be set such that it does not affect the user experience. Users do not fancy intrusive ads, which is why caution is critical when dealing with interstitial ads. Poor timing harms the user retention rate.
A good example of frequency mismanagement is ignoring the frequency capping settings by advertisers. According to Google, a good frequency capping setting is 20 per day, meaning an individual user will not view more than 20 ads in a 24-hour period.
Showing the same ad 3 times in a minute is also a bad idea. The user will quickly get tired of the repetitive content in such a short time span. For this, demand-side platforms have a feature called recency capping, where you set up seconds between two impressions.
Ensure a seamless flow
Remember that wrong positioning can attract penalties from the search engine. Your ads should give the user a linear experience. That means the start and stop points at transitions should be obvious in order to make the flow seamless. Creating unexpected breaks in the process will ruin the experience. The best positioning would be between page breaks or where the user is likely to click to move to the next content.
Direct the users to the landing page
If there is a call to action for a targeted audience, guide them to a dedicated landing page, lest the ad does not serve as intended. Instead of landing them on the general website, direct them to the pages of interest for faster conversion.
Ensure a possibility of ad skipping
Your ads should have a visible “close button.” The same applies to user-initiated expanded ads, they should automatically collapse after a few seconds of the user not interacting with them.
Keep your ad clear and distinct
The ad content should be distinct with clear borders to prevent confusion on the main content.
Alternatives to Interscroller and Interstitial Ads
Ad formats are not only limited to interstitial and interscroller. There are numerous other effective ad formats that you can use for your campaigns. Here are three good examples:
Among the most common ad types are mobile in-feed ads. Their placement is usually within the content feed. That means they are placed as part of the page flow, and they scroll naturally with the rest of the content.
Mobile Expandable Ads
Mobile expandable ads have two states, and by scrolling, you transition from one form to the other. For instance, you can have an infeed format that transitions to fullscreen.
This ad comes in different desktop and mobile sizes, and depending on the size, it takes content and creates multiple ads from it.
Acceptable vs. Unacceptable Advertising in 2021
The following are strongly discouraged:
- Ads that cover the main content, whether this is immediately after the user opens a new page or while they are scrolling through the page.
- An interstitial that forces the user to take action before accessing the main content.
- Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page looks like a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined beneath the fold.
What's not will be affected by the above:
- Banners that only take a small screen space and can be easily dismissed. For instance, pop-ups provided by Safari and Chrome.
How to Promote Your Product Without Ads?
It's possible to promote engagement within your content, without banner ads and pop-ups. There are several other advertising techniques users expect in some form or another when consuming content. Below are a couple of ideas to consider:
In some cases, you can effectively use in-text hyperlinks as calls to action. However, to replace a pop-up ad that has been driving significant lead generation in the past, you might want to use the hyperlinks to point to a dedicated landing page of some kind.
For instance, you can say “Sign up to our mailing list to keep up with the latest news in ad tech,” with a link from the words “sign up.”
“Struggling to find an ad serving & ad management platform to run, track and optimize your ad activities with no discrepancies? Check out our guides, for quick tips and pointers.”
Yes, we literally just used an example as an actual CTA ;)
While prompts can be used pretty much the same way as banner ads, they tend to easily blend in with the rest of the content and are less intrusive for the user. You will find that many website themes already come with shortcodes for prompts, thus they are pretty easy to implement. All you need to make a CTA prompt is a headline, some body copy, maybe an image, and a button.
Here is an example of the engaging prompts we have used on our blog, below is a short quiz for the reader:
Keep in mind that even when using CTA prompts, it's still critical that you follow the same warnings outlined by Google for banners.
How to Set Up Interstitial Ads in Epom White-Label DSP
After the release of our Epom white-label DSP v. 4.7, you can pick interstitial as an ad format of your choice for the new or the ongoing campaign. How is it done? Very simple!
Go to the setting of your existing campaign or create a new one. Once you pick the campaign, you will see the screen below. Here, you need to click on “Add creative”.
Pick interstitial from the list and upload the new image or, use a relevant ad tag that contains invocation code for its creative on the next page.
How to Run Interscrollers in Epom Ad Server?
Even though it's possible to set up interstitials and literally any other ad formats in Epom ad server, interscroller is quite a unique offering here. Moreover, it's available as a template — you won't have to code the banner on your own. So, how to set it up properly through the platform?
Go to the “Advertisers” tab and select the advertiser and the campaign you are interested in. Then, choose to create a new non-standard banner.
In the banner settings, select “Template” from the “Banner Type” and choose Interscroller template, which is the only one down here.
Then, you can upload a hosted creative. In the “Target Selector” field, you will have to pick the element on page, which will contain an interscroller.
Then you go to the “Placements” tab of the newly created banner and match it to the suitable placement, which should be created on the publisher's side.
Interscroller vs. Interstitial FAQ
What are interscroller ads?
Interscrollers are ads that reveal the ad content as the reader scrolls down the visited page. When the user scrolls to reveal 85% of the placement, it can snap to take over the entire screen. The user can opt out of the screen simply by scrolling to dismiss the ad.
How to add interscroller ads to your site?
Adding interscroller ads to your site has become as easy as can be with the use of ad tags. An ad tag is a chunk of code inserted within the webpage. Also known as a creative tag or placement tag, it requests the ad server to show an ad in a certain place.
Click “create a new site” then go to the “publisher” tab and choose/create a publisher.
Create a new zone where your creative will belong.
Within the zone, add a new site placement and specify its details.
When ready, go to other settings for this placement and look for the “invocation codes”
Done! The tag is ready, now copy your ad tag choice and send it to your publisher.
How do interscroller ads look?
How much does it earn for publishers?
Complete interscroller ads running on a page earn 200-400% more than the average ad.
Does interscroller align with the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA) requirements?
An interscroller native ad appears inside the main content of a page and isn't intrusive. Thus you can rest assured they meet CBA's guidelines and aren't penalized by Google. In fact, you might be rewarded with a good ranking for using interscroller ads.
What are interstitials?
These are full-page ads that pop up suddenly when the user is navigating through the content. When the reader closes the ad, the destination page comes up.
What does interstitial look like?
What is the right interstitial ads size?
Interstitial ads cover the entire mobile screen often at the size of 320 x 480 pixels.
How much does a website earn with interstitials?
Interstitial ads have a high view rate, thus they have significant earning potential. Readers cannot get to the next page without viewing and closing the ad, which gives interstitials a better shot at conversion.
Does interstitial align with the coalition of better ads (CBA)?
Yes, interstitials are still relevant with the CBA guidelines as well as Google's Better Ads standards — as long as they have a clear exit option and are shown to the reader not more than once per hour.
What are rewarded interstitial ads?
This is quite a new and unique type of incentivized ad format. In this case, advertisers can offer rewards, such as an extra life or coins for ads that appear automatically during the natural app transition. Note that these should not be confused with rewarded ads — with a rewarded interstitial, the users aren't required to opt-in to view like in rewarded ads
How much do interstitial ads cost and pay?
Considering there are many factors that contribute to interstitial ads eCPM rate, it's difficult to put a solid price. The average revenue per mile (RPM) for androids is the range of 15 cents to $1.50, whereas, for iOS, it is between 20 cents to $2. However, note that this will also vary depending on the location and other factors.
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