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Author: Setupad Team 6 minute read
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How are Rich Media Ads Different from Other Ad Formats?

The latest research shows that for 2020 in the US, just more than half of the mobile display advertising was rich media: $31.54 billion

Rich media ads are more dynamic compared to other ad formats like standard display ads. They can expand, float into the page, or play video files.

What is rich media about, and how it differs from other ad formats? What are the benefits and drawbacks for publishers? We have all the answers so keep reading!

What are Rich Media Ads?

Rich media itself is a digital advertising term representing ads that include more interactive content like video, audio, or animation.

Rich media ads increase engagement and help to reduce ”banner blindness” compared to other ad formats. For example, if simple display ads usually include static elements, like pictures or text, then rich media ads are more interactive.

One of the main goals of rich media ads is to increase the engagement of the end-user.

What are Some Types of Rich Media Ads?

There are 3 types of rich media ads:

  • In-page ads;
  • In-stream ads;
  • Out-of-page ads.

Now, let’s look closer at these rich media ads examples. 

3 Types of Rich Media Ads 

In-page AdsIn-stream AdsOut-of-page Ads
Eye-catching banner ads that are displayed on a different ad placement within the page on billboard, leaderboard, or sidebar.

Outstream video ads are also known as an in-page type of ads.
Video ads that are displayed before (pre-roll), during (mid-roll), or after (post-roll) a pre-existing video content.Ads that are usually initiated by user behavior, for example, pop-up and expandable ads.

Related Article: Instream vs Outstream Video Ads

What are the Examples of Rich Media?

There are 4 most commonly usedrich media ads examples:

  • Display ads;
  • Interstitial ads;
  • Expandable ads;
  • Video Slider ads.

Now, let’s look closer at these rich media ad formats. 

Types of Rich Media Ad Formats

The ad formats explained below are the most commonly used rich media advertising examples.

  • Display Ads

This ad format is one of the popular ones in online advertising. Usually, rich media display ads (aka rich media banner ads) are image-based rather than text-based. Those ads are interactive, and they can be displayed on the website’s billboard, leaderboard, or sidebar. Usually, they have high engagement and CTR (click-through-rate) than standard display ads. Rich media effects, like animation, on display ads, happen inside the banner, not outside.

  • Expandable Ads

This type of ad format expands in size when the user triggers it by clicking on it. These ads are time-based, which means that after some time, the ad will retract back.

  • Interstitial Ads

An interactive full-screen ad format that is displayed when a user switches to another page. Interstitial ads deliver a diverse ad experience for users, minimize “banner blindness,” and increase overall ad engagement. This ad format has higher CTRs compared to banner ads, and it can also provide animated content. Learn more about interstitial ads.

  • Video Slider Ads (aka small sticky player)

These ads slide in or fade in at the bottom of a page, and they stick to it while users scroll. They usually increase target audience engagement and give publishers extra inventory without compromising existing ad spaces. To display slider ads, you have to use creatives based on third-party codes. This type of video ad activity is usually offered by oustream, sometimes instream video ad solutions.

Features of Rich Media

Here are features that define how rich media ads differ from other ad formats.

  • Interactive, dynamic, includes audio elements for images, videos, and animations compared to standard display ads that usually include static elements.
  • User action is needed, for example, to play the video or unmute the audio. This leads to a better user experience.
  • Usually, rich media ads are heavier than standard display ads. For rich media, the file size can exceed 200KB.
  • Rich media includes detailed tracking metrics on user interactivity, and it is actually recommended to track users’ engagement with rich media ads.

Rich Media Ads vs. Standard Display Ads

Standard Display AdsRich Media Ads
User ExperienceLess interactive due to static elementsInvolve user interaction with an ad by clicking to play a video or unmuting sound

Cut through the ”banner blindness” effect
File Size≤ 200KB>200KB
File FormatA single .html, .gif, .png, or .jpgMultiple–HTML5, .gif, .png, .jpeg, .mp4, .mov, .jpg
TrackingUsually only tracks a single click-through linkMay track multiple click-through links
CTRLower CTRBetter CTR
Video FormatNoYes
Engagement QualityBetter, as clicks are more organic and intentional*Lower, as clicks tend to be accidental more often
Frequency CappingDisplayed more frequentlyLimited, to reduce the intrusiveness
Bounce RateMediumHigh
Additional FeaturesNoOption to implement polite loading
Source: Google

*Rich media would give more clicks, but the quality might be lower than for standard display ads. Some users tend to close ads as quickly as possible, which sometimes causes accidental clicks.

Benefits and Drawbacks for Publishers


  • Increase in ad revenue due to high CTRs and CPMs. 
  • Are more measurable and scalable. For example, if you have added rich media ad format by yourself, you’ll see the number of users who have viewed the video ad and how long they interacted. Here you can learn how to interpret rich media reporting metrics. However, if you use a monetization partner, you’ll only see the information that’s available on their dashboard.
  • It allows making the website more appealing for users in terms of advertisements.

For example, in Google’s case study with Audi thanks to rich media ads, users spent on average about 30 seconds within the ad.


  • If the publisher displays intrusive ad formats, like pop-up ads, some users might find it annoying and exit the page. Setupad can help you with this by providing non-intrusive rich media ad formats that will fit your site.
  • Since these ads can be a bit heavier, they can take some time to load. It means you are dependent on a user with a good internet connection and your monetization partner that should provide an optimized monetization solution (for example, lazy loading on ads).

Final Thoughts

Rich media ads are the way to go if you display programmatic ads. Remember that sometimes well-placed standard display ads with little CTR can have a lower bounce rate and better engagement. Even though rich media sounds like a good idea for your site, it has to be used carefully and accurately, with capping.

If you are looking for a reliable monetization partner that can serve rich media ads for your site, join Setupad.

About Setupad Team
Setupad Team are experts in programmatic advertising and header bidding.

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