Ad Formats
Author: Alise Zaiceva 7 minute read
#Ad Types
All Categories >Ad Formats > Digital Ad Formats | Ultimate Guide

Digital Ad Formats | Ultimate Guide

Many publishers who monetize their websites are aware of the many digital advertising formats available. However, ad formats can look completely different based on the environment they’re being shown in

In this article, you will learn about various digital ad formats and how they differ. This guide is for every publisher who wants to see how many programmatic ads are and which are the most used for mobile and desktop.

What Is Digital Advertising?

Digital advertising is any form of advertising that uses the Internet and digital technologies to reach consumers. This can include programmatic advertising and other forms of online advertising, such as display ads, social media advertising, and search engine advertising. 

Why is digital advertising important?

Digital advertising is important because it enables advertisers to reach vast and diverse audiences. Besides, it allows precise audience targeting and is more cost-efficient than other advertising forms, like TV or print. 

Besides, digital advertising is a lucrative business area, with annual spending in 2023 surpassing 695 bn U.S. dollars. 

Source: Statista

1. Display Ads

Display advertising represents the fundamental category of digital ads, primarily consisting of images and text. These ads commonly appear as banners, landing pages, pop-ups, or flash ads on websites, particularly blogs and publishers’ websites. The primary distinction between display ads and other types is that display ads do not show up on search results. Display ads are generally cost-effective and straightforward to deploy through ad networks.

  • Banner Ads

One of the most popular ad formats available. They usually have static elements–images or text. This ad format is less intrusive than other ad formats, and users usually click on them intentionally. 

They are lighter than the rich media and video ad formats, meaning they can load faster and appear on the site quicker.

  • Sticky Ads

Sticky ads are automatically hidden if there is a banner beneath, and they usually are in-view when a user scrolls the page. There are no ads on top of each other on desktop and mobile devices. Sticky ads can be easily hidden by clicking the close button in the corner of the ad. 

Sticky ads have higher CPMs than banner ads, so they help to increase the publisher’s ad revenue.

Learn more: Best-Performing Banner Ads for Publishers

2. Native Ads

Native ads ‘blend’ into the publisher’s content because they appear where they fit most naturally. As a result, they mirror the website’s look and feel and provide a non-intrusive advertising experience. Native ads usually appear in social media feeds or as promoted search results. 

Native ads are custom-made for every page, including video, recommendation blocks, promoted listings, and more.

Learn more: Native Ads vs Display Ads | Everything You Should Know

3. AMP Ads

AMP ads are mobile ads faster and lighter than standard banner ads. These ads are capable of loading within ≈1 second. AMP ads are built using AMP Open Source components and do not contain arbitrary JavaScript. They can be displayed on AMP and non-AMP pages and are safe from malware.

Learn more: AMP ADS: What They Are and How To Get Started?

4. Rich Media Ads

  • Interstitial Ads

Interstitial ads are interactive, full-screen ads that are displayed when a user switches to another page. They increase a website’s ad diversity, minimize banner blindness, and improve overall ad engagement. This ad format has higher CTRs compared to standard ad formats. 

Interstitial ads include not only images but also animated content. They have limited frequency capping to reduce intrusiveness.

Learn more: What are Interstitial Ads and Should You Use Them

5. Online Video Ads

Video is a highly efficient advertising format, boasting higher CTR than traditional advertising. This format is gaining substantial popularity, benefiting from faster internet connections and the expanding dimensions of mobile screens. The primary challenge for video, however, is user resistance to pre-roll formats, which are frequently blocked by ad blockers. 

  • Instream Video Ads 

Instream video ads appear inside pre-existing video content and require a video player. Publishers are usually paid on CPV (Cost per View) or CPM basis. 

Instream video ads can be linear and appear before (pre-roll), during (mid-roll), or after (post-roll) a pre-existing video content. They are typically from 6 seconds up to a minute long, but viewers can skip them after 5 seconds.

Alternatively, instream ads can also be non-linear which are just image or text overlays that appear during video content playback. 

Finally,  instream ads also come as companion ads that appear around the video player. A popular platform where such ads can be found is YouTube. 

  • Outstream Video Ads

Outstream video ads are designed to play outside of video content and do not require a separate video player on the publisher’s website. They don’t prevent the viewers from seeing the content as users can scroll past them or dismiss them. Publishers get paid when the video is viewed for at least 2 seconds.  

Outstream video ads can appear as in-read feed placements with an autoplay video that usually stops when the user scrolls through. 

They can appear as sticky slider ads, also known as sticky mini player. This player slides in or fades in at the bottom of a page and sticks to it while users scroll. 

Learn more: Outstream Video Ads | Advantages and Disadvantages

6. Social Ads

Social media ads are one of the most engaging and effective formats of digital advertising since they have an enormous audience of engaged users. Besides, social ads take into account the platform’s environment and utilize native formats. Paired with effective targeting, these ads bolster huge user engagement and interest being consumed as content. 

  • Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are essentially paid posts that advertisers use to promote their products or services to Facebook users. These ads can appear anywhere throughout the app, including in fees, Stories, Messenger, and Facebook Marketplace. 

These ads come in a wide range of formats, such as carousels, product catalogs, and more.

Source: Buffer

  • Twitter Ads

Twitter (X) ads are clearly built to be as native as possible so users can interact with them in the same way they do with organic content. These ads come in the form of Promoted Ads, Follower Ads, and Trend Takeover and are shown to both logged in users and those who are logged out of Twitter. 

Source: X

  • Instagram Ads

Instagram ads are posts advertisers can pay to serve to specific target groups on Instagram.

Similarly to Facebook, these ads appear in users’ feeds, Stories, Reels, and on explore pages and are always marked ‘Sponsored’. 

Instagram ads contain images, videos, carousels, or collections (dynamic product galleries).

Source: Forbes

  • TikTok Ads

TikTok ads are a form of promoted content (usually full-screen videos) shown on the TikTok platform. Usually, these ads are utilized by brands or creators to display a product to a specific target audience.

There are various types of TikTok ads, including in-feed ads, brand takeover ads, top view ads, branded hashtag, branded effects ads, and collection ads.  

Source: LeadsBridge

Final Thoughts

Inventive ad formats help publishers diversify their user experience and keep users engaged for longer. They’re also less prone to banner blindness, and as a result, generate more ad earnings. For advertisers, utilizing these formats is also a win, as they can get their ads in front of the right eyes with creative ads. However, make sure that your displayed ad formats comply with Google policies to avoid unnecessary penalties.

About Alise Zaiceva
Alise is a content marketing manager at Setupad. She’s passionate about content and helping publishers scale their businesses through powerful digital marketing strategies. In her free time, she expands her knowledge of tech.

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