The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Banner Ads and Sizes

Publift
July 13, 2021
November 9, 2022
The Ultimate Guide to Mobile Banner Ads and Sizes

Mobile banner ads have been around since the beginning of mobile marketing, and when implemented correctly, can play an essential role in the digital marketing mix. A mobile banner ad is a rectangular system-initiating ad unit that can be static or animated depending on its design. 

Banner advertising generally stays on the screen for the duration of the user session and is typically displayed at the top or the bottom of the screen. Given their prominent positioning on the screen, they have the potential to generate significant revenue for publishers.

This guide covers how to create, scale and serve mobile banner ads for app publishers. It also helps publishers in understanding different types of mobile ads and their sizes for their mobile ad campaigns.

Table of contents:

Mobile Digital Advertising and Banner Ads

How Much Do Mobile Banner Ads Make?

Mobile Banner Ad Size Guide

Best Mobile Ad Types

What to Avoid When Creating Mobile Banner Ads

How Publift Can Help You Boost Your Revenue From Mobile Banner Ads

Mobile Banner Ads FAQs

Mobile Digital Advertising and Banner Ads

With mobile advertising overtaking in-app purchases as the primary revenue generator for publishers, creating mobile ad campaigns should be at the forefront of publishers' digital marketing strategy. 

However, with brand safety awareness on the rise and consumers becoming more discerning when it comes to display advertising, boring, static banner ads no longer cut it when it comes to the mobile banner ad format.

Standard mobile banner ads have been shown to cause banner blindness, a form of selective attention whereby users consciously or subconsciously ignore ad content presented in banner advertising

By following best practices, publishers can optimize their mobile banner ads to overcome this blindness and create campaigns that deliver a solid return on investment (ROI) on their ad spend.

How Much Do Mobile Banner Ads Make?

While every campaign will differ slightly, statistics from the U.S show that most mobile banner ads generate between $0.50 and $1.20 per 1,000 impressions (CPM). While these CPMs may not be as high as other ad formats, such as video ads, mobile banner ads are still a strong performer and should play a central role in any in-app advertising or mobile web marketing campaign.

Mobile Banner Ad Size Guide

Mobile banner ad sizes can vary, but the most common banner sizes are 320x50, 320x100 and 300x250 for phones and tablets and 468x60 and 728x90 for tablets.

Size in dp (WxH) Description Availability AdSize constant
320x50 Banner Phones and Tablets BANNER
320x100 Large Banner Phones and Tablets LARGE_BANNER
300x250 IAB Medium Rectangle Phones and Tablets MEDIUM_RECTANGLE
468x60 IAB Full-Size Banner Tablets FULL_BANNER
728x90 IAB Leaderboard Tablets LEADERBOARD
Provided width x Adaptive height Adaptive banner Phones and Tablets N/A
Screen width X 32|50|90 Smart banner Phones and Tablets SMART_BANNER

There are several options for advertisers regarding mobile banner ad sizes, as seen in the above table.

Out of the above, the most popular banner size is 320×50 due to its low price for advertisers. Publishers and small and mid-sized businesses can leverage brand awareness with these mobile ad sizes. 

Moreover, it provides a great user experience since it is non-intrusive and doesn't interrupt the user from the content.

Standard Banner 320 x 50: The banner size most commonly used by app developers is the standard banner. It is generally seen at the top or bottom of app content and is popular for gaming apps. 

Medium Rectangular Banner, 300 x 250: Unlike small and large banner ads that typically sit at the top or bottom of mobile content, the medium rectangular banner generally appears in the middle of app content as users scroll through an app. The larger size means advertisers can include more information to highlight key features of the product or service being advertised.

Large Banner 320 x 90: This banner is slightly larger than the standard size, occupying more app real estate. It works well with animated banners and video banners due to its increased size.

Smart Banners: Smart banners are ad units that can detect the width and orientation of the device and serve the ad in the appropriate size. These ad sizes are implemented with smart banners:

Now that we know about popular mobile ad banner sizes, we move on to understanding what  the right ad type and size for your campaigns is.

