If you’ve ever browsed the web or used a mobile app, chances are you’ve come across interstitial ads. These are the full-screen ads that appear in between page loads or when you exit an app.
While they can be an effective way to monetize your app or website, they can also be a source of frustration for users if not implemented properly. In this post, we’ll explore the best practices for interstitial ads and how to avoid penalties that can harm your user experience.
What are interstitial ads?
Interstitial ads are full-screen ads that cover the entire app or website screen. They are usually displayed in between different stages of an app or website’s content, such as before or after the user finishes a level or before accessing a specific page.
They can appear in various formats such as videos, images, or HTML. And are often used by mobile app developers to monetize their apps, by displaying ads to their users.
Penalties for mobile interstitial ads
Google, as a leading search engine, has laid out some guidelines for interstitial ads. The reason for this is that interstitial ads can be intrusive, especially when they’re not well-timed. If users are interrupted in the middle of their browsing experience, they might be less likely to return to your site or use your app in the future.
Google aims to provide the best user experience for its users, and therefore, penalizes sites that show interstitial ads that interrupt the user’s journey.
The penalties for interstitial ads can include decreased user engagement and ultimately, decreased revenue. Additionally, search engines like Google have started penalizing sites that use interstitials in a way that negatively impacts the user experience. This means that interstitials can hurt your search engine rankings and visibility, making it harder for people to find your site.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all interstitials are bad. It’s all about finding a balance between the user experience and your business needs. When used correctly, interstitials can be an effective way to drive conversions and engagement.
The key is to make sure they are relevant, targeted, and appear at the right time in the user’s journey. That is why we will explain you some of the penalties sites can face:
Immediately upon app load or exit
Displaying interstitial ads immediately upon app load or exit is a common mistake made by app developers. It is frustrating for the user who is looking to access the app’s content. Google considers this a bad practice, and it can affect the search ranking of your website.
Imagine opening an app and being immediately bombarded with an ad before you can even see what the app does. Alternatively, imagine trying to close an app and being forced to interact with an interstitial ad before you can exit. These types of interstitials can be incredibly annoying and disruptive to the user experience.
While immediate interstitials can be effective for driving conversions, they should be used sparingly and only when they are highly relevant to the user’s needs. For example, an immediate interstitial that promotes a limited-time offer or discount could be highly effective for driving sales. However, an interstitial that promotes an unrelated product or service is likely to be more of an annoyance than a benefit.
Repeating or recurring
Another issue that app developers face is showing the same interstitial ad repeatedly or showing them after a certain period. This can annoy the user and result in a higher bounce rate. Google considers this a bad practice as well, and can affect the search ranking of your website.
This type of interstitial can be particularly annoying for users, as it can disrupt their flow and make it harder for them to accomplish their goals.If you do choose to use repeating or recurring interstitials, it’s important to make sure they are highly relevant and valuable to the user.
For example, an interstitial that offers a discount code or free trial could be effective if it only appears once or twice during the user’s visit. On the other hand, an interstitial that promotes a product the user has already dismissed is likely to be more frustrating than helpful.
Showing interstitial ads unexpectedly, such as in the middle of a user’s activity, is another common mistake. It can interrupt the user’s journey and annoy them. Google penalizes such behavior and it can impact the search ranking of your website.
Unexpectedly launched interstitials are ads that appear suddenly and without warning, often while the user is in the middle of a task. These types of interstitials can be particularly frustrating, as they can interrupt the user’s flow and make it harder for them to accomplish their goals.
It’s important to make sure these interstitials are highly relevant and appear at a logical point in the user’s journey. For example, an interstitial that offers a discount code after the user has completed a purchase could be effective if it appears at the right time. An interstitial that appears in the middle of a user’s browsing session and offers an unrelated product or service is likely to be more of an annoyance than a benefit.
Overall, it’s important to keep the user’s needs and experience in mind when implementing interstitial ads. By following best practices and using interstitials in a thoughtful and targeted way, you can drive engagement and conversions without negatively impacting the user experience.
While interstitial ads can be penalized for interrupting the user experience, there are some exceptions to the rule. These include:
Cookie usage interstitials
If your website requires cookies to function, you can show an interstitial requesting users to accept cookies. Google allows such interstitials as they are essential to the website’s functioning.
Age verification interstitials
If your website contains adult content, you can show an age verification interstitial before the user can access the content. Google allows such interstitials as it is necessary to ensure the safety of minors.
If your website is required to show an interstitial between pages, such as when processing a transaction, it is allowed by Google. However, you must ensure that the interstitial does not interrupt the user’s journey and that it is relevant to the user’s action.
Interstitial Ads Best Practices
To ensure that interstitial ads do not affect the user experience negatively, some best practices can be followed. Now that we’ve discussed what interstitial ads are and the potential penalties for using them incorrectly, let’s take a look at some best practices for using interstitial ads effectively.
Create a seamless flow
Ensure that the interstitial ad does not interrupt the user’s journey and is displayed at an appropriate time. For example, displaying an interstitial ad before the user completes an action, such as purchasing a product, is a good practice.
One of the most important best practices for using interstitial ads is to create a seamless flow for the user. This means making sure that the ad doesn’t interrupt the user’s experience or disrupt their ability to navigate the app or website. The ad should be seamlessly integrated into the flow of the content, without causing any confusion or frustration for the user.
Consider frequency and timing
Avoid showing the same interstitial ad repeatedly or showing them too often. It is essential to ensure that the interstitial ad is relevant to the user’s activity and does not annoy them.
Too many ads or ads that are poorly timed can annoy users and lead to a negative user experience. It’s important to strike a balance between monetization and user experience, and only show ads when they are relevant and add value to the user.
Direct targeted traffic to dedicated post-click landing pages
Ensure that the interstitial ad directs the user to a dedicated post-click landing page that is relevant to the ad. This will ensure a seamless flow and a better user experience.
Lastly, it’s important to direct targeted traffic to dedicated post-click landing pages. These pages should be specifically designed to match the ad’s call to action and provide a seamless experience for the user. This can help to increase conversion rates and ensure that the ad is effective in driving user engagement.
Interstitial ads can be effective in generating revenue, but only if they are used correctly. App developers need to follow the best practices laid out by Google to ensure that the user experience is not negatively impacted. By creating a seamless flow, considering frequency and timing, and directing targeted traffic to dedicated post-click landing pages, interstitial ads can enhance.
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