The Most Effective Types of Display Ads in 2018

Display ads bring shudders among the marketing community, especially considering that CTRs have dived down to less than 1%.

Compare that to the first banner ad in 1994, which had a CTR of 44%.

types of display ads first banner ad
The first banner ad for AT&T on Hotwired.com

But marketers need not shudder, because new types of display ad formats are here to push performance and creative. Time to put the ‘play’ in display.

New innovations in different types of display ads ad mean that they don’t need to be a waste of budget and a drag on customers’ online experiences.

We break down a few types of display ads with different pros and cons, and then rank its effectiveness.

Types of Display Ads: Overview

Expandable Banners

Expandable banners are banner ads that automatically expand into the majority of the screen and/or allow users to either “click to expand” from a banner.

Pros: Gives brands a bigger canvas from which to tell their story. 

Cons: Some expandable banners auto-expand which users can find frustrating. In general, being subjected to ads without opting in is a user experience no-no.

types of display ads expandable banner
An expandable banner covers a portion of the original destination

360° Display Ads

360° display ads take flat content and make it spherical.

Pros: As a user is scrolling through an article or website, 360° display ads react to the movement of the phone through its mobile gyroscope. This beckons the user’s attention without interfering explicitly with their experience. If on desktop, the banner ad will slowly pan the 360° image, also beckoning the user. Users can click through to more 360° content or straight to a URL.  

Cons: It’s a new form of advertising and not enough brands know about it! Brands should invest in 360° branded content as 360° productions becomes more and more common.

types of display ads 360
A 360° Display Ad pans around 360° content

 

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Rich Media

Rich media is a broad term, but in general, it represents a creative step up from standard videos or photos. Think animated graphics, GIFs, a playable game, etc in a banner ad.

Pros: Depending on the type of rich media being used, brands have more space to make a creative that isn’t constrained by format or file type.

Cons: Rich media requires a lot of customization and thus, time, so for brands looking for pure performance, other options may work better…and faster.  

types of display ads rich media
Rich media ads vary in creative; the above shows a game

Interstitial

Interstitial ads fully takeover a user’s phone screen or browser window.

Pros: Users are more likely to see your ad, especially when Google estimates that viewability for all ads is 54%.

Cons: Users are quick to hit X to close the window, without really paying attention to the ad itself, so that brief view of the ad may not make a real impression.

types of display ads interstitial
Interstitial ads take over the full browser experience

Overlay

Similar to interstitial ads, overlay ads are pop-ups but with a somewhat transparent background, so users can still see the original destination they were browsing.

Pros: Overlays are slightly less intrusive because it doesn’t fully take the user away from their destination.

Cons: Users sure love hitting X to close pop-ups. It’s a far too common behavior because pop-up content is becoming ubiquitous.

types of digital ads overlay
Overlay are less intrusive, but easy to ignore

3D Display

3D display ads are banners with an animated 3D object that presents your product realistically and encourages interactivity.

Pros: Users simply move their phones or tap and drag on the banner itself to play with the ad and explore the 3D object. Allowing users to easily interact with 3D objects works especially well in the retail space when users want to learn more about the product they are considering.


Cons: Like 360° display, this is also a new technology and requires brands investing in creating 3D models of their assets. This is getting easier today with 3D modeling software like Blender or Maya.

types of display ads 3d
3D ads are highly engaging

Types of Display Ads: Effectiveness

Some of the cons listed above outweigh the pros. We ranked the effectiveness of each of the types of display ads by level of Quality and amount of user Attention.

types of diplay ads ranked

Marketers should aim for the upper right quadrant to avoid intruding on their audience’s user experience. Beckon audiences not because a message was forced in their face, but because the message (and the chosen format from new types of display ads) make it interesting for an audience to want to explore your brand.

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