Interstitial Ads – Best Practices for 2023

Interstitial ads are probably the most often used ad format that you can find in mobile apps. This is largely due to the fact, that they can bring high amounts of clicks compared to banner ads and are easy to install. This makes them one of the best choices for small and big developers alike.

Let’s start with the fundamentals

What Are Interstitial Ads?

An interstitial or an interstitial ad is also referred to as interrupt advertising. Such app advertising is displayed to the user before the actual page is displayed. After a certain period of time the advertisement disappears, the user gets a free view of the contents of the app. This form of advertising is often used in mobile games between breaks of the game flow, i.e. the game over screen. Interstitials have the advantage that – unlike typical banner advertising – the user’s attention is assured. The user usually receives the advertisement on a large scale and either has to hide it manually or wait a certain amount of time until the advertisement is automatically hidden.

Image Source: https://support.google.com/admob/answer/6201350

As you can see in the example, the Interstitial should always be shown after the Content or the Level is over, so that it can be assured that the usage of the app is not interrupted in critical moments. The best practice would be to preload the interstitial as soon as a part of the app is opened and the interstitial is shown after the user has completed this mini task. If the ad is shown during the actual gameplay or usage, the user can be annoyed and stop using your app.

Why Are Interstitial Ads Used?

As a developer who wants to monetize his app with ads, you will find many good reasons to use interstitial ads.

  • The CTR for Interstitials is higher compared to banner ads. The reason for this is most likely the increased size and the complete usage block of the app with the Interstitial. The full size of the ad gives the user only the option to click the ad or skip it. A good placement for the interstitial in high awareness moments during the use of the app can also increase the click rate.
  • The increased size of the ad helps advertisers to create more visually appealing advertising content and create better call to actions.

If users are hindered to finish actions within an app, they are more likely to leave and not use your app again. As user retention is a ranking factor for apps, an increase in uninstalls can harm your app in the long run, so be careful when implementing them.

Interstitial ads for your app – a good choice?

The Google Guidelines for implementing interstitial ads are well explained. Your app needs to have a linear user experience, which means that you need a clear start and stop for the usage, which is often found in mobile games for example with the start and the finish of a level, but not in tool apps like a flashlight.

If your app does not have points where breaks are natural for the user, it’s safer to use banner ads or another app monetization strategy.


Best Practices for Interstitial Ad Usage

If you decide to implement interstitial ads into your app, here are the best practices you should think about.


The Ad Placement is Crucial

The where and when is a major factor for your ads placement. Here is an overview of the best placing practices:

  • You should avoid the loading screen and exiting screen.
  • You can load the ad while the user is actively doing a task in your app, but you should only show it during a natural break of the usage.
  • For gaming apps, this is simple. Place the ad after the level is complete.
  • A/B Test where you place the ad.
  • Try to avoid accidental clicks. If users click without intent, you should replace the ad.
  • Accidental ad clicks can have negative effects on the usage behavior and the retention.
  • Create an overview for your app to find all the possible ad placements.
  • Breaks that the user initiates can also be used to show the ad.
  • In-App Tracking to analyze the user behavior can help to increase the interstitials efficiency.
  • Avoid showing the interstitial during high action phases, especially if you have a gaming app to avoid misclicks.

Ad Frequency is Important

Ad Interstitial Frequency

As app publisher, it is natural that you want to increase the revenue from your app. One misconception that can often be found by small indie developers is that they show ads too often. This is called intrusive advertising and is often a reason for people to uninstall apps. A better practice is to show ads less often, but with better timing. This way, you will increase the click-through rate and with that, your revenue. If your app bombards the user with ads over ads, they will start to avoid your apps, uninstall them, even if they would normally like your content.

  • Don’t place ads after every level if you publish a gaming app. It’s much more effective if you show an ad after a longer period compared to multiple ads per minute. Try to have at least two actions between the ads, as Google suggests.
  • Optimize your ads around the click-through rate for the ads and the retention rate of the app users. Try to avoid to optimize for short term gains if you can retain a user longer and have more revenue in the long run from multiple usages of the app.
  • Avoid ad after ad phases. Only show ads after the user has interacted with your app.

What are your thoughts on interstitial ads?

From my experience, interstitial ads are a very effective ad format if integrated correctly. The major downside is, that a wrong integration or too frequent showing of the ad can harm the user experience and lose your users. But if you can integrate them as shown in the best practice, you will certainly have a good experience as well.

Want to learn more? Check out our other Mobile Marketing Guides:


What are your thoughts? Did you use interstitial ads in your app? Comment below!


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