App Installs: Interstitial Ads vs. Banner Ads Blog

There are various channels you can use to drive app installs. Using the Google Display Network (GDN) is one of the popular ones in Performance Marketing. Today we take a look at Banner Ads & Interstitial Ads to see which one’s better.

Image Ads on the Display Network

Image ads on mobile devices are similar to normal image ads that you’d see on a desktop computer.

These ads on mobile devices can be used for promotions on mobile website or on an app.

Every image size that is accepted for ads running on desktops is also accepted for ads on mobile devices.

Image ads can displayed as banner ads or interstitials in mobile apps.

In the blog below I have tried to cover some of the following:

1.Basics of Interstitial Ads and Non-Interstitials (Banner Ads) along with pros and cons of each ad type.
2. Highlights of Google’s say on interstitial ads.
3. For the Marketers / Advertisers / Brand
    a. Approach to these ad types.
    b. What you should choose to promote your App.
    c. What is the ideal campaign structure that will help you get the lowest CPIs and how to further scale on these campaigns?

Introduction to Interstitial vs Non-Interstitial Ads

Interstitial ads are full screen ads  that cover the interface of their host application.

They’re typically displayed at natural transition points in the flow of an application, such as between activities, during the pause between levels in a game, between screens or pages in an app.

They often freeze on the screen for a select number of seconds until an “x” out button presents itself.

These are full-screen ads that tend to have higher click through rates than banner ads, but may have a higher CPC.

Interstitial Ad sizes for mobile phones: 300 x 250, 320 x 480, and 480 x 320.

Interstitial Ad sizes for tablets: 1024 x 768 and 768 x 1024.


Image Source

Pros of Interstitial ads 

  • Interstitial ads overcome mobile’s biggest hurdle – limited real estate – by consuming the entire screen.
  • Unlike banner ads, interstitials force users to interact by clicking out or clicking through the ad.
  • Due to these actions, interstitials grab users’ attention and maintain high conversion rates.

Cons of Interstitial ads 

  • Interstitial ads hinder users from completing a desired action by forcing them to stare at the ad until they can click out.
  • Many users find this irritating, so integrating too many of these mobile ads may lead to app uninstalls.

Why Mobile Interstitials?

Gaining undivided user attention is a marketer’s utopia.

In an age of dwindling attention spans – a direct result of more and more emerging connected devices – audiences are often distracted by something else. By making the most of available space on the screen. Whether a user is on a Smartphone or tablet, advertisers are more likely to maximize user attention.

These ads also help encourage engagement, click-through and ultimately, conversions.

An interstitial ad provides the user with the option to close the ad and get back to the intended content.

Interstitial Ad most likely appears:

  • Either prior to the app launch
  • In between app levels
  • Before a user exits the app

The ad’s interference with the main app content is also minimal.

As users intend to continue using the app, attention for the interstitial ad is guaranteed.

Banner ads appear as a small strip or “banner” across the top of an app page or screen. They’re the most commonly used ad format for mobile.

Banners, or display ads, are small advertisements usually at the top or bottom of the screen. They are the go-to choice in mobile advertising at the moment.

Sizes for mobile phones and tablets: 320 x 50, 468 x 60, 728 x 90, and 300 x 250.


Pros of Banner Ads

Banner ads are cost effective and easy to create, so advertisers can push them out quickly. Users don’t mind them, as they can still interact with the app, uninterrupted.

  • Banner Adsare less intrusive
  • Banner ads are cost effective & easy to create
  • They do not require additional steps to see content
  • They can be ignored or used without interruption
  • Banners don’t make people mad (interstitials do)

Cons of Banner Ads

When was the last time you clicked on a banner ad?

Banners are small ads with even smaller text on a small screen, so they are not visually compelling on mobile.

They have notoriously low engagement rates: the average is a 0.1% CTR. 

In Display App campaigns on Google Adwords, ads will show both as banners and interstitials.

If user only wants to run interstitials, then we can go to the Display Network tab in AdWords and click +Exclusion under ‘Campaign exclusions’.

Select ‘GMob mobile app non-interstitial’ to exclude banner ads from your mobile app campaign.

Performance of Banner Ads

Studying over 1000 campaigns across accounts, below are some of the performance insights.


Banner ads delivered the best conversions for lifestyle apps. (2.03%).

Interstitial Ads delivered the best conversion for games (3.05%)


Banner ads worked best for classified apps (2.8%)

Interstitial Ads delivered maximum conversions for social and entertainment apps (2.72% and 2.28%)

In general, interstitials are most effective while promoting games, social and entertainment apps.

Google’s Outlook on Interstitial Ads

Hot News: Google Search Penalize Mobile Sites with Interstitial Ads

What Google says: “Instead of full page interstitial Ads, we recommend that webmasters use more user-friendly formats such as app install banners. We hope that this change will make it easier for searchers to see the content other pages they are looking for.”google-interstitial-ads

Image Source

Does this impact all types of app ads?

No. This update isn’t outlawing all ways of promoting an app via your mobile site.

It’s specifically designed to dissuade webmasters from using large interstitials that cover ‘significant’ amounts of the web page’s content.

Smaller banner ads that don’t disrupt the user experience will still be deemed mobile friendly.

Marketers Approach to these Ad types

The success of these ad types will depend solely on the app type being promoted and the objective behind them.

It is generally advisable to run interstitials while promoting an app where as banner ads are much useful for in-app events on the app.

As a marketer it is highly recommended that you try both the ad types from different campaigns/Ad-Group keeping the targeting similar across campaign/Ad-group.

Run a lot of A/B tests on these ad types in order to optimize these ads and improve CTRs, CPCs and hence better CPIs.

Pushing extra marketing budgets on the ad types where we see better CPIs while further optimizing the campaigns by frequently changing the content on the Ads and further enhancing on the targeting.

What do you prefer – Interstitial or Banner Ads? Let us know in the comments section!


Authored by: Rajat Jain | Sr. Business Anaylst

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