How to Choose the Best Digital Ad Formats

Since digital advertising first hit the scene (1994), there’s been a rise in global spending.  

Over the past 2 decades, the scope, range, and reach of digital ad formats have grown into a $325 billion industry

To the extent that Ad Networks are processing up to 150,000,000 impressions in a single day. 

The first banner ad first appeared on HotWired.com (a division of Wired magazine) back in the day.

Adcash - Original Display Banner Ad - courtesy of hotwired.comImage courtesy of Hotwired.com – First Display Banner (1994)

Top Digital Ad Formats

Strong words and a positive premonition of awesome things to come! Many moving parts drive the online advertising machine forward (building, tracking, optimizing, testing). We’ll throw some limelight on the creatives. 

Whilst numbers bring the picture together; it’s the Ad Formats that have the power to make or break a campaign.

The formats are automated and optimized for a host of different regions, payout models, operating systems, and verticals/niches. 

Leave a lasting impression.

Each with its own unique set of features and driving metrics that make it leave a lasting impression in the mind of the user, generating the best clickthroughs, conversions, signups, or any other impression that can be tracked and monetized. 

There is a massive pool of online ad formats catering to different sites (Google, Facebook, Youtube, etc.). But, we’re going to swing the focus to the original online Banner Ads (or Display Advertising). 

Types of Digital Ad Formats

From Interstitial and Native to Banner, Push, and the high visibility Pop-Up, digital ad formats are lasting features.

Adblocker technology continues to crack down and limit the flow of ads to different websites. 

But, so too do online advertisers continue to refine their efforts and grow their traffic to optimum performance.

This is our pick for the top digital ad formats in the market today. 

In-Page Push

Adcash - In-Page Push Ad Format

This leading format is the 2.0 version of the original Push Notification. 

These alert-like ads are meant to mimic the traditional push notification in their design.

They are well-targeted, engaging, and less intrusive to the overall end-user experience.

Increasing the Advertisers’ onsite performance and the Publishers’ earnings, blending high-quality UX with market-tested returns. 

This format is red-hot, with loads of websites using it to monetize traffic, regardless of the content they’re running/hosting or the vertical they’re in. 

What sets them apart is that they are shown directly to a Publishers’ website (once the advertiser has won the bid).

They also give advertisers multiple targeting options and the ability to reach new audiences. 

Pop-Under Ads

Adcash - Pop-Under Ad Format

Pop-under ads offer huge potential for advertisers to increase awareness and publishers to maximize their earning potential. 

By appearing behind the browser window of the end-user, the ads seamlessly integrate into the UX flow.

Staying behind the scenes until the user logs out of what they’re doing.

As the last thing the user sees before exiting the website, they also stay top of mind for the future. 

Pop-Unders are also an effective way to bring in the highest publisher RPMs. They can also be tailored and optimized according to their display frequency. Check out 5 Reasons Why Pop-Unders are so Effective.

Push Notifications

Adcash - Push Notification Ad Format

First coming to the game in and around 2009, Push Notifications are a strong monetizing mechanism in any digital marketer’s toolkit. 

Having been a format leader for 12 years and counting, Push Notifications have brought incredible results for both advertisers and publishers alike. 

These alert-like notification ads are directly delivered to the end user’s device or browser. They are known for their high visibility, intuitive engagement, and resulting click-through rates (CTR).

Push Notifications are eye-catching and immediately grab attention while not being too intrusive.

A bonus is that the format doesn’t take up any onsite space and can be hosted on any webpage seamlessly. 

Interstitial Ads

Adcash - Interstitial Ad Format

Known as a Cure for Banner Blindness, Interstitials appear while a website or page is loading. The time between browsing is used to reach the end-user with an immersive, tailored, and engaging ad experience.

The ad also has a hard-coded 5-second countdown window, meaning a guaranteed delay in exit times and a stronger potential to monetize with. 

Interstitials are an extremely versatile and cost-effective ad format for advertisers and deliver maximum exposure in return for a minimal investment. 

By the same token, publishers are given unique features and filters to create a better site experience (which ultimately comes with higher earnings).

With larger display frames and high-quality visuals, Interstitial Ads are designed for maximum visibility and reach.

Choose between the full screen or overlay option and keep the composition of your site at an all-time high. 

Native Ads

Adcash - Native Ad Format

Native ads are still as effective today as they were 10 years ago and remain an incredibly effective way for advertisers to promote products and services online. 

The format itself blends seamlessly with the surrounding onsite content, working tirelessly to generate high engagement rates and conversions along the way. 

When onsite, Native Ads are regarded as less intrusive and provide publishers with an easy way to boost their ad revenue.

Not only does this equate to higher monetization, but the lack of UX interference keeps the audience on-site for longer and brings in new prospects along the way. 

These ads can blend perfectly with the audience’s experience. Matching the look, form, and function of the site that they appear on. 

Banner Ads

Adcash - Banner Ad Format

And last but not least, we’ve got the original Display Banner. Known for versatility and top delivery.

Skyscrapers

A tall and narrow banner type, available for both desktop and mobile web. Typically placed to the side of the page content for higher exposure and increased visibility. 

Rectangles

Compatible with almost any operating system globally, the rectangle banner is what you first think of when it comes to digital advertising.

Versatile, flexible, and constantly adapting to the requirements of the web page, Rectangles are mobile-web compatible and by far the most commonly utilized format. 

Leaderboards

This top-performing Display Banner is usually placed at the top of a webpage for maximum visibility and reach.

These are more often than not the first ad a website user sees when logging onto the site.

Appearing above the content rollout, the formats are uniquely eye-catching, larger than life, and easy to read. 

There are plenty of digital ad formats to boost your strategy. The challenge is knowing which strategies to deploy. Here are 3 of them!

Try Diversifying your digital ad formats.

Using multiple ad formats (and AB testing your results) will help maximize your reach.

The more popular the format is among advertisers, the higher you need to bid to increase the likelihood of reaching your target audience.

Spread your digital ad format budget

Strike a balance between allocating your budget to pricier variants whilst also spreading it across multiple sources.

Some publishers restrict specific formats, such as interruptive types.

What if a publisher’s traffic is your target audience, but the formats you deploy are restricted?

Viewability should also factor into your campaign strategy.

Your audience may use mobile devices, which will influence the format.

Monitor your digital ad format disruption tolerance. 

As a Publisher, You’ll need to take control of your traffic’s onsite experience. Generally, the higher the value of your onsite content, the higher your users’ disruption tolerance tends to be.

If you’ve ever visited an unregulated streaming site or similar, you were likely bombarded with dozens of site-under ads. The reason being, site under’s typically have the highest payouts.

As a rule, the higher the user disruption, the higher the payout will be. A strategy like this can only work if the content’s value outweighs the poor/average user experience. 

But, as a website owner, your onsite content and resulting monetization strategy will most likely be completely different.

You need to analyze your content and UX in detail, finding the balance between payout potential and the end-user experience. 

And lastly, follow your own audience/traffic source

There is a wealth of data available today for both publishers and advertisers to gain the upper hand.

That said, these trends are affected by your audience or traffic. You’ll need to know your audience. 

Whether advertiser or publisher, you must understand the overall trends, follow feedback, and adjust your strategy accordingly…

All the best for the road ahead; find your format and let us know in the comments below.

Bye for now!

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