Best Mobile Ad Types

Rich Media Ads

These are graphic ads of very high quality. They're an interactive form of display ads that respond to user actions, such as ads that open when you scroll over them. They can be included as part of a programmatic ads campaign.

Rich media ads can contain an image, video, or audio encouraging visitors to engage with them. While they're popular and interactive, some publishers stay away from rich media ads as they're very heavy in size and can slow pages down.

Back in the day, rich media ads were mostly used by app publishers but now you will find these on websites as well.

Tips for Using Rich Media Ads

Here a few tips to make the most out of rich media ads on your platform:

  • Make sure to use ads that are interactive and not intrusive
  • Do not go overboard with animations; keep it subtle
  • Some rich media ad formats cover the entire mobile screen. If you choose such ads then make sure to place an exit button to ensure users have the chance to exit the ad
  • Do not make the mistake of forcing users to interact with your ads
  • With videos projected to account for 82% of all consumer Internet traffic (pdf download) this year, you need to consider using videos to elevate your advertising game

Including rich media—such as a video or an animation—can enhance your audience's overall experience and increase your ad performance. Moreover, it drives engagement in your ad and builds positive brand awareness. That said, rich media ads come with their sets of pros and cons.

Pros:

Offer more engaging contact which can lead to higher CTRs and better ROI

Provide a better user experience, thus making users pay more attention to them

Employs emotional appeals that are difficult to execute in a traditional medium

Help brands establish a more significant foothold and create awareness

Cons:

Many viewers may be unable to view these ads since bandwidth requirements are greater than other formats  

They often require particular browsers or plug-ins to render properly, thus potentially stopping some audiences from seeing the message

Mobile Banner Ads

This is among the most popular options out there. You'll see banner ads everywhere, from websites to streaming platforms to mobile apps.

Banner ads are the standard ad format for all publishers, even the biggest ones. They're said to be suitable for medium or small publishers who do not know much about mobile advertising. Some big websites like Huffington Post use them too.

They appear in the form of a bar, column, or box with text and image on the user's mobile screen. They're effective because they can be very hard to miss. However, you must pay special attention to their placement to enjoy good engagement.

Tips for Using Mobile Banner Ads

Here's how to create the best banner ads to increase your revenue:

  • Keep experimenting with different ad sizes to find what works best for you
  • Avoid placing ads in a manner that results in accidental clicks. It might bring you revenue but it can force users to leave your site.
  • Do not place too many ads on a page—especially close to each other—as they do not look good visually. They can also negatively impact the user experience and you could get penalized by Google.

Pros:

With banner ads, publishers can gain audience attention using eye-catching banners. 

They are perfect if a publisher is looking for brand awareness.They have a greater reach and can be seen by many people.

Mobile banners support various targeting options, including audience segment, retargeting, geo-targeting, and publisher-specific targeting. 

Cons:

They may attract accidental clicks, which can translate into a high CTR but low conversion rate

Mobile Native Ads

Native ads are used by almost all big companies including YouTube, BBC, and BuzzFeed. These ads are popular among both mobile and desktop users as they are non-intrusive and appear like organic content.

These ads usually come with a ‘suggested' or ‘promoted' tag and are known to mimic the content style, size, format, and type. This is how they're able to get visitors' attention.

There's no specific size for native ads as they're made to blend with the content on the page.

A native ad can be in the form of a headline, a banner, a video, or a thumbnail.

Tips for Using Mobile Native Ads

Here's how you can get the most out of native mobile ads:

  • Mobile native ads are designed to flow well. They're served without interrupting the user experience. However, it's important that publishers add a warning (promoted, sponsored, etc.) with ads.
  • These ads are best suited for publishers who have a decent number of engaged visitors.
  • Native ads can be combined with other ad formats like mobile display ads to get better results.

Pros:

They usually appear in places that readers are already checking out. Hence, you choose a more targeted space for your audience.

They attract more attention, time and performance than traditional mobile ads.

