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Interstitial Ads: Should You Be Using Them?

There are dozens of different types of ads you can place across social media platforms, on your own app, and on your website. However, interstitial ads are some of the most effective and potentially frustrating ad types for web users.Interstitial ads grab attention like no other advertisement on the market, but they can also cause your brand to be penalized by Google. With that in mind, let's break down whether you should be using interstitial ads and how you can leverage them effectively.

Interstitial Ads Explained

In a nutshell, interstitial ads are interactive and full-screen advertisements. These ads, unlike others, cover the entire screen or interface of a host app, website, or program.They’re called “interstitial” because they usually take place between content or user actions. For example, one of the most common spots for an interstitial ad to pop up is between two different pages or two different areas of a given website.Interstitial ads are distinguished from other ads like pop-up ads, banner ads, and native ads. Fortunately, interstitial ads can also come in various media types, including video ads, text ads, rich media ads, and more.However, the intrusive and full-screen nature of interstitial ads means you have to use them carefully to avoid irritating your target audience or breaking the rules.

Are Interstitial Ads a Good Idea?

They can be. Many companies use interstitial ads to get the attention of their target consumers in a bolder, more intense way than most other advertisements allow. It's often impossible for someone to ignore an interstitial ad because it takes up the majority of an app or program's screen.Additionally, you can use interstitial ads on both desktop and mobile devices. This makes them versatile and flexible for many companies’ specific needs or advertising goals.However, Google does penalize mobile pages that contain interstitial ads. Why? Because interstitial ads often go against Google’s guidelines.Mobile devices typically have smaller screens than most desktop or laptop computers. Because of this, it can be very difficult or even impossible for someone to close out of an interstitial ad when they don’t want to progress further down the ad’s selling funnel. As a result, interstitial ads can ruin a mobile user’s experience entirely, whereas, with desktop interstitial ads, viewers can simply click out of the advertisement if they aren’t interested in what it is selling.

Interstitial Ad Penalties

Google will penalize your website for an interstitial ad if it takes the following forms:

  • If it starts when an app loads or when a user exits an app (i.e., at the beginning or end of a user’s experience)
  • If the interstitial ad repeats after every individual user action, such as swiping or clicking on objects within an application
  • If the interstitial ad is displayed back to back after a user closes an initial interstitial ad
  • If the ad unexpectedly launches when it is relevant to what the user is doing. For example, if an interstitial ad pops up in the middle of a game.

If your website and interstitial ads are penalized by Google in these ways, you’ll rank less highly with Google’s search engine results and effectively wasting your ad money. Furthermore, you may turn off your target audience from your brand entirely.

Good Locations for Interstitial Ads

Even though some interstitial ads can cause penalties, you can also place them in smart locations and avoid those potential consequences.For the best results, it’s not a good idea to use interstitial ads on mobile devices except for a few exceptions:

  • When the interstitial ad is an age verification shield. For example, if your company sells adult content, you can use an interstitial ad to pop up and verify a user’s identity before they continue
  • When the interstitial ad pops up between different pages. Note that if you don’t want your ad to be penalized, you can’t place the ad on a page that shows up with a Google search

Why Use Interstitial Ads?

Some business owners may wonder why they should bother with interstitial ads given their potential penalties from Google.But these ad types do come with a lot of benefits. They’re extremely popular because they have a high impression rate relative to other ad types. When combined with a great video commercial or ad, for example, an interstitial ad could lead to excellent returns for your marketing budget.Interstitial ads are also perfect for mobile apps and raising brand awareness for mobile companies. If your main product is a mobile app or user experience, interstitial ads could be the way to go just because of their high impression rate. Naturally, a high impression rate also leads to a higher click-through rate and increased conversion across the board.

Best Practices for Using Interstitial Ads

Since interstitial ads can be effective, let’s break down some of the smartest practices you should leverage when crafting and placing your ads.

Make the Flow Seamless

To start, ensure that your interstitial ads integrate seamlessly with the rest of the user’s experience on your website or mobile app. In other words, the ad shouldn’t break the user experience or the theme of their customer journey so far.Say that your customer is already looking at an "About" page for your website. Don't pop an advertisement up when they click on a potential product page, as you'll just annoy them and may inspire them to leave your website.Instead, it may be wiser to place a video interstitial ad at the beginning or home page of your website demonstrating the value of your flagship product. Furthermore, any interstitial ads you place should appear before a page break or before a button that the user is required to click appears.

Be Smart About Timing

Think about when a good time might be for an interstitial ad to appear. If you think that the video interstitial ad you’ve created would be annoying to your target audience, err on the side of caution and leave it out.Instead, save your interstitial ads for breaks in the action or when a customer reaches the bottom of your mobile app’s page or interface. Furthermore, don’t make your interstitial ads too long. Just like Instagram ads have to be the right length, so too do interstitial marketing pushes.

Only Use Interstitial Ads if Necessary

While interstitial ads can be effective, they aren’t the only tool in your toolbox. You can leverage plenty of other ads that don’t risk irritating your target consumers or driving people away from your website.If you think that long-form, high-quality video content might be a better choice to get people interested in your brand and convert them into paying customers, skip interstitial ads and the potential risks they bring.


Interstitial ads are a complex topic, and they take quite some consideration before you know whether they are a good fit for your website or mobile app. If you need further help deciding whether or how to use interstitial ads, contact VisCap Media.We’re visual media experts, and we may be able to help you craft converting, engaging video content for interstitial or other ads for your brand. Best of all, we’ll make sure that none of your ads are annoying or drive people away from your business.SourcesInterstitial ads - Android | GoogleHelping users easily access content on mobile | GoogleImprove Interstitial Placement Click Quality - Audience Network | Facebook

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