Welcome ads typically appear before a visitor lands on a specific Web page. This ad is typically the primary content on a page, though it may be accompanied by a welcome message as well.
Forbes.com is perhaps the best-known user of a welcome ad; anyone trying to navigate to this site, including the home page or specific sub-URLs, will first see a whole page welcome ad:
This welcome ad has a separate URL (you can see the Forbes one here) and in some cases will automatically forward to the relevant page after a few seconds.
While welcome ads are traditionally used at the beginning of a session on a website (hence the “welcome”) some sites feature them at other points in the process. Below is an example from the online version of Merriam Webster Dictionary; when clicking on a term, visitors are first directed to an intermediate page with a partial definition and a prominently positioned ad:
From this page, a visitor will have the option to continue on to the full definition.
Pros & Cons of Welcome Ads
The advantages of the welcome ad are pretty obvious: it is a high impact ad unit that can generate incremental display ad revenue with minimal cannibalization of existing ad units.
The potential drawbacks should be pretty clear as well: the welcome ad may annoy some visitors, leading to fewer pageviews and return visits. As with many high impact ad units, frequency capping of a welcome screen is a must; visitors should not be exposed to this ad unit repeatedly.
Welcome ads may also impact the SEO visibility of your site. The properties that regularly use welcome ads tend to be older, established properties who have established a reputation for quality with search engines. Younger, smaller sites could potentially see the negative side effects of welcome ads (specifically, a high bounce rate) have an adverse impact on search engine visibility.
What is a welcome ad?
Welcome ads are almost the same as the interstitial ads, only welcome ads are displayed on all sites before a user can view content. Served only one time per day to each visitor. High visibility, guaranteed impressions
How do welcome ads work?
Welcome ads are served exclusively before any page is loaded for the visitor. While welcome ad appears, no other items on the page are visible
How do welcome ads affect a website?
Welcome ads may also impact the SEO visibility of a site. For smaller sites could potentially see the negative side effect of welcome ads.