Mobile native ads are less likely to be as affected by ad blockers. 

They are device responsive, automatically adjusting their size and appearance based on the device used. 

Cons:

Poor-quality native ads may reduce reader interest in the publisher's actual content. 

These ads can be more expensive than other forms of advertising.

Mobile Video Ads

It's hard to ignore the importance of video ads, particularly when they had exceeded all other advertising methods by the end of 2021. According to Forbes, video ad spend is expected to hit $12.66 billion by 2024, with mobile expected to account for about 73% of that investment. 

This is because users love videos given that they're well made and relevant. Also, they're more effective from an advertiser's perspective as we tend to remember more of what we see than what we read or hear. This is why some advertisers are willing to pay more for video ads.

The average adult in the US spends about 5.5 hours per day watching videos. This includes all kinds of videos from educational lessons to Netflix shows to video ads.

The success of video platforms like YouTube have given a major boost to video ads; however, it can be a little expensive for some users. Moreover, not all publishers enjoy them as they can negatively affect page load times, which can be a concern because most users will leave a page that takes more than three seconds to load.

Despite this, video ads are still in demand. They can be intertwined in video content or be shown individually. Check out our guide to the top video ad networks for publishers for more ideas.

Tips for Using Mobile Video Ads

Here's how to maximize revenue through video ads:

  • Consider offering a variety of video ads including in-stream and outstream ads to attract a wider range of customers
  • Look at optimizing your inventory according to your advertisers' needs, i.e.,quality audience and high pageviews
  • Do not go for long video ads. They should be under 30 seconds and relevant to the audience so they can keep them glued.

‍Pros:

These ads attract users the most. Therefore, you have a high chance of your ad being seen. 

The video can be short, comprehensive, emotionally provoking, engaging, and compelling. This way you can share your message clearly and attract potential leads. 

Cons:

Mobile video ads' content and execution must be of high quality, otherwise you'll likely fail to generate potential leads.

They require a large budget for their creation, editing, music, and campaign creation.

Interstitial Ads

These ads are more commonly seen on mobile apps. These ads cover the entire screen and are popular for containing interactive elements.

Interstitial ads typically contain videos or banners. They are most commonly placed between natural transitions, i.e. moving from one level to another in a game or choosing to preview changes you've made to a file.

Major names like Pinterest and Airbnb use these ads and have seen a prominent increase in their installation rate after using interstitial ads.

These ads offer good CTRs and can be used to create awareness.

Tips for Using Interstitial Ads

It's very important to be careful when using these ads since most users may find them intrusive and instinctively reach for the exit button. 

Here's how to generate more revenue using interstitial ads:

  • They should only be placed between natural transitions or breaks of a site or app so that the user experience isn't disrupted.
  • Users should have no problem finding the close button. It should be neatly placed so that users do not feel they're being forced to watch an ad. However, the placement should be smart to discourage accidental clicks.

Pros:

A full-screen interstitial ad leads to viewability levels that banner ads cannot match.

By acquiring the maximum space, interstitial ads can attract a higher CTR, which means more conversions and more revenue for publishers.

Cons:

Sometimes interstitial ads can interrupt and irritate the reader.

Publishers should follow best practices while implementing interstitial ads and consider all of Google's guidelines and recommendations. Otherwise, the risk of being penalized is very high.

What to Avoid When Creating Mobile Banner Ads

People have long memories when it comes to advertising. One bad, intrusive ad experience with a brand can turn a person off the company for life.

In 2019, the Forbes Agency Council gathered 13 digital advertising experts to discuss what alienates consumers when it comes to advertising. This advice can be applied to all ad types but is particularly relevant to mobile banner design, where advertisers have limited space to impact potential customers positively. 

Here are the things to avoid.

Confusing and Annoying Content

Perhaps the most crucial point in creating a mobile ad is to make sure the content is of value to the user besides being visually appealing. Confusing and annoying content is the quickest way to lose your audience. Create content that is simple, concise, and in line with your brand's message.

