Making the Best of Mobile Ad Formats

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  • Post last modified:April 8, 2020

Standard Banners VS  Rich  Media

Mobile ads are divided into two categories: standard banners and rich media.

Standard banners are static ads made from a single graphic running across the top or bottom of a mobile device. When tapped, it brings the audience to a landing page for the product or service.

Rich media, on the other hand, is dynamic and made from graphics and videos while also providing interactivity. This offers better conversion rates as it draws the audience in and involves them instead being mere passengers[1].

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As a result, rich media has gained more interest over the past few years at the expense of standard banners. However, there have been challenges.

Each ad vendor may have its own Application Programming Interface (API) for its rich media ad units. This requires each rich media ad to be recoded for different APIs that may be used in different apps and platforms, making this an inefficient and tedious process.

That is where Mobile Rich Media Ad Interface Definitions (MRAID), the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence’s project comes in. Providing a standardized API, ads need only be developed once but will run virtually anywhere[2].

The independent Open Rich Media Mobile Advertising (ORMMA) group was formed with a similar objective. In fact, the ORMMA API laid the groundwork for MRAID and has since evolved into MRAID. With its objective met, the ORMMA group now supports the IAB initiative and is a key contributor to the MRAID API.

MobileAds provides ad units that are fully MRAID compliant. With these formats, the ad is broken down into two components: the base ad which is a teaser banner and a full page ad. The teaser banner essentially acts as a call to action.

Once the audiences’ attention has been caught, they would be compelled to interact with the banner to reveal the full page ad. The full page ad, comprising one or more interactive content modules (including galleries, store locators, social media and digital coupons), can be launched using several methods.

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IAB Mobile Pull

With the IAB Mobile Pull format, the base ad is placed at the top (or bottom) of the screen. The captivated audience would pull the banner down (or up) to view the full screen ad.

 IAB Mobile Slider


IAB Mobile Slider

Like the IAB Mobile Pull, the IAB Mobile Slider format also begins with the base ad at the top of the screen. Instead of a pull gesture, the audience would swipe the banner to the left or right.

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IAB Mobile Full Page Flex

Once the base ad has been activated, the IAB Full Page Flex brings the full page ad to the fore. However, integrating with the gyroscope of the mobile device, it can determine the screen orientation and automatically makes best use of the available space.


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Mobile Pop-up

In addition to the IAB formats, MobileAds offers a proprietary pop-up format. Through a more traditional tap on the base ad, the full page ad hovers on top of the app.

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Mobile Interstitial Ads

When in the midst of a transition such as progressing to a different level in a game, Mobile Interstitial Ads can be used. It is essentially a full page ad that appears automatically at strategic points to get the audiences’ full attention.


With so many different options, you need to determine where your ads will appear to determine the best option to use.


[1] “Mobile Rising Stars Ad Interaction & Effectiveness”, MobileRisingStarsAdInteractionandEffectivenessFINAL.pdf

[2] “Mobile Rich Ad Interface Definitions (MRAID)”,


Alvin is the Founder and CEO of He is a go-getter, and adventurous guy who believes in working smart to gain success in his business ventures and in life. He also founded and