What are Intertitial Ads?

This high impact ad unit is similar to a pop-up ad, except it appears in the same window as the regular site content (many pop-up ads open in a new tab or even in a new window). Because interstitial ads open in the same window as the site content, they won’t be impacted by pop-up blockers.

Interstitial ads are usually accompanied by a “graying out” of the content on the page being viewed in order to drive attention to the messaging of the ad. Below is an example of an interstitial ad unit in action (a link to this page is included in the adjacent table):

Example of an Interstitial Ad Unit

An interstitial can also appear over all site content (i.e., without the content visible in the background). In this case, the interstitial is typically accompanied by a link that will close the ad and return visitor to the page they were viewing (a link to the example below is also included in the table):

Example of Full Page Interstitial

When to Run Interstitials

Interstitials are high impact ad units, and should generally only be used in special situations. This ad implementation is primarily relevant for sites that are monetizing by selling directly to advertisers. Many CPC ad networks, including Google AdSense, prohibit partners from serving their ads in any sort of pop-up mechanism.

Because the interstitial ad results in a disruption of content consumption, this ad unit must be frequency capped. In other words, many visitors to your site will be willing to put up with an interstitial ad occasionally covering up the content, especially if the ad is relevant and your site provides high quality content. However, even the most loyal of visitors will likely get annoyed if these ads begin appear multiple times during a visit. It is also advisable to avoid showing interstitial ads on the very first page viewed during a session; that initial impression may drive away visitors who would have otherwise engaged with multiple pages on your site.

For example, a publisher may set up an interstitial to run on the fifth page viewed by a visitor, and to only show one interstitial per week.

The purpose of interstitial pages

Interstitial pages can be used to accomplish many different goals. Some of the common uses include: 

  • Advertising
  • Email sign up
  • Age or login verification
  • Related content for frequent visitors
  • Errors or related queries
  • Free vs paid apps

Should you use the interstitial page?

The interstitial page is an effective and engaging format that you can try. But you should be careful to use them. Here are some elements of good design for interstitial pages. 

  • Direct Communication

Your interstitial pages should offer a good experience. In just a glance, you should able to tell what you’re asking from them

  • Valuable information

You should thin about the type of information that is provided. Is it valuable to the user? If you want visitors to sign up for your monthly newsletter, then your newsletter should be worth signing up for

  • Use space wisely

You need to use the space wisely since it might affect the visitor’s experience. If they find the interstitial page annoying, they would likely to leave the page

  • Consistency

It’s important that the interstitial element matches the tone of your site. If the interstitial page doesn’t associate with your brand, visitors will look at them as being ads or pop-ups from a third party

Including Interstitials on Proposals

Interstitial ad units require additional time to set up properly, and can have adverse impacts on some user experiences. As such, publishers should be compensated with rates above standard ad units.

An interstitial should be viewed as a type of presentation of an ad, meaning that this implementation can be executed on ads of various sizes. Most commonly, a 300x250 or

Finally, it is worth noting that some advertisers may prefer not to have their ads appear as interstitials despite the higher visibility and click rates. Advertisers may be worried about associating their brand with an ad implementation that some visitors will deem to be annoying or invasive. As such, publishers should generally only include advertisers who have specifically approved this type of ad unit.

Interstitials are similar to some other high impact ad units, including pop-ups and welcome ads.


What is an interstitial ad?

Interstitial ads are displayed before or after an expected content page, often to display advertisements or confirm user’s age

Are interstitial ads effective?

Interstitial ads are one of the most effective ad formats, but when you don’t use them properly, they might cause real interstitials like decreasing engagement and retention rate

What is the interstitial ad unit recommended size?

The recommended size is 15% or less even in landscape mode. Because it still allows readers to access several lines of text