The Most Important Things You Need To Know About Interstitial Ads
Find out more about what interstitial ads are, how much they pay, and some tips on how to use them in your game monetization strategy.
Jovan Ristic

If you were around for the early days of the Internet, you no doubt remember pop-up ads. One of the earliest forms of online advertising, pop-up ads were designed to take over a portion of a website in a separate window that pops up unprompted.  Although there were other types of online ads to date, pop-up ads quickly became the most reviled by web users. They were intrusive and often impossible to close.

Eventually, the general consensus among users and advertisers alike was that pop-ups were simply not a productive way to advertise. Soon enough, pop-up blockers appeared on the market as a way to prevent the frequent intrusions pop-up ads posed. As such, pop-ups fell out of favor, and the industry moved on to other forms of online advertising, such as different types of banner ads.

However, that doesn’t mean pop-ups are gone completely. They’ve just evolved into a different, less intrusive, and more versatile type of advertising known as an interstitial ad.


What Is An Interstitial Ad?

Interstitial ads are designed to take up the entire screen. You’ll most often encounter them on mobile devices when a user is trying to access a website or app. At first, interstitials are indistinguishable from regular website or app content. Other times, interstitial ads are apparent because they’re full screen and block access to the content of the site you visit or the app you use.

In mobile games and apps, an interstitial is usually a full-screen image or interstitial video. The players can skip them after watching for a determined amount of time.

Mobile Interstitial ads usually appear during natural breaks and transitions, such as between levels or activities.

How Do Interstitial Ads Work?

Interstitial ads are full-screen ads that appear in the form of interstitial video, text, rich media, or images.

Users can choose to close an interstitial ad after a certain watching period. The length varies from one ad network to another. However, 5 seconds is the most commonly seen standard. Some interstitials may even offer an option to close them immediately.

Once the mandatory watch time expires, players have a few options. They can either close the ad, watch it through to the end or tap it and visit the advertised page or ad. If they stick through to the end, the ad will usually show players an end card containing a call to action.

Interstitial Ads in Numbers

According to DeltaDNA, Interstitial ads are used by 57% of all game publishers. This makes them the second most popular format after rewarded video ads. These two formats are also most commonly used together. Interstitials are used more in casual and hyper-casual games (63%) but are pretty popular among hardcore & mid-core developers (47%).

The US has the highest interstitial ad eCPM, with $9.64 on iOS and $10.11 on Android, according to Appodeal. Japan follows it with $6.86, Australia with $5.98 on iOS, Australia with $8.62, and Canada with $7.41 on Android.

The Benefits Of Interstitial Ads

Interstitial ads can have many benefits for your app’s monetization strategy. They offer higher eCPMs compared to other ad formats such as banners.

Here are some of the most compelling reasons to use interstitials:

  • Diversify Your Ad Offer. Interstitial ads can help combat “banner blindness” by increasing the app’s ad diversity. Since interstitials are full-screen, they are more likely to engage the user compared to other, less prominent ads.

  • High Revenues. Interstitial eCPM and CTR are higher than that of banner ads. When implemented correctly, interstitials can help increase the developer’s revenue.

  • Higher Engagement. With interstitials, developers have complete control over who, when, and how often a player sees these ads. This way, the developers can basically ensure that they have ads shown to as many users as they want. This fact, coupled with a good capping strategy, can ensure high revenues for the developer without compromising the user experience side of things.

What Are Interstitial Ads’ Biggest Challenges?

Interstitial ads have a lot going for them but can also present challenges. Below you can see the most significant challenges often associated with interstitial ads.

  • They Can Be Penalized. Interstitials are essential to any game monetization strategy. However, it’s crucial to use them correctly. Google has penalized developers in the past for using intrusive interstitials, which can ruin the user experience. Make sure to place interstitials only at critical moments, such as after a game or level is complete. Avoid using the same ad repeatedly, placing interstitials upon app load and exit, and unexpected interstitials in the middle of a player’s action if you don’t want to be penalized.

  • Users Don’t Choose To See Them. Unlike rewarded video ads, users don’t choose when or if they see interstitial ads. This may make them feel more intrusive and impact the retention rates.


How Much Do Interstitial Ads Pay?

How much interstitial ads pay depends on the type of game you use them in. Games can primarily earn revenue from ads (anywhere from 50% to 100% of their revenue) and those that earn revenue from in-app purchases (IAP). The primary source of income will largely depend on the genre and monetization strategy.

With the correct implementation, interstitial ads can be a great way to monetize your app. By using playable and video interstitials, developers can expect an average eCPMs ranging from $10 to $20 in most tier 1 markets. The average interstitial ad eCPM can range from $4 to $6.

Interstitial Ads Best Practices

The following are some best practices for using interstitial ads:

Don’t Interrupt The Game Flow

Interstitial ads should only be implemented at critical moments, such as after a game or level is complete. Avoid placing interstitials upon app load and exit or in the middle of the action. You can use interstitial ads in-between game sessions or after a level is completed.

Use Event Tracking To Find Optimal Interstitial Times

You can use an analytics tool to track when players open the app, browse the menu, leave the app, and play your game. Understanding how players interact with your app allows you to find the best time to use interstitial ads.

A/B Test Interstitial Placement

Interstitial ads can play a huge role in your app’s success. Still, you need to find the right placement for them. Timing is vital, so run A/B tests on different placements and measure the results. Compare things like ads shown per player, retention, session length, actions taken, and CTR to see what works best.

A/B Test Interstitial Capping and Pacing

Another critical element of interstitial system design is capping and pacing. This means how many ads you are going to show to your users (in an hour/session/day) and how often you show them. A/B testing different caps and frequencies will enable you to achieve a delicate balance. The goal is to maximize your revenue from interstitials and not impact your users’ experience too much (which would be reflected in the negative impact on retention).

Show Interstitial Ads To a Specific User Segment Only

Interstitial ads can be somewhat disruptive to user experience. Therefore, you should be careful who you serve these ads to (much more careful than with rewarded video ads). For example, a general rule of thumb is not to show interstitial ads to users that have made an IAP.

Which Ad Networks Offer Rewarded Video Ads?

All the major ad networks support interstitials. However, the rules for implementing them may vary. Some of the networks that support interstitial ads on Android and iOS include:

  • AdMob by Google
  • Audience Network by Meta
  • UnityAds
  • ironSource
  • Applovin
  • Vungle
  • Fyber
  • AdColony
  • Tapjoy
  • Pangle
  • InMobi
  • MyTarget

However, be careful when considering less known and used ad networks.

Find The Best Interstitial Advertising Monetization Strategy

Now you better understand what an interstitial ad is and when to use them.  You have the fundamental knowledge to implement them into your game monetization strategy for higher CTRs and higher eCPMs.

Are you a developer looking for the winning game monetization strategy? GameBiz Consulting can help you find the best monetization model for your game.

Contact us today for more information about how GameBiz Consulting can help you optimize your interstitial ads to maximize ad revenue!

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