Lack of Personalization

Mass marketing campaigns that fail to use personalization can end up feeling generic and lose their appeal. At Publift, we help our clients target their prospects with personalized programmatic advertising.

Paying close attention to your users' location, age, gender, and interests means you can serve ads for mobile devices that are relevant to your audience. The ad below is a wonderful example of targeted advertising, with a banner ad for Fitcover, a makeup designed for athletes, appearing above an article about running.

Poor Placement

Poor Placement

Media buyers purchasing advertising space know that there is a true art to ad placement, which, when perfected, can do wonders for building a brand's image and creating good return on investment for advertisers and publishers alike. 

While low-cost advertising inventory may be appealing to begin with, poorly targeted placements, low-value inventory, and multiple spots running on the same page can cost publishers at the end of the day.

Publishers and app developers should consider which mobile banner ads will work best for their sites and target audience, keeping the mobile web in mind. The best mobile ad format for one publisher, may not work for their competitor and vice versa.

Crossing the Line

In striving to be edgy and gain consumer's attention, some brands can end up crossing the line. There is often a fine line between being witty and offensive, which can easily be crossed if left unchecked. This ultimately leads to negative press and a decline in user respect. Advertisers should strive to ensure their message doesn't alienate or disrespect any segment of the community, whether they are part of the intended audience or not.

Crossing The Line

The Dove ad for mobile apps that crossed the line

The above ad by Dove is one such example of where advertising has crossed the line. In the Facebook banner ad for Dove body wash, a black woman removes her top and metamorphoses into a white woman. Dove subsequently removed the ad, and the brand publicly apologized for its misdemeanor.

Click Baiting

Click Baiting

With so much clutter and noise in the mobile banner ecosystem, it can be tempting to create a banner ad that is clickbait-y in nature. While these ads tend to guarantee at least some level of engagement, the long-term payoff is poor and can ultimately harm a brand's reputation. 

Keep your digital advertising message truthful and on-brand. It will pay off in the long run.

Political and Cultural Misappropriation

Political and Cultural Misappropriation

Several ad campaigns have come under fire recently for cultural misappropriation and being too politically driven. Remember the infamous Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner

While studies have shown that Americans are okay with brands stepping into political territory, putting a foot out of place can be detrimental to the brand and everyone involved. Publishers need to carefully consider whether serving ads with a political overtone will serve their application or harm it.

Mobile banner ads are still one of the most popular ad formats available due to their high visibility and easy implementation. However, with studies showing that native ad campaigns receive 53% more views than banner ads, publishers and advertisers need to follow best practice and avoid the pitfalls of poor mobile banner ad implementation.

This includes thinking carefully about mobile banner ad sizes, creative elements, media, messaging content, and ad placement.

Creators should segment and target their audience but without alienating other members of the online community.

How Publift Can Help You Boost Your Revenue From Mobile Banner Ads

Publift’s ad management system can be managed remotely, taking the guesswork out of ad serving so that you can focus on what you do best—create great content.

Fuse, Publift's all-in-one programmatic advertising solution, is conveniently built to function after a one-time implementation. Simply set up your tags for mobile banner ads and stay optimized for a lifetime. Once your tags are on the page, our expert team will test, analyze, and optimize your setup to maximize revenue. New partners, new demand, new technology, and new ad layouts can be added with just the click of a button. You won't need to change the code on your page from an advertising perspective ever again.

Contact our friendly team today to learn more.

Mobile Banner Ads FAQs

What Size Are Mobile Banner Ads?

The sizes for mobile banner ads are:

Standard Banner (320x50)

Medium Rectangular Banner (300x250)

Large Banner (320x90)

Smart Banners

Do Mobile Banner Ads Increase Sales?

Yes, there has been a notable change of 2% when working with mobile banner ads. 

How Much Does A Banner Ad Make?

If you are getting paid per click, you might receive anywhere from $0.03 to $0.20 per click. A typical average might be $0.05 . If you get a 1% click rate and you have 100,000 impressions per month, that means that you might expect to receive $50 per month.


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