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12.5: Types of display adverts

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    There are many different ways to display adverts in digital. Here are some of the most common options.

    Banner adverts

    A banner advert is a graphic image or animation displayed on a website for advertising purposes. Static banners are in GIF or JPEG format, but banners can also employ rich media such as video, JavaScript, HTML5 and other interactive technologies; these allow the viewer to interact and transact with the banner. Banners are not limited to the space that they occupy; some banners expand on mouse-over or when clicked. Some can capture data within the banner.


    Google AdWords offers a rich media banner advert builder. You can find it in the ‘Ads’ tab in the AdWords account interface.

    Standard banner sizes

    There are standard sizes (measured in pixels) for static, animated and rich media banner adverts. Creating banners in these sizes means the ads can be placed on many websites; advertisers sell space in these sizes as well. And here, size (both dimensions and file size) does matter, you can expect varying rates of clickthroughs and conversions across the range of sizes. Bigger is usually better, but if you want to know what works best for your brand, test.


    Start with the most common banner size.

    Banner sizes available on the Google Display Network include (all sizes are in pixels, Width × Height):

    • Banner (468 × 60)
    • Mobile leaderboard (300 × 50)
    • Leaderboard (728 × 90)
    • Small square (200 × 200)
    • Skyscraper (120 × 600)
    • Wide skyscraper (160 × 600)
    • Square (250 × 250)
    • Medium rectangle (300 × 250)
    • Large rectangle (336 × 280).

    Banners may be animated, static or Flash, but must be under 150k in file size.

    All adverts need to be supplied with a destination URL. Some rich media adverts allow for multiple destination URLs.

    Interstitial banners

    Interstitial banners are banners shown between pages on a website or, more often, between screens on an app. As you click from one page to another, you are shown this advert before the next page is displayed. Sometimes the advert can be closed.

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Interstitial ad between screens on a mobile app Adapted From Screenshot, App ad, 2017

    As of 10 January 2017, Google may rank sites lower if they use pop-ups and interstitial ads, since users tend to dislike those ads. This should reduce the number of advertisers using these ad types over time.

    Pop-ups and pop-unders

    As the name suggests, these are adverts that pop up, or under, the web page being viewed. They open in a new, smaller window. You will see a pop-up straight away, but will probably become aware of a pop-under only after you close your browser window.

    These were very prominent in the early days of online advertising, but audience annoyance means that there are now ‘pop-up blockers’ built into most good web browsers. This can be problematic as sometimes a website will legitimately use a pop-up to display information to the user. Pop-ups still occur now and then on mobile phones or when visiting somewhat unethical sites.

    Floating adverts

    This advert appears in a layer over the content, but is not in a separate window. Usually, the user can close this advert. In fact, best practice dictates that a prominent close button should be included on the advert, usually in the top right hand corner. Floating adverts are created with DHTML or Flash, and float in a layer above a site’s content for a few seconds. Often, the animation ends by disappearing into a banner advert on the page. Many sites these days are using pop-ups to encourage newsletter signups or social media likes rather than to advertise products.

    Figure \(\PageIndex{2}\):A floating ad on mobile Adapted From Screenshot, Fusion mobile pop up ad, 2017

    Remember: your goal is to inform and motivate customers, not annoy them. Floating ads should be engaging and easy to close.

    Wallpaper adverts

    This advert changes the background of the web page being viewed. It is sometimes possible to click on an advert of this type, but not always. The effect of these adverts is difficult to measure as there is often no clickthrough, and its chief purpose is branding.

    Map adverts

    This is advertising placed on an online map, such as Google Maps. This type of advert is ideal for local businesses and is usually based on keyword searches for the brand’s offering.

    Video adverts

    This is a video advert in one of the formats shown above. It starts to play on mouse over, or on arriving at a site.

    Native content

    Native content advertising is the online version of Advertorials. This is where the advertiser produces content that is in line with the editorial style of the site, but is sponsored or in some way product endorsed by the brand; video is an increasingly popular method of native advertising. Great examples of this exist on More on this later in the Native advertising section.

    Figure \(\PageIndex{3}\): Native content from McDonald’s Adapted From Screenshot, McDonalds native ad on Fusion, 2017

    Sponsored Content

    Sponsored content advertising exists at the bottom of articles you read online. This is where the ‘suggested articles’ posts appear and in most cases, this is paid-for promotion. Advertisers pay to have their content promoted under certain categories of sites or articles.

    This page titled 12.5: Types of display adverts is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Rob Stokes via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.