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What Are Rich Media Ads? Should You Try Them?

Rich Media Ads
Rich media ads can be a powerful way to increase your click-through rates (CTR) — one of the most deciding factors that determine whether or not the ads are getting exposure and improving ROI for the advertisers. Here's why, how it works, and what you can understand from applying this strategy to your own ad campaigns. Keep reading.

Rich media in advertising is growing in popularity in recent years as they can dramatically improve engagement and CTR on your website. This is why rich ads are becoming more diverse and many publishers see an advantage to them.

So, if you’re a publisher trying to harness the power of digital advertising and explore new avenues of generating revenue on the internet, rich media ads are a great way to be successful. This article will take you through what you need to know to get started with them.

Table of Contents

What are Rich Media Ads?

Rich Media ads are referred to as the ad formats which combine text, images, audio, video, and any other web elements to provide an interactive ad experience to the user. They are an effective format to drive users to the advertiser’s site. Rich media ads are built using HTML5, JavaScript so they can float, expand, etc. Thus, the interactive nature of rich media ads draws in the audience, keeping them engaged with the ad while also encouraging them to take action towards the goal that was established.

Example of Rich Media Ads

The best part is audience behavior like numbers of expansions, exits, and video completion rates (VCR) can be tracked and reported. This, in turn, helps in determining the success of the ad campaign.

Features of Rich Media Ads

There are plenty of rich media ad formats to explore. Before you dive right in, though, it’s important to know which features are available with them.

  • Advanced animations
  • Instant user interaction (due to the presence of dynamic motion)
  • Flash games that can be played instantly
  • Better ad quality and content
  • Technically advanced
  • Increased brand awareness and higher ROI.

Difference Between Standard Ad and Rich Media Ad

Standard Ad Rich Media Ad
Standard ads are simple. They generally include texts with a visual element such as a logo or a graphic. Rich Media ads are creative and they typically have flash games, polling, videos, etc.
Creative size is lesser than <200k The file size is usually higher than 200k
The ad is static with less or almost no interactive elements in it.  The ad is dynamic and highly interactive.
No other technology can be used with a standard ad.  Rich media can coexist with technologies like HTML5, Java, JavaScript.
Click by the user will only take him/her to the advertiser’s page. It has a number of interactions, the ad can expand, pause, float, and the volume can be increased or decreased. The landing page isn’t the only goal.

Types of Rich Media

Here’s a fact. Rich Media ads aren’t as technical as you think. Even a video is considered a rich media ad. Here we listed the top rich media ads that you can run:

1. Banner (Motion Poster)

If you have an ad creative that is fixed, then you can call it a banner. And if it’s dynamic, it is indeed a rich media ad. As you have guessed, banners are the most common type of rich media ads and have higher demand too. Since everyone supports it, more advertisers tend to run it.

Demand: High. Programmatic digital display ads will account for 19% of total digital display advertising last year (in the US region) in 2022 and it will continue to go up. If you wonder why advertisers are spending billions on banners, it is relatively cheap and suitable for campaigns like brand awareness, seasonal offers, etc.

CPM: Medium to High (depends on the audience, publisher, viewability, and other factors). Make sure you segment the audience and employ a first-party data strategy to get the best possible CPMs. Without a doubt, header bidding can be a game-changer.

Loading time: Low. If there are no heavy files to render, loading is quick.

The technology used: Polite download.

2. Interstitial Ads

An interstitial ad is a rich media format that includes many different elements. It supports videos, banners, and other HTML5-based elements. Interstitial ads are mostly full-screen and are displayed at natural transition points (during the pause between different levels in a game or between activities).

Interstitial ads can move with the content or maintain a locked position as a user scrolls on the web page. The “Locked” option is available at the ad trafficking stage. When an interstitial ad is displayed there is an option to either click on the ad and reach the respective page or close it and return to the webpage.

Demand: High. When advertisers realize interstitial ads can yield better viewability and brand recall, the investment in the format started to increase. Almost 20% of the demand is for interstitial.

CPM: High. As the viewability is high, CPMs are usually higher for interstitial ads. However, you need to make sure the user experience isn’t hampered. Remember, almost all internet users hate to see pop-ups and especially when it is relevant you might lose readers.

Loading Time: High.

Technology Used: Video, Polite download, HTML5.

Related Read: What are Web Interstitial Ads and How to get started with them?

3. Expandable Ads

As the name suggests, an expandable ad expands according to its placement on the web page. It is a location-based ad, for example, if an ad is placed on the right side of the web page it automatically expands towards the left side of the page when triggered by user behavior (a mouse click, or tap) and vice versa.

Demand: Low as the format is relatively new to advertising.

CPM: High. MDE ads are user-initiated, depicting that the user is actually interested in viewing the complete or expanded version of the ad.

User Engagement: High. Obviously, the ads when expanded will lead to the best possible recall a brand could have.

Loading Time: High. With the stack of files, images, videos, and audio, loading will take time.

4. Pushdown Ads

Pushdown ads don’t expand in size, it loads as a teaser on the webpage, and on click, tap, or hover, the ad pushes the content of the web page to reveal a larger ad creative. These ads support a variety of engaging creatives that don’t hide the content, thus getting more views than overlaying ad units.

Demand: Medium. The format is new yet gaining traction as it resembles a traditional leaderboard.

CPM: High. As mentioned earlier, a user-initiated ad will tend to have better CPMs.

User Engagement: High.

Loading Time: High. Because of the video and audio files associated with the ad, the user may experience a delay in loading the ad.

Do Advertisers Prefer Rich Media?

As the competition is at its peak marketing professionals have realized that it’s difficult to reach the targeted audience. Buyers are equally aware and are conducting their own purchasing research. Viewers tend to get irritated when they are overloaded with different types of boring traditional ads, this causes a waste of both time and money. This is where Rich Media is considered a powerful tool, offering greater performance than most of the traditional ads.

Rich Media ads are measurable, it allows advertisers to track and evaluate a variety of important browsing behaviors (for example the percentage of video viewed). It also has a higher interaction rate, advertisers can effectively capture the attention of intended customers by prompting them to interact with the online ad and providing them with a more engaging experience.


Rich media ads have been trying to make advertising a pleasant experience through their advanced techniques. It is one of the best ways to educate a viewer about a brand and promote it without having to leave the page they’re on. Its creative and interactive nature is being reciprocated with an excellent user response thus creating brand awareness, increased call to action, and better ROI.  

As a publisher, you can’t completely ignore the format as the static display ads may not be here in the next decade. When consumers evolve, we all should follow the suit. After all, advertising is to nurture the readers. Always, keep track of the best ad formats and demand. Else, let us do the job.

Automatad Team

At Automatad, we help publishers to monetize better without hampering the user experience. Our products are live across hundreds of publishers, earning them incremental ad revenue with every passing second. You can request a free audit to get an estimated revenue uplift today.

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