Interstitial Ads

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Definition and function

interstitial ads
Figure: Interstitial Ads - Author: Seobility - License: CC BY-SA 4.0

Interstitial ads are full-screen ads that interrupt users’ visits to a website or app by covering their screen to get their attention. This technique can be categorized as interrupt marketing.

Interstitial ads can be triggered through various actions, e.g. when users access a website or click on a link or a specific area on a site or app. These ads can appear in different formats and contain text, pictures, or sound.

Some formats of interstitial ads are automatically hidden after a set amount of time; others have to be manually closed. The latter variant is often preferred, as users can decide for themselves when to close it.


Ads are everywhere. You encounter them all the time - online and offline. This has led to people becoming accustomed to the sensory overload so they do not perceive advertising messages anymore. Banners and pop-ups in the online and mobile sectors are most affected by this. Experts call this phenomenon “banner blindness”. To counter this and catch a target group’s attention, you can use formats like interstitial ads.

Types of interstitial ads

The most common example of interstitial ads are pop-ups. These are implemented via Javascript and opened in a new browser tab or window. However, there are many other variants that differ in their features and sizes, depending on whether they are used in the desktop or mobile sector.

  • Inline-Interstitials: This kind of interstitial ad is loaded directly into the current browser window.
  • Flash Layer: Works with Macromedia Flash to guarantee good quality even with scaling - no matter which browser is used. This kind of ad covers the original content and thus works like a transparent browser window.
  • Superstitial: Superstitials are a special kind of interstitial ad format created by Unicast. They are interactive and can include many different elements such as images, sound, and text. The design of such ads thus offers almost unlimited possibilities.
  • Pop-under: It opens in a new browser window, but in the background and is therefore less intrusive than a pop-up.
  • Prestitial: Special form of interstitial, used in mobile advertising. It is displayed when accessing the homepage or starting an app before the content has loaded.
  • Video-Interstitial: Popular for in-video overlay ads, mainly using video clips. Particularly common on Youtube.
  • IntelliTXT: The latest and most intelligent type of interstitial. Keywords within the text are highlighted (bold, underline, etc,). When users mouseover these words, a transparent window containing the advertiser’s offer and a link opens. IntelliTXT has a similar appearance to Flash Layers.

Interstitial example

Example of a video interstitial by Grammarly on YouTube

Opportunities and risks for online marketing

Interstitial ads attract relatively high attention by appearing unexpectedly. The fact that they do not compete with classic banner ads and are less affected by banner blindness makes them a suitable option for advertising. Due to their various design possibilities and multimedia character, interstitial ads offer a lot of scope to designers and make ads more diverse. Furthermore, users have few opportunities to avoid advertising.

At the same time, this is a major disadvantage. Interstitial ads might give users the impression that they clicked on a link they did not mean to and make them leave the website or app. In this case, interstitial ads are not actively perceived, but rather confusing for website visitors. In the worst case, interstitials can even increase loading time and leave a negative impression on users, so that they will not visit the website again.

Opportunities Risks
unexpected, high attention, less affected by banner blindness may confuse users and make them leave
various design options are often not actively perceived
few opportunities to avoid them can increase loading times

Opportunities and risks of interstitial ads


Interstitial ads have to be well designed and carefully planned. The most important aspect is high quality and content that is tailored to your target group so that these ads help you reach your goals.

In general, the same principles that apply to any other form of advertising apply to interstitial ads: an appealing design can lower the risk of disrupting users and losing them. But if used correctly, this advertising format can be a good way to stand out from other ads and attract attention.

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