There are many factors that influence the success of an effectively monetized website, which we discuss across our PROP pages, but which display ad formats perform the best and how do you choose which one is the right one for your campaign? They all essentially do the same job which is to create revenue opportunities within the content of a website or app in a way that is in harmony with the user experience (UX) of the content being consumed. There are many display advertising specialists who can help you but let’s have a look at what formats are available.

  • Banner Ads
  • Interstitial Ads
  • Native Ads
  • Rich Media Ads
  • Skins
  • Video Ads

Banner Ads

This is a traditional choice and these come in different shapes and sizes and are strategically placed within the layout for optimum results without compromising user experience (UX). They are usually placed in the header (leaderboard), sidebar (Skyscraper) or between content sections (MPUs). These units can also be static or animated in line with the design and placement that is needed for your content. Find out more

Interstitial Ads

Interstitial ads are full-screen ads that cover the entire interface of the web page. To maximise their harmony with UX, they generally display at natural transition points, appearing in the flow of an app, such as between activities or content sections or between levels in a game.

Native Ads

Native ads are component-based ads that are styled to present on page as seamlessly as possible. When executed correctly, this form of display advertising is so aligned with the page content and assimilated into the design that even though the viewer knows they’re ads, they feel the ads belong there. This provides a better UX for your visitors.

Rich Media Ads

Rich media ads include advanced interactive features such as video, audio, or other elements that can significantly enhance user engagement. This in turn has a positive effect 

on UX creating an environment where readers want to stay longer. Due to their complexity, their implementation typically requires more advanced technical skills.


Skins are great for setting a theme and can be static or animated, taking up the entire background of the page you’re visiting and acts as a frame that the page content sits in. Different image sizes are used to ensure that it works when optimised across desktop, mobile and tablets. Great for branding and maximum impact campaigns.

Video Ads

In recent years video ads have become increasingly popular because they are exceptionally engaging and captivating, having a positive impact on UX. Publishers integrate video players onto the website and ads are set to play before (pre-roll), part way through (mid-roll), and after (post-roll) the video has finished. These ad units can appear like advertising you see on TV but will be a shorter version online than on TV.

Who Sets The Standard Ad Formats?

The standard ad formats are set by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and these are 300×250, 728×90, 320×50, 120×600 and 300×600. These are popular by default because following IAB guidelines means they will optimise to fit almost all devices without needing to worry about the differences between desktop and mobile etc.

The highest impact formats are generally rich media ads which generate higher click rates, e.g. 970×250 ads, Skins, video ads, 320×480 full page interstitials. These also come at a premium in cost so budget will be an influencing factor.

Display Ad Formats Typically Used By

In reality many of the solutions that we use are hybrids of the ad formats already mentioned above. We do a lot of tailoring when optimising the balanced relationship between revenue and user experience.

We use various forms of banner ads including Leaderboards, MPUs and Double MPUs which often give a good appearance within content and also are commonly used formats and sizes used by the premium advertisers that we use.


This is actually a great solution for any display ad platform because of its popularity. It appears with maximum prominence across the top or bottom of the page and is usually 728×90 pixels.

MPUs and Double or DMPUs

We like the MPU because it’s a versatile, mobile-friendly format that works well cross-platform. It is 300×250 pixels and usually appears on the left or the right side, mid-page. It can be both static or animated. The DMPU is simply twice the size and allows for a very impactful ad where this application allows.

Native In Image Ads

In-Image advertising is a form of native advertising where ads are placed as an overlay at the foot of editorial images on a web page. These ads can also be rich media or video ad units that appear when readers interact with an image by hovering over or clicking it.

Bespoke Rewarded Video Ad

We also create bespoke solutions where we can, and a recent example of this is when we designed a hybrid Interstitial Rewarded Video solution for a gaming site client.

How To Implement Display Ads

To successfully implement display ads, publishers should follow these steps:

Choose Your Display Ad Platform

There are numerous advertising platforms to choose from and they won’t all be right for you. Some specialise in startups, others only cater for larger publishers. One offering a plug and play option is typically good for smaller websites until your traffic grows. Once your traffic reaches a certain threshold, you will need to think about a managed service. Don’t jump and lock yourself into a contract too quickly and rather look around, do your research and don’t succumb to heavy sales tactics. Also be wary of signing up online before you’ve read the smallprint. For larger publishers, display advertising specialists, or Adtech Platforms, offer many benefits such as greater ad inventory, personalisation with bespoke solutions, programmatic options, technical support and scalability.

Define Ad Slots

As discussed earlier on this page, you will need to think about your content layout and how your adverts will display in or around it. Also decide on how many to make available throughout the page. You won’t have as much influence on these decisions with a plug and play as you would when using a display ad platform.

Ad Placement Strategy

This is imperative to get right because with poor execution you’ll end up with adverts that don’t perform very well. UX is the primary consideration so anything that displays needs to be in harmony with the page and not cause issues to the reader or technical problems on the site. An example of these are adverts that pop up when you initially visit a page which have a high chance of making the reader leave. And if you try to load too many adverts to a page, it will be slow. There’s a term called ‘ad fatigue’ where readers become blind to or annoyed by adverts so they’re no longer working. It’s a lot easier to get it right from the outset than try to repair the damage of a bad strategy after the event.

Ad Formats

We’ve discussed the different ad types available and the format they are in is hugely important. Formats need to be visually appealing and resonate with your audience visiting your site. Display ad platforms will have a big inventory of advertisers and within them many different designs. So work with them and make sure you include the ones that are right in terms of visuals and their category. Off the shelf and bespoke solutions are available.

Relevant clean ads around the Beyoncé image
A very poor real example. Too many ads and no content

Performance Monitoring

Data is king. To optimise ad placement and revenue opportunities you need to be constantly monitoring performance with some decent analytics. A good ad platform will provide you with a dashboard where you can see historic and/or live information allowing you to remove guesswork and only make informed decisions.


Because display advertising is such an important source of revenue to publishers, you need to come up with a strategy that fulfils the needs of the reader and presents your advertising in a pleasant way. First you need to come up with the right ads with the right design, displaying correctly on the page. Then you monitor their success and feed it back into your decision making to ensure your execution is always optimised and always improving.

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